Day 242: “Think For Yourself”

When was it recorded?   Nov. 8, 1965

When was it first released, and on which album?   Dec. 3, 1965 on “Rubber Soul”

Who wrote it?   Harrison

Have I heard this song before?   Yes

What my research dug up:

George wrote “Think for Yourself,” “an unusually harshly-worded warning about the perils of leaving bad deeds un-rectified” (Beatles Bible).

“‘Think For Yourself’ must be written about somebody from the sound of it – but all this time later I don’t quite recall who inspired that tune. Probably the government.” — George Harrison (I Me Mine)

Wikipedia however salaciously suggests “Think For Yourself” was a barb aimed at Pete Best. As the good Wiki points out, “the song was recorded about six weeks after Pete Best’s libel suit against Ringo, the Beatles, and Playboy magazine was filed.” In any case, George never confirmed this theory.

As Alan Pollack wrote in his “Notes On” series, “This song is extremely ambitious in its chord choices and progressions.” While Paul and John often used “parallel Major/minor gambits for effect” (such as in yesterday’s tune “Things We Said Today”), George uses the Major/minor keys not for contrast but for combination, blending the similar keys and “creating a dissonant and unsettling (though not unpleasant) result that is neither quite really Major nor minor; an effect which, in retrospect, is uncannily resonant with the attitude and mood of the lyrics” (Pollack).

Recorded under the working title “Won’t Be There With You,” the Beatles recorded the tune on Nov. 8, 1965. They got the rhythm track in one take. Quoth the Beatles Bible, “They then overdubbed lead guitar, more bass (this time fed through a fuzz box), tambourine, maracas and organ, along with two three-part vocal tracks.”

George Martin taped the group rehearsing “Think for Yourself” before the professional recording session began. According to the Beatles Bible, “The recording went mostly unused, although a six-second segment of the group practicing their harmonies found its way into the ‘Yellow Submarine’ film, when The Beatles were called upon to revive the mayor of Pepperland.”




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