- Published on 1965
- Author: Harrison
- Track 5 on “Rubber Soul“
George Harrison’s quote about “Think For Yourself”
GEORGE 1980: “‘Think For Yourself’ must be written about somebody from the sound of it– but all this time later I don’t quite recall who inspired that tune. Probably the government.”
About “Think For Yourself”
“Think For Yourself” was written by George Harrison, and, together with “If I Needed Someone“, marked the start of his emergence as a songwriter beside John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The song’s lyrics advocate independent thinking and reflect the Beatles’ move towards more sophisticated concepts in their writing at this stage of their career. The song has invited interpretation as both a political statement and a love song, as Harrison dismisses a lover or friend in a tone that some commentators liken to Bob Dylan’s 1965 single “Positively 4th Street”. Among musicologists, the composition has been recognised as adventurous in the degree of tonal ambiguity it employs across parallel major and minor keys and through its suggestion of multiple musical modes.
The Beatles recorded “Think for Yourself” in November 1965, towards the end of the sessions for Rubber Soul. In a departure from convention, the track includes two bass guitar parts – one standard and one played through a fuzzbox. Performed by McCartney, this fuzz bass serves as a lead guitar line throughout the song and marked the first time that a bass guitar had been recorded using a fuzzbox device, as opposed to manipulating equipment to achieve a distorted sound. The group overdubbed their harmony vocals during a lighthearted session that was also intended to provide material for their 1965 fan-club Christmas disc. A snippet from this session was used in the Beatles’ 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine. The song has also appeared on the 1976 compilation The Best of George Harrison and on the 1999 Yellow Submarine Songtrack album.
Meaning of “Think For Yourself”
The lyrics of “Think For Yourself” convey a message of individuality and self-reliance. The song’s narrator is urging their partner to think independently and not to be overly influenced or controlled by others. The lyrics emphasize the importance of making one’s own decisions and forming one’s own opinions.
Lines like “Do what you want to do, and go where you’re going to” and “You’re on your own, and you know what you know” underscore the idea of taking charge of one’s own path in life.
While the song’s lyrics can be interpreted in various ways, it’s often seen as a message of empowerment and a call to assert one’s own autonomy and identity. It’s worth noting that the song’s release in 1965 was during a period of significant cultural and social change, and the themes of individuality and self-expression were central to this era.
- George Harrison – lead vocal, lead guitar
- John Lennon – harmony vocal, Vox Continental organ
- Paul McCartney – harmony vocal, bass, fuzz bass
- Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine, maracas