Think For yourself - Reviews

Quoted from Recording Sessions: p.67

Monday 8 November. Studio Two: 9.00pm - 3.00am. Recording: 'Beatle Speech' (take 1); 'Won't Be There With You' (working title of 'Think For Yourself')(take 1); 'The Beatles' Third Christmas Record' (takes 1-3). P: George Martin. E: Norman Smith. 2E: Ken Scott.

Time was running out not just for the imminent LP release but also for the group's annual Christmas flexi-disc for its fan club members. Partly for this purpose (ie, in case they said anything particularly witty), and partly for reasons never revealed, George Martin deliberately recorded the Beatles rehearsing George Harrison's 'Think For Yourself' during the early part of the session. They knew they were being recorded, hence they hammed their actions, shouting in mock-Scouse accents, discussion the previous night's television, making jokes about friends, telling George Martin that they'll replace him with Ron Richards and variously calling for either Neil (Aspinall), Mal (Evans) or Norman (Smith). In the end nothing was suitable for the Christmas flex but, just to ensure the tape was not scrapped, the words "This will eventually be issued" were scrawled on the box. And it was, for in 1967 the tape was lent to the producer of the animated film Yellow Submarine and when that film finally appeared, on 17 July 1968, it included a 6-second snatch of John, Paul, and George practising their 'Think For Yourself' vocal harmonizing.

Actually, it wasn't quite 'Think For Yourself' yet - that title was cooked up later in the evening. At first it was announced by Norman Smith as 'Won't Be There With You'. Whatever the moniker, it was finally recorded - with overdubs - in one take, with lead, rhythm and bass guitars, plus a fuzz bass, tambourine, maracas and electric piano. The technical people at Abbey Road built fuzz boxes for use with guitars. "It was an electronic device in which you could have controlled distortion," says Ken Townsend, then one of the technical engineers. "You actually made the sound overload."

The Beatles were quite tired towards the end of the evening, when they came to record their Christmas message. They stumbled their way through three takes of unrehearsed banter, a wild, off-key rendition of 'Yesterday' and vaguely witty chat, at one point joking that George Martin had the (obviously unenviable) task of making a releasable record out of it all. As usual, he did just that, editing and remixing the tapes 12 hours later.

Posted: 2 aug 2015