Yellow Submarine (album)

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Yellow Submarine
Studio album / soundtrack by The Beatles and George Martin
Released 13 January 1969 (US)
17 January 1969 (UK)
Recorded 26 May 1966 – 11 February 1968 (The Beatles) & 22 – 23 October 1968 (George Martin),
EMI and De Lane Lea studios, London
Genre Side 1 - Psychedelic rock
Side 2 - Orchestral
Length 40:12
Label Apple
Producer George Martin
The Beatles chronology
The Beatles
Yellow Submarine
Abbey Road
Music sample

Yellow Submarine is the tenth studio album by the Beatles in the United Kingdom, released on Apple Records. It was issued as the soundtrack to the film of the same name, which premiered in the United Kingdom seven months prior to the album's release.


Only one side of the album contains songs performed by the Beatles; of the six, four were previously unissued. "Yellow Submarine" had been simultaneously issued in 1966 as a single and on the album Revolver, and "All You Need Is Love" had been issued as a single in 1967. The second side features the symphonic film score composed by George Martin, in versions recorded specifically for the album.

"All You Need Is Love" appeared in either mono or rechannelled stereo ('fake stereo'), on the US LP Magical Mystery Tour. It debuted in a true stereo mix on LP for this album. American cassette and 8-track tape versions featured "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" as an extra song on side two.


Only four new Beatles songs appeared on the album, and two were recorded specifically for the film, "All Together Now"[1] and "Hey Bulldog".[2] "Only a Northern Song" had been recorded during the sessions for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, but was set aside from the final running order.[3] "It's All Too Much," like similar numbers recorded immediately following the Sgt. Pepper sessions, was not intended for a specific project.[4] "Hey Bulldog", recorded on 11 February 1968, evolved from an initial intent to shoot a promotional film for the "Lady Madonna" single.[5]

"Baby, You're a Rich Man" was also originally intended for the film soundtrack, but was released as the B-side to "All You Need Is Love" instead and was not included in the Yellow Submarine album.[6]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[7]
The A.V. Club C–[8]
Blender 2/5 stars[9]
Consequence of Sound 3.5/5 stars[10]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 2/5 stars[11]
Pitchfork Media 6.2/10[12]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[13]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 2.5/5 stars[14]
The Rolling Stone Record Guide 2/5 stars[15]

In contrast to how the film was received, Yellow Submarine is usually considered the Beatles' weakest release. It was one of the few Beatles releases not to top the charts in either the United Kingdom or the United States, although it made No. 1 on the RPM national albums chart in Canada for two weeks, knocking their own The Beatles album off a 12-week residency at the top spot.[16] In the US, it reached #2, kept from the top by the same album, which had been released two months before. The Beatles themselves did not consider it a proper studio album, since they had little involvement in the project, and the four previously unreleased tracks on it were taken hodge-podge fashion from various sessions in 1967 and early 1968.[citation needed]

Unissued Yellow Submarine EP[edit]

After mixed response to the album upon its release, the Beatles considered releasing Yellow Submarine as a five-track mono EP, without the film score but including the then-unreleased "Across the Universe" as a bonus track. The EP was mastered but never issued.[17] The Beatles had previously released popular songs from their LPs as EPs in the British market.

The songs were later released on Mono Masters in 2009.

1969 acetate[edit]

Side 1
  1. "Only a Northern Song"
  2. "Hey Bulldog"
  3. "Across the Universe"
Side 2
  1. "All Together Now"
  2. "It's All Too Much"

UK and US version differences[edit]

Although the essential artwork on the album covers issued in the United States and the United Kingdom are similar, there are a few subtle differences on the sleeves. The front of the British jacket contains the words "NOTHING IS REAL" (taken from "Strawberry Fields Forever") in green print just below the album's title. This subtitle had been omitted from the American album cover. Also, the US cover says on the top right corner "Selections by the Beatles plus original film music".

On the back of the cover, the British album contained a review of the "White Album" written for The Observer by Tony Palmer. The review was introduced by a few liner notes by Apple press officer Derek Taylor. The American cover contained a fictitious illustrated biography of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, in which the ensemble's battle with the Blue Meanies was compared to three other epic struggles in the history of the English-speaking world: Beowulf's struggle to save the Heorot mead hall, King John's signing of the Magna Carta and Thomas Jefferson's writing of the Declaration of Independence.

The two album covers (and record labels) also differ in the fact that the British version recognises seven tracks from the film's score on side two, while the American version only recognises six tracks, treating the songs "Sea of Time" and "Sea of Holes" as a single track, titled "Medley: Sea of Time & Sea of Holes".

