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And Your Bird Can Sing is a song, released on the 1966 album Revolver in the United Kingdom and on Yesterday...and Today in the United States. The songwriting credit is Lennon/McCartney, though the song was written primarily by John Lennon. However, Paul McCartney claims to have helped on the lyric, estimating the song as "80-20" to Lennon. The working title was "You Don't Get Me". Lennon was later dismissive of the song, as he was of many of his compositions at the time, referring to it as "another of my throwaways ... fancy paper around an empty box".
History[edit | edit source]
The song, a hard-edged rocker, is memorable for its extended dual-guitar melody, played by George Harrison and Paul McCartney. A version of the song featuring Harrison on his Rickenbacker 12-string guitar was recorded on 20 April 1966 but was scrapped; the group recorded the album version on 26 April. The rejected version, heard on the Anthology 2 album, features a vocal track on which Lennon and McCartney are giggling hysterically. The Anthology liner notes state that the tapes do not indicate the source of the laughter.
A number of incidents have been suggested as inspirations for the song's cryptic lyrics, which recall in tone those of She Said She Said:
- Jonathan Gould, in a 2007 book, Can't Buy Me Love, claims Lennon wrote the song in response to an official press release promoting a Sinatra TV special as a show for those who were "tired of kid singers wearing mops of hair thick enough to hide a crate of melons." No Lennon biography or Lennon quotation is cited to substantiate Gould's theory.
- According to journalist Richard Simpson, Lennon wrote the song in response to Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones boasting about his pop-star girlfriend ("bird" in British slang) Marianne Faithfull.
- The line "You say you've seen seven wonders" may refer to the night the Beatles smoked pot with Bob Dylan in New York in 1964. The experience caused a stoned McCartney to excitedly pronounce what he had just learned was the key to life: "There are seven levels." 
Credits[edit | edit source]
- John Lennon — Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar (Epiphone 230TD Casino), Handclaps
- Paul McCartney — Harmony Vocals, Lead Guitar (Epiphone 230TD Casino), Bass Guitar (Rickenbacker 4001S), Handclaps
- George Harrison — Harmony Vocals,Lead Guitar (Epiphone 230TD Casino), Handclaps
- Ringo Starr — Drums, Tambourine, Handclaps
Cover versions[edit | edit source]
- The Jam covered this song as a B-side. This version was later released on the Come Together compilation.
- The Georgia-based college band Guadalcanal Diary also covered this song, released as a CD bonus track on their 1987 album 2X4.
- Jack Black used its opening riff for inspiration in a fight against Satan at each show of the Tenacious D 2006-2007 Tour.
- Les Fradkin has a snappy instrumental version on his 2005 CD "While My Guitar Only Plays".
- In 2009, Chicago-based Chiptune / NES-Rock band I Fight Dragons released a cover as an mp3 download to subscribers of their mailing list.
- Helmet released their version of this track on their 2010 album Seeing Eye Dog.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- MacDonald 2003, p. 199.
- David Sheff, All We Are Saying, p. 180
- Everett 1999, p. 46.
- Mark Lewisohn, The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, p. 22, 24
- "78 - 'And Your Bird Can Sing'". 100 Greatest Beatles Songs . Rolling Stone. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/100-greatest-beatles-songs-20110919/and-your-bird-can-sing-19691231. Retrieved on 17 June 2012.
References[edit | edit source]
- Turner, Steve. A Hard Day's Write: The Stories Behind Every Beatles Song, Harper, New York: 1994, ISBN 0-06-095065-X
- Alan W. Pollack's Notes on "And Your Bird Can Sing"
- snopes.com: Dual Guitar Part Played by One Guitarist
- MacDonald, Ian (2003). Revolution In The Head: The Beatles' Records And The Sixties
. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 978-0-09-952679-7.
- Everett, Walter (1999). The Beatles as musicians: Revolver through the Anthology
. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-512941-5.