Think for Yourself

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"Think for Yourself"
Song by the Beatles from the album Rubber Soul
Released 3 December 1965 (mono and stereo)
Recorded 8 November 1965,
EMI Studios, London
Genre Rock
Length 2:18
Label Parlophone
Writer George Harrison
Producer George Martin
Rubber Soul track listing

"Think for Yourself" is a song by English rock band the Beatles which first appeared on their 1965 album Rubber Soul. Written and sung by George Harrison, it is a warning against listening to lies,[1] and the first of Harrison's songs not to be a love song. In his book I, Me, Mine he writes, "But all this time later, I don't quite recall who inspired that tune. Probably the government."[1] In a departure from all precedent at the time, the song has two bass lines, a normal one and one created by Paul McCartney's then-unique application of a fuzzbox to his bass.[2]

Musical structure[edit]

The song is in the key of G major, but its musical premise appears to be permanent tonic key ambiguity and restless root movement (musically echoing the title) through extensive borrowing from the parallel G minor.[3] Thus, the G7 introduction appears to ground us in G major (G Mixolydian); yet the verse soon opens ("I've got a word or two") with a ii chord (Am) that suggests we are in A Dorian mode or even A Aeolian mode with the following move to a Dm chord on "word or two" being a iv rather than a v in G major. The immediate shift to B♭ chord (♭III in G major) on "to say" and the C chord (IV in G major) on "about the things" again confuses as the Bb and C chords seem to hint at a ♭Vi- ♭VII rock run in D Aeolian.[4] When we arrive at the chorus ("Think for yourself...") the anticipated tonic-identifying V-I (D7 chord-G7 chord) shift, is preceded (pointedly on "Think") with a strange ♭VI (E♭/B♭)chord in second inversion that undermines its tonal direction.[4] This overlapping of major and minor harmony and restless root movement is an intriguing characteristic of Harrison's songwriting as far back as "Don't Bother Me".[5]

Personnel[edit]

Personnel per Ian MacDonald[6]

Cover versions[edit]

Yonder Mountain String Band covered the track for This Bird Has Flown – A 40th Anniversary Tribute to the Beatles' Rubber Soul in 2005.

When Mojo released the CD Yellow Submarine Resurfaces in 2012, the track was covered by Pete Shelley.[7]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Turner 2005, p. 92.
  2. ^ Shea & Rodriguez 2010.
  3. ^ Dominic Pedler. The Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles. Music Sales Limited. Omnibus Press. NY. 2003. p663
  4. ^ a b Dominic Pedler. The Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles. Music Sales Limited. Omnibus Press. NY. 2003. p664
  5. ^ Dominic Pedler. The Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles. Music Sales Limited. Omnibus Press. NY. 2003. p665
  6. ^ MacDonald 2005, p. 178.
  7. ^ http://www.mojocovercds.com/cd/1945

References[edit]

  • MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (Second Revised ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand). ISBN 1-84413-828-3. 
  • Shea, Stuart; Rodriguez, Robert (2010). Fab Four FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Beatles…and More!. 
  • Turner, Steve (2005). A Hard Day's Write: The Stories Behind Every Beatles Song (3rd ed.). New York: Harper Paperbacks. ISBN 0-06-084409-4. 

External links[edit]