Left channel, "for you 19 for me 1-2-3-fooow" in the background.
Right channel, various backward guitar notes (tape being wiped across tape head?), then a little forward scale up the guitar.
Centre, "wunn twooo threee fourrr <cough> wunn twooo".
Stray guitar note in the right channel, from Paul's solo track (it's really quite early!).
Right channel drops out, taking with it the tambourine. It has been suggested this was where another vocal came in, like the "Anybody gotta bitta money" later. It's too short to be that phrase, so maybe just a "Tax-man" each time? This was then removed.
Right channel, a "Whoosh" before the cowbell hit. "Must have been swinging that cowbell stick with a lot of enthusiasm" says Mike Borman.
Specifically here :-
1 2 3 4 Cause I'm the tax man [whoosh] . . o o [strikes on cowbell . soft o loud]
Early entrance of the guitar (one or two notes of the riff from 1:32) - then it seems to fade in from 1:32 to 1:33, so maybe it was faded in late.
Left channel, a quick whistle, right before the words "Don't ask".
"Ah ah Mr Wilson/Heath" dropped into lead guitar and tambourine track with audible clicks.
Check out the version on Anthology to hear the original drop in, "Any body gotta bitta money".
The last "no-one but/me" sounds as if the vocal was edited from another take (it wasn't), or punched in/overdubbed (it was). This is also suggested as a double tracking error, just at the end (alas, not quite). Also suggested as being due to the whole track being cut and spliced at the word "me" to put a repeat-to-fade of the solo on (which is exactly right), instead of the original hard ending, compare Anthology version.
Jeremy Deubler writes
It was not brought in from another track because the master was solely from take 12 (a reduction of take 11). The track originally ended cold. The repeat of the guitar solo was tacked on later. If you listen to Track 1 (left) (rhythm guitar, bass, drums), you can hear the edit.
However, the cowbell on Track 4 (right) is present during the solo this time - so it is actually a slightly different mix of the solo. The "me" vocal had to be punched-in on top of the beginning of the solo repeat.
The "Taxman" vocal at the end, and the guitar solo, are definitely the same performance as found earlier in the recording. Lining up the two in a sound editor shows that the "Taxman" vocal and solo cancel out well (when one waveform is inverted and lined up on the other). This only works if the parts are identical.
Paul tries out the initial upper harmony line "If you let, If you let ..." before the song starts proper. Also hissing can be heard - apparently not a Leslie speaker (rotating speaker to give a chorus/tremolo effect), but the electronic tremolo circuit modulating the hiss of the Wurlitzer electric piano. (Thanks to D Caccavo!)
Hissing from piano, as above. Right channel.
Sounds like "Did you have to leave me oh so bad" - this is a vocal cross-up between "treat me oh so bad" and "leave me oh so sad".
Edit, or drop out, between "so in love with you/Tell me why". The level seems to drop sharply, and comes in a little late ... both in vocals and the guitar.
Loud swish in final chord, stereo vinyl versions only?
Ringo's kick drum pedal squeaks.
Paul: "Only a fool could doubt our love".
John: "Only a fool would doubt our love"
... but I think this is caused by a background percussive sound from the guitar making a "cuh!" sound on the beginning of Paul's line.
Paul: "That's the kinda love that seems too good".
John: "That's the kinda love that is too good".
Sound glitches (edit to a new take? Drum sound seems to change) just before "and all I gotta". Also suggested as tape damage.
Song speeds up, echo sound on the vocal changes. Max Mismetti advises that the basic body of the song is take 6. This is a cut to take 13. Takes 7-12 were failed attempts at perfecting the ending. Once 6 and 13 were joined, harmonica overdubs were added.
0:02,0:16 and many others
Thumps from the electric guitar.
Popular rumour again ... apparently John yells "Hey, Peter!" to Peter Brown, who gets a name-check at around 0:40. Peter Brown was employed by Brian Epstein and took over the management duties of the Beatles and Apple Corp. after Brian's death. During the instrumental tracking of "The Ballad of John and Yoko", Peter came into the studio and was greeted by John.
