- Published in 1966
- Author: Lennon/McCartney
- Track 9 on “Revolver“
JOHN 1972: “Another horror.”
JOHN 1980: “Another of my throwaways.”
GEORGE 1987: “I think it was Paul and me, or maybe John and me, playing (guitar) in harmony– quite a complicated little line that goes through the middle-eight.”
PAUL 1995: “One of my favorites on the Anthology is, ‘And Your Bird Can Sing,’ which is a nice song, but this take of it was one we couldn’t use at the time. John and I got a fit of the giggles while we were doing the double-track. You couldn’t have released it at the time. But now you can. Sounds great just hearing us lose it on a take.”
About “And Your Bird Can Sing”
“And Your Bird Can Sing” was released on their 1966 album Revolver, apart from in the United States and Canada, where it instead appeared on Yesterday and Today. It was written primarily by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney. George Harrison and Paul McCartney play an extended dual-guitar melody that anticipates the harmonised guitar arrangements commonly used in Southern rock, hard rock, and heavy metal.
The song’s working title was “You Don’t Get Me”. Several interpretations have been offered due to the song’s oblique lyrics and Lennon’s failure to reveal what they mean. There is a theory that Lennon was addressing Frank Sinatra in response to an article in Esquire magazine hagiographing the singer; another speculates that he was addressing Mick Jagger.
The Beatles originally recorded the track in the Byrds’ style. The outtakes compilation Anthology 2 released this version of the discarded song, which includes Lennon and McCartney laughing while attempting to sing over the vocal overdub. The 2022 Super Deluxe Edition of Revolver included this version (without the laughing overdub).
Meaning of “And Your Bird Can Sing”
The song’s meaning has invited various interpretations. While not as narratively straightforward as some of The Beatles’ tracks, it’s thought to touch on themes of materialism, superficiality, and the intricate dynamics of relationships.
One interpretation sees it as a critique of materialistic values. The recurring line “And your bird can sing” might symbolize boasting about possessions or achievements. It could be a subtle commentary on the tendency to place excessive importance on external displays of wealth or success.
The song is often noted for its playful and ironic tone. The repeated refrain, “You say you’ve seen seven wonders, and your bird is green,” could be perceived as a sly jab at someone prone to exaggeration or overemphasis on their experiences or possessions.
Moreover, “And Your Bird Can Sing” might subtly allude to the complexities and misunderstandings that can arise in relationships. The imagery of a singing bird might symbolize a person’s capacity to communicate or express themselves within a relationship.
Alternatively, the song’s meaning might also relate to the idea of artistic expression. The bird that can sing could signify a person’s ability to create or communicate through their art or craft.
Ultimately, the song’s clever wordplay and witty lyrics leave room for individual interpretation. “And Your Bird Can Sing” remains a piece that encourages listeners to reflect on its meaning and draw their own conclusions. Its intriguing lyrics and memorable melody have established it as a fan favorite and a topic of discussion among Beatles enthusiasts for generations.
- John Lennon – lead vocal, rhythm guitar, handclaps
- Paul McCartney – harmony vocal, bass, lead guitar, handclaps
- George Harrison – harmony vocal, lead guitar, handclaps
- Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine, handclaps
How to play “And Your Bird Can Sing” on guitar
“And Your Bird Can Sing” features a dual-guitar arrangement, creating a distinctive and memorable sound. Here’s a description of the guitars in this song:
Rhythm Guitar (Guitar 1)
The rhythm guitar in “And Your Bird Can Sing” plays a foundational role. It’s characterized by a bright, jangly tone typical of the Rickenbacker 12-string guitar, which was favored by George Harrison. The guitar is likely set to a clean or slightly overdriven tone.
The main riff, which serves as the song’s signature hook, is played on this rhythm guitar. It’s a repetitive, ascending and descending pattern that provides the song’s melodic backbone. This riff is featured prominently in the intro and throughout the verses.
In addition to the main riff, the rhythm guitar provides the chords and strumming pattern for the chorus and bridge sections. The strumming is fairly straightforward, emphasizing the song’s infectious energy.
Lead Guitar (Guitar 2)
The lead guitar in “And Your Bird Can Sing” complements the rhythm guitar, adding melodic layers and fills. It’s likely played on a Gibson Les Paul or a similar solid-body electric guitar, which provides a warm and clear tone.
The lead guitar introduces a melodic counterpoint to the rhythm guitar, adding depth and complexity to the song. It features distinctive, memorable lines that enhance the overall sound.
Throughout the song, the lead guitar provides intricate fills and embellishments, particularly during transitions between sections and in instrumental breaks. These embellishments contribute to the song’s dynamic and lively character.
The interplay between the rhythm and lead guitars is a key feature of the song’s arrangement. They complement each other, creating a rich, harmonically diverse texture. This dual-guitar approach gives “And Your Bird Can Sing” its unique sound, blending bright, ringing tones with warm, melodic lines.
Both guitars work together to create the song’s energetic and memorable hooks. The interweaving of the rhythm and lead parts showcases The Beatles’ masterful musicianship and demonstrates how well their individual playing styles complemented each other.
The following video features tabs and isolated guitars of the song:
How to play “And Your Bird Can Sing” on bass
“And Your Bird Can Sing” by The Beatles features a melodic and intricate bassline played by Paul McCartney. It’s a standout feature of the song. It’s played on a Hofner 500/1 bass, which was Paul McCartney’s signature instrument during The Beatles’ heyday. The bassline is characterized by its melodic and dynamic nature, which complements the guitar work and contributes to the song’s distinctive sound.
The bassline features a combination of walking notes and melodic runs, giving the song a lively and energetic feel. McCartney’s playing style in this song showcases his ability to create memorable basslines that serve as integral parts of the composition.
Throughout the song, the bass interacts with the guitars, providing a rhythmic foundation while also adding melodic elements that contribute to the overall musical texture. McCartney’s use of the bass as a melodic instrument is a hallmark of his bass playing and is evident in “And Your Bird Can Sing.”
Interplay with Other Instruments
The bass interacts closely with the guitars, especially during the song’s main riff. It complements the jangly sound of the guitars, adding depth and groove to the overall arrangement. The bass also provides a solid foundation for the vocal harmonies, helping to anchor the song’s structure.
During instrumental breaks and transitions, the bassline becomes more prominent, showcasing McCartney’s ability to create engaging and memorable bass melodies. This is particularly evident in the instrumental sections where the bass takes on a lead role.
The bass in “And Your Bird Can Sing” is a prime example of Paul McCartney’s exceptional bass playing. It goes beyond a simple supporting role and actively contributes to the song’s melody, rhythm, and overall character. McCartney’s ability to infuse the bassline with creativity and musicality is a testament to his skill as a bassist.
The following video will allow you to appreciate the nuances and artistry of Paul McCartney’s bassline in this classic Beatles song:
“And Your Bird Can Sing” karaoke version
For those who want to try singing “And Your Bird Can Sing”, the following video shows the karaoke version of the song: