Beatles – I Want To Tell You

This is a good George Harrison song off of Revolver. This song held the distinction of the first Beatles song where the bass was overdubbed after recording. it’s a great opening riff…a very underrated riff.

The first time I heard the song…what jumped out at me was the alarming flat-ninth notes played by Paul on the piano. It jars you but not in a bad way. The song has a strange structure and The Beatles had some trouble recording it. The timing was hard to nail down. Even artists that covered it later…one being Ted Nugent had a lot of trouble recording it because he kept jumping the time up.

Paul McCartney: “This track proved very difficult for us to learn,  I kept on getting it wrong, because it was written in a very odd way. It wasn’t 4/4 or waltz time or anything. Then I realized that it was regularly irregular, and, after that, we soon worked it out.”

Three Harrison compositions on a single Beatles album was unheard of at that time. George’s quality started to rise during this period.

With the sessions for the Revolver album winding down, The Beatles only needing four more songs to complete the album, George offered up his third composition for recording. He actually offered 4…his other song Isn’t It A Pity was rejected. I’m sure though that the song wasn’t the seven-minute opus we know today at that time.

I always thought with a little more work on this song…it could have been a single. It has the element of edgy power pop. Revolver had everything you could ask for from a band. Revolver peaked at #1 in the US, Canada, and the UK in 1966.

George Harrison: “The mind is the thing that hops about telling us to do this and do that. What we need is to lose the mind.” 

George Harrison:  “About the avalancheof thoughts that are so hard to write down or say or transmit.”

George Harrison: “All I needed to do was keep on writing and maybe eventually I would write something good,” George Harrison once stated. “It’s relativity. It did, however, provide me with an occupation.”

George Martin: “I think the trouble with George was that he was never treated on the same level as having the same quality of songwriting, by anyone – by John, by Paul or by me, I’m as guilty in that respect. I was the guy who used to say: ‘If he’s got a song, we’ll let him have it on the album’ – very condescendingly. I know he must have felt really bad about that…George was a loner and I’m afraid that was made the worse by the three of us. I’m sorry about that now.”

I Want To Tell You

I want to tell you
My head is filled with things to say
When you’re here
All those words they seem to slip away

When I get near you
The games begin to drag me down
It’s all right
I’ll make you maybe next time around

But if I seem to act unkind
It’s only me, it’s not my mind
That is confusing things
I want to tell you
I feel hung up and I don’t know why
I don’t mind
I could wait forever, I’ve got time

Sometimes I wish I knew you well
Then I could speak my mind and tell
Maybe you’d understand

I want to tell you
I feel hung up and I don’t know why
I don’t mind
I could wait forever, I’ve got time
I’ve got time
I’ve got time

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

40 thoughts on “Beatles – I Want To Tell You”

  1. Nice tune to call out from an album that represents a true leap in recording technology and helped shape the music industry. It saw The Beatles experiment with and introduce various new recording techniques, including tape loops, backwards recordings and varispeeding.

    The most significant innovation was Artificial Double Tracking (ADT), which essentially combines an original audio signal with a delayed copy of that signal. Previously, the effect could only be accomplished by natural doubling of a voice or instrument, a technique called double-tracking.

    George Martin’s string arrangement broke conventions by combining classical and pop music – essentially foreshadowing a concept ELO would take into the stratosphere 4 years later. George who already had introduced the sitar on “Norwegian Wood” on “Rubber Soul” used various other classical Indian instruments for the first time like the tambura.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I always thought this song should be heard more… the riff alone…while not Daytripper is still a great riff. It is complex….the time signature seems to jump but it doesn’t…and those flat notes that Paul players fits….somehow.

      Yea ADT…what helped it was that Lennon was too lazy to double track lol and requested there be a way around it.

      Like Phil said in the comments…this is where they graduated…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A fascinating article. I always wondered why George had not contributed more songwriting to the Beatles given his post-Beatles success and wonderful hits. The comments by George Martin were very direct, but illuminating about how they perceived George.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. George admitted at first he was just beginning while John and Paul had been writing for years… through this stretch he started to come through with really good songs and they weren’t ready for that.

      It would be hard to compete with John and Paul in the best of circumstances.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yeh, for sure; good points! You are competing against two of the best songwriters of all time for music input. I can understand George’s reluctance to step on toes and why he may have been inclined to look elsewhere (like India) for musical inspirational. I personally think George’s best music in his repportoire is as good as those other aforementioned members, but perhaps his music isn’t as comprehensive or culturally significant when discussed by music-historians.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You are exactly right….the eastern thing was his and his alone….he was the master in that. George caught fire around 1968 with While My Guitar Gently Weeps and through the mid seventies his songs still stand up.

        He could come up with some good melodies. The funny thing is…John is the one that usually rejected his songs but Paul is the one he had the most trouble with. How the hell do you reject “Isn’t It a Pity”?

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Someone wrote about ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ – ‘Imagine being a band where your 3rd songwriter comes up with stuff like this’?
        Isn’t it a Pity was a demo for the Beatles or a post solo work?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I’m not sure if he just played it to them or what. John had said George wasn’t good at pitching his songs…
        But his version on All Things Must Pass is excellent!

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      5. I really liked George’s ‘Isn’t It a Pity’ in Japan. It’s surprising given his spectacular voice he wasn’t utilised more in the Beatles. They didn’t last long, and he made up for it with ‘Give me Love’ which to me is as good as anything the Beatles did.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I think the underlying thing was… and it was huge in the UK… he was like the younger brother to them… but they all loved each other… that is why they didn’t last long… it was more personal… unlike the Stones who hardly speak with each other and they use it as a business… The Beatles couldn’t do that

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      7. Even in the worst of times….George would say how tight they were and still were at that point. They were really truly like brothers. They were so symmetrical. John brought in Paul…Paul brought in George…George brought in Ringo.
        Forget the music…their history is so amazing. Everyone around them loved them in their circle…Epstein and George Marting worked with them not against them….
        John and Paul bonded because their both of their moms died while they were teens…

        Sorry to bore you Matt….but the history gets me just as much as the music…they beat incredible odds.

