May 26, 1966: Beatles Record ‘Yellow Submarine’

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beatles Sub-Rigbey 45sleeveIntended by its primary writer Paul McCartney as a children’s song written for Ringo Starr to sing, the seemingly psychedelic number was subject to many later interpretations and includes lyrical contributions by John Lennon and (uncredited) Donovan (“sky of blue and sea of green”). The basic tracks were recorded on this day by engineer Geoff Emerick without producer George Martin who was suffering from a bout of food poisoning.

The many sound effects and backing vocals were added on June 1. Among those heard singing along on the chorus are Beatles manager Brian Epstein, Brian Jones, Marianne Faithfull, Pattie Boyd (who George Harrison married earlier that year), Beatles associates Mal Evans and Neil Aspinall, along with Martin and Emerick.

It would be released as a double-sided 45 RPM single with “Eleanor Rigby” on August 5 and hit #1 on the U.K. charts, staying there for four weeks. It would go on to reach #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 – the highest charting Fab Four song with Starr on lead vocals.

“…sky of blue and sea of green…”

It also inspired the 1968 animated movie of the same name which combined pioneering animation techniques, dazzling visual invention, witty dialogue and of course glorious music.

And here’s “Eleanor Rigby”…

Related: The film received a 50th anniversary release in summer 2018

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