And Your Bird Can Sing

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"And Your Bird Can Sing"
Song by the Beatles from the album Revolver and Yesterday and Today
Released 5 August 1966 (Revolver)
20 June 1966 (Yesterday and Today)
Recorded 26 April 1966,
EMI Studios, London
Genre Psychedelic,[1] folk rock[2]
Length 2:01
Label Parlophone
Writer Lennon–McCartney
Producer George Martin
Revolver and Yesterday and Today track listing

"And Your Bird Can Sing" is a song by the Beatles, released on their 1966 album Revolver in the United Kingdom and on Yesterday...and Today in the United States. The songwriting credit is Lennon–McCartney, though the song was written primarily by John Lennon. However, Paul McCartney claims to have helped on the lyrics, estimating the song as "80-20" to Lennon.[3] The working title was "You Don't Get Me". Lennon was later dismissive of the song, as he was of many of his compositions at the time, referring to it as "another of my throwaways ... fancy paper around an empty box".[4]

History[edit]

The song is memorable for its extended dual-guitar melody, played by George Harrison and Paul McCartney.[5] A version of the track featuring Harrison on his Rickenbacker 12-string guitar was recorded on 20 April 1966 but was scrapped; the group recorded the regular, released version on 26 April.[6] The rejected version, heard on the Anthology 2 album, features a vocal track on which Lennon and McCartney are giggling hysterically. The Anthology liner notes state that the tapes do not indicate the source of the laughter.

A few incidents have been suggested as inspirations for the song's cryptic lyrics, which recall in tone those of "She Said, She Said":

  • In his a 2007 book, Can't Buy Me Love, Jonathan Gould claims that Lennon wrote the song in response to an official press release promoting a Sinatra TV special as a show for those who were "tired of kid singers wearing mops of hair thick enough to hide a crate of melons." No Lennon biography or Lennon quotation is cited to substantiate Gould's theory.
  • According to journalist Richard Simpson, Lennon wrote the song in response to Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones boasting about his pop-star girlfriend ("bird" in British Isles slang) Marianne Faithfull.[7]
  • The line "You say you've seen seven wonders" may refer to the night the Beatles smoked pot with Bob Dylan in New York in 1964. The experience caused a stoned McCartney to excitedly pronounce what he had just learned was the key to life: "There are seven levels." [8]

"And Your Bird Can Sing" was used as the theme song of the Beatles' cartoon series during its third season. The song is playable in the music video game The Beatles: Rock Band.

Personnel[edit]

Personnel per Ian McDonald, except as noted.[3]

Cover versions[edit]

Spanky and Our Gang were the first to cover this song in the same year and even released it as their first single, which failed to chart. The Jam covered this song as a B-side. The Georgia-based band Guadalcanal Diary also covered this song, released as a CD bonus track on their 1987 album 2X4. Jack Black used its opening riff for inspiration in a fight against Satan at each show of the Tenacious D 2006-2007 Tour. Les Fradkin has a snappy instrumental version on his 2005 CD "While My Guitar Only Plays". Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs covered the song for their 2006 collaboration Under the Covers, Vol. 1. In 2009, Chicago-based Chiptune / NES-Rock band I Fight Dragons released a cover as a mp3 download to subscribers of their mailing list. Helmet released their version of this track on their 2010 album Seeing Eye Dog. Swedish rock group Gyllene Tider recorded a Swedish version titled Och jorden den är rund (And Earth is round) on an EP which was included with their LP album Moderna tider from 1981.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Riley, Tim (20 September 2011). Lennon: The Man, the Myth, the Music - The Definitive Life. Hyperion Books. p. 425. ISBN 1-4013-0393-5. 
  2. ^ Fricke, David et al. (1 May 2002). Fine, Jason, ed. Harrison. Simon and Schuster. p. 200. ISBN 0-7432-3581-9. ...the song's folk-rock air... 
  3. ^ a b MacDonald 2003, p. 199.
  4. ^ David Sheff, All We Are Saying, p. 180
  5. ^ a b Everett 1999, p. 46.
  6. ^ Mark Lewisohn, The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, p. 22, 24
  7. ^ Simpson, Richard (6 November 2006). "Marianne Faithfull makes full recovery from breast cancer". Mail Online. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  8. ^ "78 - 'And Your Bird Can Sing'". 100 Greatest Beatles Songs. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 

References[edit]