And Your Bird Can Sing
|"And Your Bird Can Sing"|
Cover of the Northern Songs sheet music (licensed to Sonora Musikförlag)
|Song by the Beatles|
|from the album Revolver|
|Recorded||26 April 1966,
EMI Studios, London
|Genre||Power pop, psychedelic pop|
"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 song was written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney. Paul McCartney stated that he helped on the lyrics and attributed the song "80–20" to Lennon. The working title was "You Don't Get Me". Lennon was later dismissive of the track, 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".
The song is memorable for its extended dual-guitar melody, played by George Harrison and Paul McCartney. A version of the track featuring Harrison on his Rickenbacker 360/12 12-string electric guitar was recorded on 20 April 1966 but was scrapped; the group recorded the regular, released version on 26 April. 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 2007 book Can't Buy Me Love, Jonathan Gould claims that Lennon wrote the song in response to an official press release promoting a Frank 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".
- 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 English slang) Marianne Faithfull.
- According to Rolling Stone, the line "You say you've seen seven wonders" could be a reference to a comment McCartney made in 1964 when the Beatles were smoking cannabis with Bob Dylan in New York. Under the effects of the drug, McCartney declared that he now knew the answer to the questions of existence, saying: "There are seven levels."
"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. In October 2008, Guitar World magazine ranked Harrison's playing on the song at number 69 on its list of the "100 Greatest Guitar Solos".
In 2006, Mojo placed "And Your Bird Can Sing" at number 41 on its list of "The 101 Greatest Beatles Songs". In his commentary on the track, English academic Toby Litt identified it as "the birth of all powerpop, from Big Star through Cheap Trick to Fountains Of Wayne" and the inspiration for other artists that "use jangle to attack". While recognising the song's Indian drone quality and the raga influence in the guitar melody, he said that the riff was perhaps "the most baroque that pop music ever came up with", adding: "Slow it down and it could be a Bach chorale."
- John Lennon – lead vocal, rhythm guitar, handclaps
- Paul McCartney – harmony vocal, bass, lead guitar, handclaps
- George Harrison – harmony vocal, lead guitar, handclaps
- Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine, handclaps
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 Flamin' Groovies recorded it as a demo for their never-finished fourth Sire LP, eventually released on "The Gold Star Tapes" (1984). R. Stevie Moore recorded both instrumental and later vocal versions of the song, each cover self-released. The Jam covered the song as a B-side. The Georgia-based band Guadalcanal Diary also covered the 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 an MP3 download to subscribers of their mailing list. Helmet released their version of the 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 album Moderna Tider from 1981. Recently, the song was covered by Gov't Mule for Howard Stern's tribute to Revolver.
- Riley, Tim (20 September 2011). Lennon: The Man, the Myth, the Music - The Definitive Life. Hyperion Books. p. 425. ISBN 1-4013-0393-5.
- NME, 21 March 2015, page 54, "psychedelic, but also propulsive, setting the song apart from the other jangly psych-pop songs of the time"
- MacDonald 2003, p. 199.
- David Sheff, All We Are Saying, p. 180
- Everett 1999, p. 46.
- Mark Lewisohn, The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, p. 22, 24
- Simpson, Richard (6 November 2006). "Marianne Faithfull makes full recovery from breast cancer". Daily Mail. Retrieved 27 November 2009.
- "100 Greatest Beatles Songs: 78. 'And Your Bird Can Sing'". rollingstone.com. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
- Guitar World Staff (30 October 2008). "100 Greatest Guitar Solos: 51–100". guitarworld.com. Archived from the original on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
- Alexander, Phil; et al. (July 2006). "The 101 Greatest Beatles Songs". Mojo. p. 82.
- Turner, Steve. A Hard Day's Write: The Stories Behind Every Beatles Song, Harper, New York: 1994, ISBN 0-06-095065-X
- Alan W. Pollack's Notes on "And Your Bird Can Sing"
- snopes.com: Dual Guitar Part Played by One Guitarist
- MacDonald, Ian (2003). Revolution In The Head: The Beatles' Records And The Sixties. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 978-0-09-952679-7.
- Everett, Walter (1999). The Beatles as musicians: Revolver through the Anthology. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-512941-5.
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