Day 276: “You Won’t See Me”

When was it recorded?   Nov. 11, 1965

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

Who wrote it?   McCartney

Have I heard this song before?   Yep

What my research dug up:

Par for the course in this era, Paul wrote “You Won’t See Me” about an argument he was having with then-girlfriend Jane Asher. “You Won’t See Me” was literal in this case – though Paul was still living with her parents in London, Jane had moved to Bristol to star in the Old Vic theatre’s staging of Great Expectations. According to Wikipedia, “She was rejecting him by not returning phone calls and ignoring him — for once, he was in a vulnerable position.”

“This was written around two little notes, a very slim phrase, a two-note progression that I had very high on the first two strings of the guitar: the E and the B strings. I had it high up on the high E position, and I just let the note on the B string descend a semitone at a time, and kept the top note the same, and against that I was playing a descending chromatic scale. Then I wrote the tune for ‘You Won’t See Me’ against it… To me it was very Motown-flavored. It’s got a James Jamerson feel.” — Paul McCartney (Barry Miles, Many Years From Now)

(Fuck yeah James Jamerson. I always wondered if Paul was in any way influenced by him.)

Three notable facts about “You Won’t See Me”:

  1.  Quoth Wikipedia, “The more biting tone of the song marks a change away from [Paul’s] earlier, happier love songs.
  2.  While Paul usually took the higher parts in melody/harmony divisions, here he sings the lowest part compared to John and George’s parts.
  3.  While only 3:25 (in its longest cut), the song was at the time the Beatles’ longest recording. This sparked a trend, and many other pop singer-songwriters started composing songs this length or longer.

The Fab Four recorded “You Won’t See Me” during their last “Rubber Soul” session on Nov. 11, 1965. Said session started at 6:00 pm and ended at 7:00 am the next morning. According to the Good Wiki, “The deadline for completing the album was up and the band needed to record three songs that evening to complete. As a result, they cut the song in only two takes.” Mal Evans got credit on the record for playing the Hammond organ – pretty nice recognition for a part that was only one A note held through the last verse of the song.



Another song I already knew and loved — that melody’s just so damn catchy.




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