Yes It Is

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"Yes It Is"
US picture sleeve (reverse)
Single by the Beatles
A-side"Ticket to Ride"
Released9 April 1965
Format7-inch record
Recorded16 February 1965
StudioEMI Studios, London
Producer(s)George Martin
The Beatles singles chronology
"I Feel Fine"
"Ticket to Ride" / "Yes It Is"
The Beatles US singles chronology
"Eight Days a Week"
"Ticket to Ride" / "Yes It Is"

"Yes It Is" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles. Written by John Lennon (credited to Lennon–McCartney) it was first released in 1965 as the B-side to "Ticket to Ride". It features some of the Beatles' most complex and dissonant three-part vocal harmonies and showcases George Harrison's early use of volume pedal guitar. Ian MacDonald describes the song as having "rich and unusual harmonic motion."[2]


In his 1980 interview with Playboy, John Lennon described "Yes It Is" as an attempt to rewrite "This Boy" (the style of the song) that "didn't quite work".[3] Paul McCartney on the other hand described it as "a very fine song of John's" that he and Lennon had finished writing together.[4]

Musical structure[edit]

The song is in the 12/8 time signature, in the key of E and begins (on "If you wear red tonight ...") with a I–IV–ii7–V7 chord progression (E–A–F#m7–B7) in which the word "tonight" (B melody note) appears as a "delicately haunting" 4th above the F#m7,[5] creating a suspension. The melodic pitches of this first two bar phrase are repeated (with initial repetition of the G# melody note) on "remember what I said tonight," except that the B melody note on the second "tonight" is now backed by a ♭VII (D) chord that shapes the B melody note into a more "luscious" 6th.[6] The chorus ("Yes it is, it's true. Yes it is, it's true") involves a I (E chord) – III (G# chord) – IV (A chord) – I (E chord) progression in which the major III (G#) chord appears for the first time in the song to propel the Plagal drop from IV (A) to the tonic I (E) chord.[7]


Over the course of a five-hour recording session, the Beatles attempted 14 takes of the basic track before perfecting it.[8] "Yes It Is" was recorded on 16 February 1965, the same day that they completed Harrison's "I Need You".[8] After completing the rhythm track, Lennon, McCartney and Harrison recorded their vocal harmonies in three hours, singing live together using the suggestion of George Martin that they sing their three part harmony in the style of a barber shop quartet.[8][9]

Release and reception[edit]

"Yes It Is" was released as the B-side of the "Ticket to Ride" single in both the US and the UK.[10] American pressings of the single erroneously show "Yes It Is" as being from the film Eight Arms to Hold You (the original title for the film, Help!),[11] in which it did not appear.[12]

The song was included on Beatles VI in the US (utilizing the "duophonic" stereo remix from the original mono track, with additional echo and reverb added), and on subsequent compilation albums including Love Songs, the British version of the Rarities album, Only the Beatles, a British promotional cassette for Heineken Beer in 1986 (on which it made its first true stereo appearance), Past Masters, Volume One, and also on Anthology 2 in an alternate version that combines the second and fourteenth takes. The original mono single mix appears on the Mono Masters CD as part of The Beatles in Mono box set.

Author Ian MacDonald praised "Yes It Is" along with its accompanying a-side "Ticket to Ride". He described the both songs as "[...] psychologically deeper than The Beatles had ever recorded before" and declared that they marked a huge step forward in the Beatles development as songwriters.[13]


Billy Joel said in a 2008 interview on the nationally syndicated Rockline radio show that his 1980 song "Through The Long Night" was modelled after "Yes It Is."

Covers and parodies[edit]

Don Henley performed the song at an early Bridge School Benefit. A recording was issued on Bridge School Concerts, Vol. 1.

Peter Sellers performed a spoken parody which can be heard on A Celebration of Sellers, the four-CD anthology of Sellers' recorded material, released in 1993.

There is a French version, with lyrics of Georges Aber, titled Ne mets pas de bleu, sung by Olivier Despax, released in 1965.[14]

A version in Portuguese, sung by Verônica Sabino, became a success in Brazil in 1986. Titled "Demais" ("too much"), it had reworked lyrics by Zé Rodrix and Miguel Paiva, unrelated to the original lyrics.


According to Ian MacDonald:[15]


  1. ^ "The Beatles 'Yes It Is'". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  2. ^ MacDonald, I. (1994, p.147) Revolution in the head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties. London, Fourtrh Estate.
  3. ^ Sheff 2000, p. 196.
  4. ^ Beatles Interview Database 2009.
  5. ^ Dominic Pedler. The Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles. Music Sales Limited. Omnibus Press. NY. 2003. p721
  6. ^ Dominic Pedler. The Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles. Music Sales Limited. Omnibus Press. NY. 2003. p721
  7. ^ Dominic Pedler. The Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles. Music Sales Limited. Omnibus Press. NY. 2003. p 112–113
  8. ^ a b c Lewisohn 1988, p. 54.
  9. ^ The Beatles Bible 2009.
  10. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 200.
  11. ^ Harry 2000, p. 1074.
  12. ^ Harry 2000, p. 504.
  13. ^ Ian MacDonald "A Revolution In The Head"
  14. ^ see Second hand songs on line
  15. ^ MacDonald 2005, p. 146.


External links[edit]