- Published in 1970
- Author: Lennon/McCartney
- Track 15 on “Past Masters Volume 2“
JOHN 1980: “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 the words, ‘You know the name, look up the number.’ It was like a logo, and I just changed it. It was going to be a four tops kind of song– the chord changes are like that– but it never developed and we made a joke out of it.”
PAUL 1988: “People are only just discovering the B-sides of Beatles singles. They’re only just discovering things like ‘You Know My Name’ –probably my favorite Beatles track! Just because it’s so insane. All the memories– I mean, what would you do if a guy like John Lennon turned up at the studio and said, ‘I’ve got a new song.’ I said, ‘What’s the words?’ and he replied, ‘You know my name look up the number.’ I asked, ‘What’s the rest of it?’ ‘…No. No other words, those are the words. And I wanna do it like a mantra!’ We did it over a period of maybe two or three years. We started off and we just did 20 minutes, and we tried it again and it didn’t work. We tried it again, and we had these endless, crazy fun sessions. Eventually we pulled it all together and I sang, (sings in jazzy voice) ‘You know my name…’ and we just did a skit. Mal (Evans) and his gravel. I can still see Mal digging the gravel. And it was just so hilarious to put that record together. It’s not a great melody or anything, it’s just unique. Some people haven’t discovered that song yet.”
PAUL circa-1994: “I remember at one point we asked Mal (Evans) to shovel a bucket of gravel as a rhythmic device. We had a bit of a giggle doing those kind of tracks… Brian Jones (Rolling Stones) plays a funny sax solo. It’s not amazingly well played but it happened to be exactly what we wanted. Brian was very good like that.”
About “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)”
“You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” is a whimsical and unconventional song written primarily by John Lennon with contributions from Paul McCartney. The song was originally released as the B-side of the single “Let It Be” on 6 March 1970. Although it was released with Beatles’ single (and the penultimate single in the United States), it was recorded in four separate sessions beginning with three in May and June 1967 and one in April 1969. Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones plays a saxophone part in the song.
“You Know My Name” is characterized by its quirky and whimsical musical style. It features a variety of musical elements, including vaudeville, jazz, and avant-garde influences. The song showcases The Beatles’ willingness to experiment with different genres and sounds. The lyrics of the song are playful and nonsensical. The repeated refrain of “You know my name, look up the number” is the central theme. The verses contain a series of humorous and disconnected phrases. The lyrics give the impression of a lighthearted and carefree approach to songwriting.
The song may have been influenced by The Goons, a British comedy group that both Lennon and McCartney admired. It reflects their sense of humor and their willingness to embrace unconventional approaches to music.
“You Know My Name” received mixed reviews upon its release. Some listeners appreciated its humor and musical experimentation, while others found it puzzling or even irritating. The song has gained a cult following among Beatles fans for its eccentricity and unique style. It stands out as one of the more unconventional tracks in The Beatles’ discography and remains a distinctive and memorable entry in their catalog.
- John Lennon – lead vocals, backing vocals, spoken vocals, guitar, maracas, sound effects
- Paul McCartney – lead vocals, piano, bass, handclaps, sound effects
- George Harrison – lead guitar, vibraphone
- Ringo Starr – drums, timbales, bongos
- Brian Jones – alto saxophone
- Mal Evans – sound effects (spade in gravel)