Monday, September 07, 2009

Yellow Submarine

Yellow Submarine is a soundtrack album released by The Beatles corresponding with the film of the same name released on Apple Records (catalogue number PCS 7070 in the United Kingdom and SW 153 in the United States.)


"Only a Northern Song" was originally recorded during the sessions for the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, although it did not appear there. Most of the song was recorded in February 1967. "It's All Too Much" was recorded just before the release of Sgt. Pepper, although it was shortened (from eight minutes) for Yellow Submarine. "Hey Bulldog" (recorded in February 1968) and "All Together Now" (recorded in May 1967) were always intended for the film soundtrack.

"Baby You're a Rich Man" was also originally intended for the film soundtrack, but was released as the B-side to "All You Need is Love" instead and was not included in the Yellow Submarine album.

Two of the songs on the album had previously been released. "Yellow Submarine" had already appeared on Revolver in August 1966 and as a hit single at about the same time. "All You Need Is Love" had been a hit single in 1967 and had also appeared in the United States edition of Magical Mystery Tour later that year. The song makes its true stereo debut in this album. The song was previously issued in mono or rechanneled stereo on the U.S. Magical Mystery Tour album.

The second side features arrangements (recorded specifically for the album) of George Martin's orchestral score.

After mixed response to the album upon its release, The Beatles considered releasing Yellow Submarine as a five-track mono EP, without the film score but including the then-unreleased "Across the Universe" as a bonus track. The EP was mastered, but never issued. The Beatles had previously released popular songs from their LPs as EPs in the British market.

U.S. cassette and eight-track tape versions featured "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" (from Sgt. Pepper) as an extra song on side two.

With the re-release of the film in 1999, the original album was re-released along with a Yellow Submarine Songtrack album.


In contrast to how the film was received, Yellow Submarine is usually considered The Beatles' weakest release, as it featured only six songs by the band. It was one of the few Beatles releases not to reach #1 on either the UK or US charts. Its highest position was #2 in the US (curiously, it was knocked off the top by The Beatles, which had been released two months before). The Beatles did not consider it a studio album, since the four previously-unreleased tracks on it were recorded at various times in 1967 and early 1968.

UK and US differences

Although the essential artwork on the album covers issued in the United States and Great Britain are similar, there are a few subtle differences on the sleeves. The front of the British jacket contains the words "NOTHING IS REAL" in green print just below the album's title. This subtitle had been omitted from the American album cover.

On the back of the cover, the British album contained a review of the Beatles' "White Album" written for the London Observer by Tony Palmer. The review was introduced by a few liner notes by Apple press officer Derek Taylor. Rather than plug the group's previous release, however, the more imaginative back of the American cover contained a fictitious illustrated biography of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, in which the ensemble's battle with the Blue Meanies was compared to three other epic struggles in the history of the English-speaking world: Beowulf's struggle to save the Heorot mead hall, King John's signing of the Magna Carta, and Thomas Jefferson's writing of the Declaration of Independence.

The two album covers (and record labels) also differ in the fact that the British version recognizes seven tracks from the film's score on Side Two, while the American version only recognizes six tracks, treating the songs "Sea of Times" and "Sea of Holes" as a single track, titled "Medley: Sea of Time & Sea of Holes."

One final difference is that the American album was only released in stereo, while the British album was available in both stereo and mono, though the mono version is simply a collapse of the stereo version and not a true mono mix.

The international compact disc release is consistent with the British version of the LP, in that the "Nothing Is Real" subtitle remains intact, and the review of the "White Album," with Taylor's introduction, is included inside the CD insert. The CD also recognizes "Sea of Time" and "Sea of Holes" as separate tracks.

Track listing

Side one

All tracks were credited to John Lennon and Paul McCartney, except where noted.

1. "Yellow Submarine" – 2:38
* Originally from Revolver
2. "Only a Northern Song" (George Harrison) – 3:27
3. "All Together Now" – 2:10
4. "Hey Bulldog" – 3:14
5. "It's All Too Much" (Harrison) – 6:28
6. "All You Need Is Love" – 3:47
* Originally a 1967 single, and also found on the U.S. Magical Mystery Tour album

Side two

All tracks were written by George Martin, except where noted.

7. "Pepperland" – 2:24
8. "Sea of Time" – 3:00
9. "Sea of Holes" – 2:21
10. "Sea of Monsters" – 3:40
11. "March of the Meanies" – 2:22
12. "Pepperland Laid Waste" – 2:15
13. "Yellow Submarine in Pepperland" (Lennon, McCartney, arrangement by George Martin) – 2:11

Released: 17 January 1969
Recorded: 12 May 1967 – 11 February 1968 (The Beatles) and 22–23 October 1968 (George Martin), Abbey Road Studios, London, United Kingdom
Genre: Psychedelic rock, rock
Length: 40:12
Language: English
Label: Apple
Producer: George Martin


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