More mundane (and accurate!) reports list this as someone singing along to the descending guitar line. It does sound more like "Ba, da da da, da daaa" than anything intelligible.
"Paul (playing drums here) sets the sticks down on the snares, audibly!" reported by more than one source.
Actually, there's a little rumble of a tom-tom, a kick drum thud, and the closing of a hi-hat, all in a very short sequence. It's a perfectly normal closing to the drumming, and not anomalous at all. It's known as a "tag", and it's not quite as wild as a full on "Ba-doom - Tish!"
After the line "what did you kill..." Ringo says "I'll tell you" (left channel only). It's right before "He went out tiger ..."
0:44, 1:22, 2:01
The apparent punch-ins previously listed here at the end of each "guitar/banjo bridge" turn out to be the pre-recorded mandolin sounds of a Mellotron. These sounds were produced from a long tape being drawn across a tape head, and therefore, releasing the key makes the sound cut off sharply. This makes a sound like an edited tape. Thanks to Daniel Caccavo for making me check this, I've also corrected the times for this to reflect the time on the CD.
John seems to sing "Was it a ghel?" (girl) instead of "What did you kill?".
Print-through of the "Eh-up". Or possibly prompting from another Beatle? George?
Also, the lyrics at (1:15) on the CD liner are "So Captain Marvel zapped in right between the eyes" which makes little sense. It sounds more like "For Captain Marvel zapped him right between the eyes".
Someone whispers counts of "6" and "7" counting the measures of the drum solo. (0:19 "Night" being the start of bar one.)
Compared to the guitars, the piano and end piece is about a fifth of a note sharper.
No bass guitar after the "and in the end" part. Very probably intended, but often reported as a mixing error.
When Paul sings "keeping" you can also hear the word "sitting" at the same time, way off to the left. This is probably the guide vocal leaking through on some element of the backing.
Something being hit, right channel.
"Mechanical squeaking noises from the Mellotron (flute sound)". It's not a Mellotron, but two recorders. The squeaking is the breath sounds of the player.
Clicks, right channel.
Recorder on the left side starts to "crack" and produces harmonics (overtones).
Microphone thump after "disappear" - through a short echo/delay.
Wrong notes in bass line, sounds very hesitant. This is John playing.
Click during word "times" (microphone hit again?)
Click in vocal track.
Paul talks about John's bass playing. (Not audible on the CD!)
Bass note too quiet.
Mis-struck bass note.
Another bass note out of time.
Dropped out bass note (either not played or mixed out!).
Further wrong bass notes.
More dropped out bass notes.
Sort-of-anomaly: Paul is heard to faintly sing "keep me waiting" a second time. Whether this is just Paul "getting into" the song, or whether it was mixed out, I don't know. Apparently this repeat line is included more confidently in concerts and Give My Regards To Broadstreet, so he obviously liked it.
Glitch to whole backing track on start of word "Yeah". Tape fault?
Two out of place guitar notes, although I like them ...
Paul sings "Were you telling ...", but we hear a distinct "We". He obviously wanted to sing "We said our goodbyes".
Edit in track, a small amount of time seems to be missing from the harmonica track.
Click in the word "is".
Loud stray guitar note pings, exactly on the beat between "time" and "when".
Sharp intake of breath (right channel).
The word "misunderstood" is poorly double tracked.
The guitar stabs to the left break pattern here, and one stab is missing under the word "and".
Right channel, John pronounces the word "word" as "weerd" (very Northern!) and makes Paul's voice waver with laughter.
One harmony sings "It's the", the other " 'nd the".
Some talking, right channel (CD only).
The harmonies for this are "flown in" from a separate tape. Listen carefully and you will hear "Say the ..." and then the "wwwwooordd" slews up to speed.
Every line of vocals starts with an emphasised word
Till the end ...
These days ...
>Seems so ...
Some day ...
This seems to be a studio artefact rather than Paul's singing style. Possibly a compressor on the vocals (to even out the levels), which was set for a long "attack time" before it kicked in.
