‘I Want To Tell You’, George Harrison’s third song on Revolver, was, he later said, “about the avalanche of thoughts that are so hard to write down or say or transmit”.

The song was recorded under the working title ‘Laxton’s Superb’, a type of apple. It later became known as ‘I Don’t Know’, after George Martin enquired of Harrison whether he had come up with a title.

In the studio

The Beatles began recording ‘I Want To Tell You’ on 2 June 1966. Mark Lewisohn’s The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions notes this exchange prior to take one:

Martin: What are you going to call it, George?
Harrison: I don’t know.
Lennon: ‘Granny Smith Part Friggin’ Two’! You’ve never had a title for any of your songs!

‘Laxton’s Superb’ was engineer Geoff Emerick’s idea, a pun on ‘Granny Smith’, the working title of ‘Love You To’.

One really got the impression that George was being given a certain amount of time to do his tracks whereas the others could spend as long as they wanted. One felt under more pressure when doing one of George’s songs.
Geoff Emerick
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

On the first day The Beatles recorded five takes of the rhythm track, featuring piano, drums and guitars. The third of these was the best, and onto this were overdubbed Harrison’s lead vocals, backing vocals from John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and tambourine, maracas, handclaps and more piano.

On 3 June they overdubbed a bass track, as McCartney had played piano on the rhythm tracks. ‘I Want To Tell You’ was then complete, and mixed for the Revolver album on this day and on 6 June.

Previous song: ‘Doctor Robert’
Next song: ‘Got To Get You Into My Life’
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