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Music / Yellow Submarine

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"It's all too much for me to take..."

Yellow Submarine is the eleventh studio album by The Beatles, released in 1969 through Apple Records. It's the Cult Soundtrack to the film of the same name, Yellow Submarine (1968).

It is generally considered to be one of the band's weakest releases, as it contains just four (albeit up to their usual high standard) original Beatles songs. The title track had originally appeared on Revolver and also gotten released as a single, while "All You Need Is Love" had also been a single for quite some time, as well as appearing on the then US-exclusive Magical Mystery Tour LP. Finally, the rest of the album is essentially a George Martin album, consisting of cues from his orchestral score for the film.

In 1999, a compilation album called Yellow Submarine Songtrack was released, which removed the George Martin orchestrations and replaced them with most of the Beatles songs included in the film that weren't on the original album: "Eleanor Rigby", "Love You To", "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", "Think for Yourself", "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", "With a Little Help From My Friends", "When I'm Sixty-Four" and "Nowhere Man". However, "A Day in the Life" was not included in this release despite having appeared in the film.


Side One (The Beatles Songs)

  1. "Yellow Submarine" (2:40)
  2. "Only a Northern Song" (3:24)
  3. "All Together Now" (2:11)
  4. "Hey Bulldog" (3:11)
  5. "It's All Too Much" (6:25)
  6. "All You Need Is Love" (3:51)

Side Two (George Martin Orchestral Score)

  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)

Tracklisting (1999 Re-release/Yellow Submarine Songtrack)

  1. "Yellow Submarine" (2:38)
  2. "Hey Bulldog" (3:14)
  3. "Eleanor Rigby" (2:06)
  4. "Love You To" (3:01)
  5. "All Together Now" (2:10)
  6. "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" (3:28)
  7. "Think for Yourself" (2:18)
  8. "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (2:02)
  9. "With a Little Help from My Friends" (2:44)
  10. "Baby, You're a Rich Man" (3:03)
  11. "Only a Northern Song" (3:37)
  12. "All You Need is Love" (3:57)
  13. "When I'm Sixty-Four" (2:37)
  14. "Nowhere Man" (2:44)
  15. "It's All Too Much" (6:28)

Principal Members:

  • George Harrison - lead and backing vocals, guitar, tambourine, organ, maracas, violin
  • John Lennon - lead and backing vocals, guitar, piano, glockenspiel, ukulele, harmonica, tambourine, harpsichord, banjo
  • Paul McCartney - lead and backing vocals, bass, trumpet, tambourine, cowbell, double bass
  • Ringo Starr - lead and backing vocals, drums, percussion, finger cymbals

Only A Northern Trope:

  • Album Filler: This was a general criticism at the time. The album only has four new Beatles songs. The other two ("Yellow Submarine" and "All You Need Is Love") were already available on older albums, and the rest is George Martin's orchestrations.
  • Alliterative Title: "March of the Meanies".
  • Cult Soundtrack: The album is the soundtrack to the animated movie of the same name.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The album cover.
  • Dogs Are Dumb: Comes into play in "Hey Bulldog". "Sheepdog standing in the rain" (i.e. too dumb to come out of the rain) and "You think you know me but you haven't got a clue."
  • Epic Rocking: "It's All Too Much" exceeds six minutes, and the album version is actually an edit, trimming two minutes from the uncut recording (including a chorus, a verse, and fading the ending out early).
  • Face on the Cover: A group shot of the band in cartoon form.
  • Genre Roulette: Kind of. One side of the album is pop music, the other is George Martin's score for the movie, which itself weaves through multiple styles of music, such as baroque, psychedelic and middle-eastern.
  • Instrumental: The George Martin side of the album.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Near the end of the 6:25 track "It's All Too Much" you can hear the band singing: "Too much, too much, too much..."
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "Yellow Submarine".
  • Oddball in the Series: The only (UK) Beatles album in which their compositions only take up half of the album, with the rest being filled up with George Martin-composed film scores. It's also the only Beatles studio album to recycle songs from previous albums.note 
  • Repurposed Pop Song: The original album had "Yellow Submarine", which appeared earlier on Revolver (1966) and "All You Need Is Love" from Magical Mystery Tour (1967). The 1999 re-release has "Think for Yourself", "Nowhere Man" (from Rubber Soul), "Eleanor Rigby", "Love You To" (from Revolver) and "Sgt. Peppers", "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", "With a Little Help from My Friends", and "When I'm Sixty-Four" (from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band).
  • Shout-Out: The line "With your long, blonde hair and your eyes of blue" from "It's All Too Much" is a quote from "Sorrow", originally recorded by American band the McCoys, then Covered Up by the Merseys, though David Bowie's 1973 cover on Pin Ups is probably the best-known version today.
  • The Something Song: "Only a Northern Song".
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Ringo Starr sings lead vocals on "Yellow Submarine".
  • Stylistic Suck: George Harrison's "Only a Northern Song" is intentionally dissonant, as it is a protest song against being contractually obligated to write songs for which he received few royalties.
  • Tagline: "Nothing is real" (taken from "Strawberry Fields Forever"). It appears on the cover just underneath the album title.
  • Take That!: George Harrison's "Only a Northern Song" is a swipe at Lennon and McCartney's publishing company, Northern Songs Ltd. Harrison wrote it to express his dissatisfaction over being screwed over on royalties from his own compositions. (The following year George would found his own publishing company, Harrisongs Ltd.)
    "It doesn't really matter what chords I play/What words I say/What time of day it is/'Cause it's only a Northern song".
  • This Is a Song: "Only a Northern Song".
  • Title Track:
    We all live in a yellow submarine.