Don't Pass Me By

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

"Don't Pass Me By"
Don't Pass Me By sheet music cover.jpg
Cover of the Apple Publishing sheet music
Song by the Beatles
from the album The Beatles
PublishedStartling Music
Released22 November 1968
Recorded5 June 1968
GenreCountry rock
Length3:46 (mono version)
3:51 (stereo version)
Songwriter(s)Richard Starkey
Producer(s)George Martin

"Don't Pass Me By" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles from the double album The Beatles (also known as the "White Album"). It was the first solo composition by Ringo Starr.[1]

The song was released as a single in Scandinavia and peaked at number 1 in Denmark in April 1969.[2]


Starr first played his song for the other Beatles soon after he joined the group in August 1962.[3] During an interview, Ringo commented on the songwriting process, saying: "I wrote Don't Pass Me By when I was sitting round at home. I was fiddling with the piano – I just bang away – and then if a melody comes and some words, I just have to keep going. It was great to get my first song down, one that I had written. It was a very exciting time for me and everyone was really helpful, and recording that crazy violinist was a thrilling moment." [4] The earliest public mention of the track seems to have been in a BBC chatter session introducing "And I Love Her" on the radio show Top Gear in 1964. In the conversation, Starr was asked if he had written a song and Paul McCartney mocked him soon afterwards, singing the first line of the refrain, "Don't pass me by, don't make me cry, don't make me blue, baby."[5]


The song was recorded in four separate sessions in 1968: 5 and 6 June, and 5 and 12 July. Despite references to it in 1964 as "Don't Pass Me By",[6] it was called "Ringo's Tune (Untitled)" on 5 June session tape label and "This Is Some Friendly" on 6 June label. By 12 July, the title was restored.[1]

During a lead vocal track recorded on 6 June, Starr audibly counted out eight beats,[1] and it can be heard in the released song starting at 2:30 of the 1987 CD version. The monaural mix is faster than the stereo mix, and features a different arrangement of violin in the fade-out.

George Martin arranged an orchestral interlude as an introduction, but this was rejected.[6] It would eventually be used as an incidental cue for the Beatles' animated film Yellow Submarine. In 1996, the introduction was released as the track "A Beginning" on The Beatles Anthology 3 CD.[6][7]

The line, "I'm sorry that I doubted you, I was so unfair, You were in a car crash and you lost your hair", is cited by proponents of the "Paul is dead" urban legend[who?] as a clue to McCartney's fate; the line "you lost your hair" is claimed to refer to Paul being badly burned in a fiery car crash, or to the song "When I'm Sixty-Four" (which was written by McCartney). However, the expression "to lose one's hair" was a fairly common English idiom, and simply means "to become anxious or upset" (see, for instance, Elizabeth Bowen's novel The Death of the Heart, 1938).


The pianos were both recorded into a Leslie 147 speaker.

Personnel per Ian MacDonald[6] and supported by Mark Lewisohn[1]

Cover versions[edit]

The song has been covered by alt-country band the Gourds, by the Southern rock band the Georgia Satellites on their 1988 album, Open All Night,[8] and by the Punkles on their 2004 album, Pistol.[9]

The Swedish pop group ABBA made an unofficial parody of this song, but it was not released until their medley "Undeleted" in 1994. Phish covered the song live, with most other songs on The Beatles on the album Live Phish Volume 13.[10]

Ringo Starr released a re-recording of the song as a bonus track on his 2017 album Give More Love.


  1. ^ a b c d Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York: Harmony Books. pp. 137, 142, 144. ISBN 0-517-57066-1.
  2. ^ "Top 10/Tipparaden/1969/Uge 14 (week 14)". (in Danish). 3 April 1969. Retrieved 2015-03-16.
  3. ^ Lewisohn, Mark (2013). The Beatles: All These Years, Volume One – Tune In. New York: Crown Archetype. p. 691. ISBN 978-1-4000-8305-3.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Complete BBC Sessions, Vol.8, track 5, at the 1:10 mark
  6. ^ a b c d MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (Second Revised ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand). p. 286. ISBN 1-84413-828-3.
  7. ^ Lewisohn, Mark (1996). Anthology 3 (booklet). The Beatles. London: Apple Records. p. 4. 34451.
  8. ^ "Open All Night – The Georgia Satelittes". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  9. ^ "Pistol – The Punkles". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  10. ^ "Live Phish, Vol. 13: 10/31/94, Glens Falls Civic Center, Glens Falls, NY – Phish". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 September 2017.

External links[edit]