Beatles – I’m Only Sleeping

I’ve always loved this song and I just read in the news that The Beatles released a new video to this song. This song was on what many consider their best album…Revolver.

If you lived in America at the time…you didn’t have this song if you bought Revolver. Capital Records left it off the American version. You would have to buy the album Yesterday and Today to get it

There were a lot of rumors about this song’s origin. Some rumors said it was John’s attack on straight society. It was much more simple than that.  Lennon wrote this as a tribute to staying in bed, which he liked to do even when he wasn’t sleeping. He would later write a song titled “I’m So Tired” which resided on the White Album.

Maureen Cleave, the journalist,  wrote of John Lennon: “He can sleep almost indefinitely, is probably the laziest person in England.” She went on to clarify that she meant physically lazy, not intellectually lazy.”

The Beatles were experimenting with this album with sound effects and backward guitar and other effects. The yawning effect is a guitar recorded backward. A few seconds before the yawn comes in, you can hear John Lennon say, “Yawn Paul.”

It was conceived by George Harrison in a late-night session, inspired when a studio engineer accidentally flipped a tape…Harrison was amazed at the effect and decided to do it for real. So he wrote down a solo and then played it twice, once forwards and once backward, with fuzz effects on one track.

George Harrison:  “We turned the tape over and put it on backwards, and then played some guitar notes to it, just playing little bits, guessing, hoping it fitted in…We were excited to hear what it sounded like, and it was magic.”

Revolver broke recording boundaries and developed processes that are still used today. The bass was one thing to be boosted as in the singles around this time. Paperback Writer and Rain the bass came through like never before.

They toured on this album and it would be their last tour. It was full of tension because of Lennon’s Jesus remarks and they were tired of not being heard. The touring equipment still wasn’t up to where people could hear over the screaming. Our band would play in 200-capacity clubs and we had more powerful equipment than the Beatles did playing in big arenas and sports facilities.

They were well into the beginnings of the studio experimental phase of their career. Therefore, I’m Only Sleeping, along with all of the other material from Revolver, was never performed live, nor could it have been because the technology just wasn’t there at that time to play these songs accurately.

Revolver peaked at #1 in the US, Canada, and the UK in 1966.

Ringo Starr: “I believe we taught George Martin how to keep the tape rolling,” he lost that old attitude that you only press the button when you are going to do the take. We began to have the tape rolling all of the time.”

I’m Only Sleeping

When I wake up early in the morning
Lift my head, I’m still yawning
When I’m in the middle of a dream
Stay in bed, float up stream (float up stream)

Please, don’t wake me
No, don’t shake me
Leave me where I am
I’m only sleeping

Everybody seems to think I’m lazy
I don’t mind, I think they’re crazy
Runnin’ everywhere at such a speed
‘Til they find there’s no need (there’s no need)

Please, don’t spoil my day
I’m miles away
And after all
I’m only sleeping

Keepin’ an eye on the world going by my window
Takin’ my time

Lyin’ there and staring at the ceiling
Waiting for a sleepy feeling

Please, don’t spoil my day
I’m miles away
And after all
I’m only sleeping

Keepin’ an eye on the world going by my window
Takin’ my time

When I wake up early in the morning
Lift my head, I’m still yawning
When I’m in the middle of a dream
Stay in bed, float up stream (float up stream)

Please, don’t wake me
No, don’t shake me
Leave me where I am
I’m only sleeping

Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

28 thoughts on “Beatles – I’m Only Sleeping”

    1. I bought most of it a long long time ago. They still sell…the last I checked… they still sell over a million albums a year. I did get the remixed White Album and I’m getting the new Revolver.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. If you ever get bored… go on youtube and google ‘rubersoul sessions’ and you will find a 19 minute audio of them laughing and cutting up…it is funny as hell.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. a song I often forget about on that record, but a good one. I’m going to listen to it a bit differently now listening for that backwards masked guitar etc. Amazing how ‘lazy’ John was yet how very much they still got done!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this song, because I do enjoy lazing around in bed. It’s kind of mindboggling that Revolver was released in August 1966, but all the songs they played on their tour that summer were from 2-3 years earlier.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m with you on lazing around in bed…. They probably figured that audiences wouldn’t know much difference because it got to that point.

      Like

      1. You know what? You never know because yea some of those songs they had been playing for years.

        Like

  3. I haven’t listened to this tune in a long, long time. It’s one that I have kind of overlooked–my bad. Now, with a more decerning ear, I can hear those Everly Brothers influenced harmonies with pre-psychedelic folk rock tendencies. Brilliant.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for reminding me to watch that cool clip. I received an email notification about it from Beatles.com but had not had a chance to watch it until now. I like the song as well.

    In terms of leaps and bounds, I think there’s no question “Revolver” is the most significant album The Beatles. There are so many sound innovations on that record like tape loops, backwards recordings, varispeeding and perhaps, most significantly, artificial double tracking (ADT).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ADT was huge…all because Lennon was lazy lol…but that saved a hell of a lot of time for them making records….and everyone else.
      The new remix of Revolver…the Beatles are using technology that no other band has….Peter Jackson developed a software that can separate instruments and voices on the same track. Right now he only lets the Beatles use it.

      Liked by 1 person

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