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      8. I’m no where near as besotted with them like you, but I admire reading your passion. Post Beatles I don’t see much brotherly tenderness, although brothers do tend to move away from each other after youth with family, career and distance or what have you. I just don’t find them so amazing as when they were a group. I’ve tried, I really have. You know that, but each to their own.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. They fought like dogs within the first two years…after that…they were fine. John played with Paul and they visited each other. John was going to play on Pauls album in 1980.
        If Lennon would have lived….he already signed the document to regroup with them to do the anthology and who knows what would have happened….I don’t think they would have regrouped because no one could live up to those expectations….but they would have played with each other.

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      10. What was it about them besides other groups or artists which were against all odds? If anything they were bang on money for stardom in every respect. They were trained and craftily taken to Germany for an apprenticeship of bandmanship and live stageshow. They were paved and molded by an excellent producer. They all had innate and uncanny English idiosyncrasies in their manner. If any one group was to make it, it was them. I just don’t see the odds having been against them at all.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. The fact that John and Paul got together in the first place is a miracle. They were so unlike each other…which helped them in the long run to complement each other. They were truly the worse band in Liverpool before a manager who happened to like them personally (Alan Williams) and they went to Germany and succeeded like no other band. They had a bass player who was a great artist but couldn’t play bass. He helped come up with the name.

        They were uncompromising for the longest. Tough as hell because Liverpool was a tough port town. Brian Epstein…the fact that he found them is amazing in itself. He never managed a band and was a proper gentleman and the Beatles were not gentleman to say the least. Put it this way….The Beatles and Stones image is laughable…it should have been reversed.

        They almost broke up several times because Epstein could not find them a label. Of all people…George was the one that believed and kept them going at it.

        Ringo almost died as a kid twice with stomach problems…The only member from a family who encouraged them was George…it was all about the right place, the right time…and the songwriting ability at first with John and Paul…Germany was the turning point…they probably had more stage hours than any other rock band around.

        That was just some things….Matt look up Stuart Sutcliffe…. he had an interesting story….and was a great artist if you like that kind of art.

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      12. John Hammond believed in Bob just like Brian believed in the Beatles. Without Hammond or Epstein we probably wouldn’t be talking about either one.
        Both came from backwater towns on two different continents.

        Matt I didn’t know that you did know their history. I wasn’t trying to be a know it all.

        The Herman Hermits were a band people believed in…do we hear about them now? It’s not the belief it’s what they did and kept on doing. Both of them…Bob and them. They were leaders of their generation. There has been plenty of movies about The Beatles btw…
        Nowhere Boy
        Backbeat
        Two Of Us
        Birth of the Beatles (I don’t like this one…too many errors)

        But hey…I love Bob also.

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      13. I’m taking a break for tonight buddy, I’m currently in the middle of writing about an evangelical track from Bogotá and it’s doing my head-in haha. Sorry to come off a bit aggressive there about your take

        I had written a post how I had been drowned out by the Beatles in my youth and also how I saw the Anthology doco. Anyhows. Thanks for clarifying about the Beatles movies. I didn’t know that. I bid you farewell friend. Until next time.

        Liked by 1 person

      14. I think there were pros and cons to Geo being with the other two. Yes, they might have been reluctant to give him the cred he deserved, yet at the same time having their skills to live up to in songwriting made Geo that much better.

        Liked by 3 people

      15. He had the best two songwriters at that time to learn from…and yea it kept him striving. Like someone said…his ventures in Eastern music was smart…he separated himself from them…he was the master in that…not them.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. quite a good track though it only hinted at the talent George would soon show. I remember reading how ‘Here Comes the Sun’ was also really difficult to play because of unusual time signatures and rapidfire changes.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Yes it is! It sounds like a simple walk down in that one part… it’s not and it’s quite a difficult piece. I wish they would have spent more time with this song though… that opening riff is wonderful.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. The album jumped the fabs into a different category. No longer the cute mop tops, but serious experimentalist. Perhaps the drugs made a difference, but who knows for certain. Harrison was as talented a tunesmith as McCartney and Lennon, he got his due later with his own albums. This song would drive a band to drink trying to play it live. Kind of like everything Willie Nelson recorded, he was either a meter or two behind the music or ahead.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. It is tricky Phil with that time signature or the way they played it.
      Some like Willie has a different rhythm going on in their songs… a built in trait I think.

      Like

      1. Willie doen’t do it as much on his albums, but live, the man will drive a musician to drink. I prefer Lone Star Longnecks, well iced down to 34 degrees.

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      1. I think that’s what makes this thing fly so well. It’s like a kite with a lovely trail of ripped fabric hanging from it, but oh does it reach the sky.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. “Revolver” might be my favorite Beatles album, and “I Want ToTell You” is a big reason why. I love the riff at the beginning, and the way Ringo comes in. He keeps everybody together with that solid “BOP…BOP…BOP…BOP…” A great song all around. That’s a real Beatles tune all around.

    George was a hell of a songwriter….

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think it’s the best album no doubt… the White Album is my favorite but yea… this was the best Beatles album through and through… no throwaways.

      What George Martin said hurts but it’s true.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yes…it is so vast… It gives you a sample of everything.
        I think Revolver is their best album artistically….but my heart is with the White Album.

        Liked by 1 person

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