Tuesday, April 7, 2009

You Know My Name

"You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)" is one of the strangest, and almost definitely one of the more interesting songs in The Beatles' catalog. In fact, it sounds more like a Monty Python record than anything having to do with rock & roll.

The song has an interesting history, and it's proof that The Beatles were so talented, they could literally sing the phone book and make it interesting.

According to a 1980 interview with John Lennon: "That was a piece of unfinished music that I turned into a comedy record with Paul. I was waiting for him in his house, and I saw the phone book was on the piano with 'You know the name, look up the number.' That was like a logo, and I just changed it."

The Beatles use the phone-book phrase as a launching pad to lampoon various British music hall styles. And as the uneditied version released in 1996 on the Anthology 2 CD shows, they even threw in a little ska.

The track was recorded in four sessions in May and June of 1967, with doomed Rolling Stones multi-instrumentalist Brian Jones on saxophone. It was left unfinished and unreleased until 1969, when John and Paul put some final sound effects on the song. But it then sat idle for another year, when it was released in as the B-side to "Let it Be" in March of 1970, giving that 45 some serious yin & yang between the sublime and the ridiculous.

Paul McCartney, for his part, names "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)" as "probably my favorite Beatles track." High praise indeed.

The Beatles, "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)" from Anthology 2

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