The word "me" in "You say you will love me" is sung flat as a pancake.
Some distortions (left channel), and a tambourine is picked up (also reported as a breath, right channel). Both fixed in Yellow Submarine remastered.
Just for a moment, Ringo carries on with the wrong pattern ("Do what you want to do") and then realises that we have less snare beats in this phrase.
Pop in right channel, an edit in the word "future"?
Although the chorus is repeated, the bass momentarily goes back to the main pattern, alternates a bit, and recovers!
Low down, but there is a pronounced "boingy" echo from the guitar.
Of the total parts, only one (John?) says "though" before the "He'll regret it someday..."
Bad edit right after the line "Till he's seen you cryyy" in the chorus.
Lots of ticks, like static discharging, in the fadeout.
Although I've never seen any official Beatle-sourced confirmation of this, many reports say that this title is in itself an anomaly.
It is claimed that the lyrics as written and sung are "She's got a ticket to Rye".
I've had various accounts of how an error was made in the printing of the record labels, or in studio documentation, and that it was too late to go back and fix. So "Rye" became "Ride" in print by accident.
I've also been told that it was originally "Rye" but was changed on the documentation to be "Ride" in an attempt to deal with the fact that no-one in America knew where Rye was, and so this would confuse Americans less. So it was done deliberately, by the record executives, if you believe this version.
I must admit, the vocal has no clear 'd' sound. But beware: that's how the misheard line "It's such a feeling that my love, I get high, I get high ..." came about, and also "I wanna hold your ham".
Then again, mistakes do occur in documentation. One of EMI's official documents shows "I Am A Walrus".
Drop in the level of Rickenbacker (jangly, right channel) guitar. Fades back in.
Tambourine goes into double time half a bar early - compare with 1:58, which is correct.
Ringo's drum pattern changes: Compare the opening verses, described as "snappy, innovative, and [later] nicked by other bands" by Lee Abrahams. Now listen to the pattern from here on. Not as snappy, maybe he lost his way during one of the middle eights.
Last three notes of the bass line sound a semitone flat. Fingering error?
First bass note in the double time ending is quite sharp, it corrects over the next few notes.
[Only audible with OOPS, and much volume!]: A voice, sounds like Paul, says something, most likely "Leslie" (in reference to the Leslie Speaker.
Also reported as "Testing", "Elapsing", "Relaxing", "Loves you".
"ADT" drops out early, leaving "It is being, It is" in the right ear. At the same moment the organ sound stops.
Ugo Coppola points out
I know Lewisohn and others emphasize this track as the first-ever Beatles track using ADT, but are you really sure it is ADT? When I listen to "that you may see the meaning of within", especially "meaning of wi", what I hear is the good old natural double tracking, so fine in early Beatles songs, a bit less in this...
I think he has a point. The double tracking is a little too free to be ADT. As to the reason for the drop out, Jeremy Deubler says
The reason for the drop-out is that George's backward guitar solo was punched-in to Track 2 to leave a vacant track for the tape loops to be recorded the next day. Hence the dropping out of vocal, organ, and tambourine that were on Track 2 at 0:52. However, not all of the recorded solo was used in the final mix, just the portion from 1:08-1:24. So on either side of the solo, there is silence on the track. The original Track 2 comes back in at 1:49.(tambourine) followed by the organ.
Feedback, source unknown. Not (as previously written) from the Leslie speaker, as the Leslie is being used to process John's voice, and this is from the right channel. An organ tone, possibly?
Mike Dickson says
"This is also deliberate (as I understand it) since it marks the exact central position of the song, its running length being 2:56"
What I can't understand is why the exact centre of the song was of importance. Other than just "because it was something weird to do".
Max Mismetti suggests
"The feedback might be the mark ... to trigger the backwards solo overdub (which has to be done with the song playing backwards)"
Although the tone follows the guitar solo, remember that when the track is going backwards, this would serve as a marker just before the place the solo should start. That works.
It also seems that this is missing from the mono mix, so maybe it was never intended to be heard in the finished mix?
