Friday, February 12, 2010

There's One For You; Nineteen For Me

The opening track for the faboulous "Revolver" Parlophone UK LP is a George Harrison original composition entitled "Taxman". A very rocky, heavy and bouncy number bemoaning the tax obligation of the world - especially the UK. Harrison sneers the lyrics, while McCartney provides a very Indian-influenced guitar solo in the middle eight and at the end.

"Taxman" was first recorded on Wednesday April 20 1966 and four rhythm takes were attempted at EMI studio two. Two of these takes were incomplete, while the other two were completed to the end of the song. Unfortunately, all four of these takes were never used and the Beatles decided to give the song a fresh start the next day.

The whole song was re-started from anew on Thursday April 21 and this time eleven takes were required to complete the performance for the rhythm track. Vocals and background vocals were also added to the song except that the backing vocals at this stage consisted of John and Paul singing "anybody got a bit of money" in a high pitched voice and very quickly. This would be changed at another session. Also, the ending of the song did not fade out at this point but ended with two vocal notes singing the title. This version of "Taxman" can be heard on the EMI/Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 2".

On Friday April 22 more work was done on "Taxman" in EMI studio two. Once the four track was bounced down, the addition of the "Mister Wilson, Mister Heath" background vocal replaced the previous "anybody got a bit of money" background vocal. Also, the cowbell was overdubbed at this session.

"Taxman" was first mixed for mono from the control room of Studio Three on Wednesday April 27 with the Beatles in attendance. The mono mix from this session was never used. The next attempt at a mono mix for "Taxman" was done on Monday May 16 with four different mono remixes and once again, these mixes were not used. There is a dispute about whether the song count-in was edited onto the song at this stage or whether it was already edited in during the April 21 mixing session. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the count in was probably already present at the earlier session as the version on "Anthology 2" has the count in already in place.

Finally, "Taxman" was once again subjected to mono mixing on Tuesday June 21 1966 from the control room of studio three. The mono remixes 5 and 6 were taken from take 12. Both mono mixes were then edited. Also on the same day and at the same location, "Taxman" was mixed for stereo - named stereo remixes 1 and 2 from take 12. Both stereo mixes were also edited.

"Taxman" is available on the Parlophone UK LP/CD "Revolver" as well as the North American version of the Capitol LP "Revolver". It is also featured on the EMI/Capitol 2-LP compilation "Rock 'N' Roll Music" and on the Parlophone/Capitol LP/CD "The Best of George Harrison".

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