Friday, April 15, 2016


On Tax Day, April 15th, everything you wanted to know about the Beatles song "Taxman" from the website

What a great way to begin the Revolver album! “Taxman” is the opening track for the record and, of course, the count-in opens the song. In one respect it is a reference to their very first album Please Please Me which also began with the “I Saw Her Standing There” count-in when released some three and a half years earlier. Both were a count-in to four and both were spoken by Paul McCartney, but that is where the similarities end. It was now the latter half of the sixties and by the time the public would hear “Taxman,” The Beatles would be within a few weeks of their touring days being over forever. So while Paul’s 1963 “I Saw Her Standing There” count-in of “one-two-three-faaah!” simulates what you could very well hear as The Beatles kick into their set at a live show, the “Taxman” count-in symbolizes the change from the simplicity of live music to the more studio-oriented Beatles to come. Paul’s voice is somewhat disguised within a low and sinister quality and the “one, two, three, four, one, two…” spoken much slower. The nervous cough and fretboard fingering sounds that accompany it add a more studio-artificial feel to it too. In fact, it isn’t even a “real” count-in. The real count-in overtakes this artificial one and is yelled off-mike. The “four!” is the most audible in the real count-in and comes in higher, more positive sounding and at twice the speed of the slower one layered on top of it.

“Taxman” was the sixth George Harrison composition with The Beatles and, though uncredited, John Lennon helped with one or two lines including the clever couplet “Now my advice for those who die, declare the pennies on your eyes.” Around this time, George had become the “money Beatle” and would often inquire about how much they had earned on their tours, how much royalties had to be paid and what their manager Brian’s cut was supposed to be at various times. Unfortunately, the lyric in the song that says “Here’s one for you, nineteen for me” is no exaggeration. The Beatles were in the highest tax bracket in the U.K. and required to pay a 95% supertax introduced by Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s Labour Government.

Here's a great video of George and Eric Clapton performing the song live in concert...