Another theory is that this sound is one of Paul's tape loops, and the sound is a wineglass being rubbed. Studio documentation, via Mark Lewisohn's book, states that one of the sounds being experimented with was a wineglass. It doesn't say explicitly that the sound was actually used though. Paul had a bag of loops, obviously some were rejected for the final mix.
However, the count of loops behind this theory had an error in it (listing two of the loops as being the same loop at different speeds). Unfortunately, checking by re-speeding the loops showed this to be an error. The five loops are now thought to be :-
Seagulls effect, 0:08-0:11, 0:30-0:34 etc.
Sustained chord, 0:19-0:22, 0:34-0:37 etc.
Dull violin sound loop, 0:22-0:26, 1:15-1:20 etc.
Strings section/orchestra sound loop, 0:37-0:41, 0:45-0:48 etc.
Zappy strings sound, 0:56-1:00 etc.
If the tone was one of the loops, it was missed out of the mono mix. It also seems odd that the loop was used at exactly one point - a lot of effort for one short note.
John's voice drops out, and returns at 2:48 "ning!"
In John and George's dual-layered-solo (a duo? duet?), one player carries one too many strings on the down stroke of the third pass through the riff. I've always liked the chord that this accident makes.
Careful study of John's first "aaah" will show that half way through, the pitch flattens slightly.
I do know that Lewisohn states clearly that this recording is one complete take, and that the following take was useless because John's voice was shredded. Having said that, this seems like an edit between two takes, although only one basic take was recorded (the second being abortive due to John's voice being gone!)
I say "seems like" because it is uncharacteristic for John or Paul to sing out of tune like that, and it is odd (fortuitous?) that he corrects it on a beat. This makes it feel like the joining of two takes, or of an edit piece. But as this cannot be the case, then John just snapped his pitch down realising his mistake.
Max Mismetti adds
"We must consider that possibility since it was the last song of a hard day of work on most of the songs for the "Please Please Me" album. John had a sore throat, so I find it quite possible that his pitch during the Aaaah decays a little. Before the final "aah" section, he screams "Shake it baby no-"- the final word almost disappears by that time"
Thanks to Stephen Moss for pointing out the error that no-one noticed, all of this was originally attributed to Paul's voice flattening.
The order of the "aah's" is something that has caused some discussion. Stephen and I discussed this, and came up with the following...
1 bar John (Note A)
1 bar Paul (Note C#)
...and George faintly, fades in (Note F#) (Making chord A6th)
1 bar George (Note E)
1 bar Paul (goes to Note G) (Making chord A7th)
Then Paul and John jump up notes, I believe.
John takes Paul's note (Note C#), Paul goes wild.
Although Jeffrey Aarons disagrees on the order of singers
Also the ending order of the "ahs" are as follows (the notes are correct)
John - first ah
George - second ah
Paul - third ah
Paul - fourth higher ah (the seventh)
Paul - - highest (regular ) ah
Then they all go nuts with the screaming, Paul reaching the highest decibel.
Check any video of the guys singing that segment.
Listening again, I think he's got it right. So can we can finally settle on this?
1 bar John (Note A)
1 bar George (Note C#) ... and Paul faintly, fades in (Note F#) (Making chord A6th)
1 bar Paul (settles on Note E)
1 bar Paul (goes to Note G) (Making chord A7th)
John has run out of breath so screams "Woow, Yeah"
George breathes and carries on singing his note (C#), turns to scream.
Paul screams up to the highest note.
"Aaay" during last chord. (Paul?)
Cough during fadeout - most likely John, after that vocal! This has also been suggested as a percussion sound (a stick on the rim of the snare), or a hi-hat.
(Vocal) counting of beats to mark time, soft "thump thump 3 4" audible
Whistling to pass the time. Certainly not whistling the melody established at 3:14! After a couple of passes at the "normal" whistling, it degenerates into chootling.
Note the tune he is whistling is very similar to the little tune at the Hawaiian end of "Hello Goodbye"! (Hey-la, Hey-la-Aloha!) Not exactly the same, but slightly recycled.
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