Written mainly by Paul McCartney, ‘Tell Me What You See’ was first released in the UK on the Help! album, and in the US on Beatles VI.

‘Tell Me What You See’ was offered to Richard Lester for the soundtrack of the Help! film, but was rejected. McCartney later described the song as a filler track, co-written with John Lennon as a ‘work song’.

I seem to remember it as mine. I would claim it as a 60-40 but it might have been totally me. Not awfully memorable. Not one of the better songs but they did a job, they were very handy for albums or b-sides. You need those kind of sides.
Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

Certain lines in ‘Tell Me What You See’ are reminiscent of a religious motto which had hung on the wall of Mendips, John Lennon’s childhood home he shared with his aunt Mimi and uncle George:

However black the clouds may be
In time they’ll pass away
Have faith and trust and you will see
God’s light make bright your day

Those lines were almost quoted directly by The Beatles in ‘Tell Me What You See’:

Big and black the clouds may be
Time will pass away
If you put your trust in me
I’ll make bright your day
‘Tell Me What You See’

In the studio

‘Tell Me What You See’ was recorded in four takes on 18 February 1965, the same day the group also recorded ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’ and the rejected ‘If You’ve Got Trouble’. ‘Tell Me What You See’ was the last of those to be completed.

The song introduced the sound of the güiro, a Latin-American instrument played by striking a wooden stick across a series of notches, to The Beatles’ sound. It was played on the recording by George Harrison. Ringo Starr also played the claves.

‘Tell Me What You See’ also features a Hohner Pianet electric piano, which can also be heard on the Help! songs ‘The Night Before’ and ‘You Like Me Too Much’.

Previous song: ‘You Like Me Too Much’
Next song: ‘I’ve Just Seen A Face’
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