One final difference is that the American album was only released in stereo, while the British album was available in both stereo and mono, though the mono version is simply a fold-down of the stereo version and not a true mono mix (a fold-down is two stereo channels combined into one channel; see more at The Beatles in Mono). The mono LP does not include the true mono mix of "Only a Northern Song" and instead includes a fold-down of the fake stereo version that appeared on the stereo LP. A true stereo mix of the song was released in 1999 on the Yellow Submarine Songtrack and a true mono mix appears on Mono Masters.

Re-issues for compact disc[edit]

The first compact disc release, remastered by George Martin, appeared on 25 August 1987. It is consistent with the British version of the LP. The running order is the same with "Sea of Time" and "Sea of Holes" as separate tracks, the "Nothing Is Real" subtitle remains intact and the review of the White Album with Taylor's introduction is included inside the CD insert.

The album appeared in a totally different version on 13 September 1999, coinciding with the remastered re-release of the film. Called the Yellow Submarine Songtrack, it dispenses with the George Martin orchestrations, and includes the six Beatles songs from the original album, along with an additional nine songs, all completely remixed for this disc.

It was reissued a decade later for a third time, along with the entire catalogue, on 9 September 2009. Done at 24-bit/192 kHz resolution, this duplicated the original album, and included both UK and American sleeve notes. "Only A Northern Song" appears in its mono mix in this version, instead of the 'fake stereo' mix on the original. The mono mixes of the four songs that were intended for the unreleased EP (along with "Across the Universe") were released for the first time on the Mono Masters collection as part of the box set The Beatles in Mono.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Lennon–McCartney, except "Only a Northern Song" and "It's All Too Much" by George Harrison

Side one: Songs from the film
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. "Yellow Submarine" (originally on Revolver) Starr 2:40
2. "Only a Northern Song"   Harrison 3:24
3. "All Together Now"   McCartney, with Lennon 2:11
4. "Hey Bulldog"   Lennon, with McCartney 3:11
5. "It's All Too Much"   Harrison 6:25
6. "All You Need Is Love" (originally a 1967 single, included on the USA long-playing version of Magical Mystery Tour) Lennon 3:51

All songs written and composed by George Martin, except "Yellow Submarine In Pepperland" By Lennon–McCartney and arranged by Martin. 

Side two: Orchestral film score
No. Title Length
1. "Pepperland"   2:21
2. "Sea of Time"   3:00
3. "Sea of Holes"   2:17
4. "Sea of Monsters"   3:37
5. "March of the Meanies"   2:22
6. "Pepperland Laid Waste"   2:19
7. "Yellow Submarine in Pepperland"   2:13


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[18] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[19] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[20] Platinum 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

dagger BPI certification awarded only for sales since 1994.[21]


  1. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 112.
  2. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 134.
  3. ^ MacDonald 1994, p. 188.
  4. ^ MacDonald 1994, p. 202.
  5. ^ MacDonald 1994, p. 222.
  6. ^ Lewisohn 1996.
  7. ^ Yellow Submarine (album) at AllMusic
  8. ^ Klosterman, Chuck (8 September 2009). "Chuck Klosterman Repeats The Beatles". The A.V. Club (Chicago). Archived from the original on 26 May 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2013. 
  9. ^ Blender review
  10. ^ Album Review: The Beatles – Yellow Submarine [Remastered] « Consequence of Sound
  11. ^ Larkin, Colin (2006). Encyclopedia of Popular Music 1. Muze. p. 489. ISBN 0-19-531373-9. 
  12. ^ Pitchfork Media review
  13. ^ Yellow Submarine [Soundtrack] | Album Reviews | Rolling Stone
  14. ^ The Beatles | Album Guide | Rolling Stone Music
  15. ^ Marsh, Dave; Swenson, John (Editors). The Rolling Stone Record Guide, 1st edition, Random House/Rolling Stone Press, 1979, p. 27.
  16. ^ Library and Archives Canada.
  17. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 164.
  18. ^ "Canadian album certifications – The Beatles – Yellow Submarine". Music Canada. Retrieved 15 September 2013. 
  19. ^ "British album certifications – The Beatles – Yellow Submarine". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 15 September 2013.  Enter Yellow Submarine in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  20. ^ "American album certifications – Beatles, The – Yellow Submarine". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 15 September 2013.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  21. ^ "Beatles albums finally go platinum". British Phonographic Industry (BBC News). 2 September 2013. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 


External links[edit]

Preceded by
The Beatles (White Album) by The Beatles
Canadian RPM 100 number-one album
17–24 March 1969 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
Blood, Sweat & Tears by Blood, Sweat & Tears