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The song 'Yellow Submarine' was written by Paul McCartney for the Beatles' seventh album Revolver and was written for Ringo Starr to sing. The tradition was that Ringo would sing at least one song on every album, and Paul and John Lennon often wrote songs specifically for him. As well as being on Revolver, it can also be found on The Beatles 1962 - 1966 (The Red Album) and both Yellow Submarine albums. Paul McCartney has said of the song that he was drifting off to sleep, and whilst he was on the border between waking and sleeping he thought of the idea for 'Yellow Submarine'. The song has many variations, including 'We all live in a tub of margarine/bubblegum machine/can of sardines' etc and McCartney has also said that 'it really was a children's song. I just loved the idea of kids singing it'.
'Yellow Submarine' as a single was very succesful, and managed to get to the number one chart spot in 13 different countries.
1968's film Yellow Submarine was directed by George Duning, and written by Lee Minoff, Al Brodax, Jack Mandelsohn and Erich Segal. In many ways it is considered a classic British cartoon, and its psychadelic style has never been approached or equaled since. Reported to be the Queen Elizabeth's favourite film, it had the plot of the paradise of Pepperland invaded by evil monsters called the Blue Meanies, and Fred is dispatched in a Yellow Submarine to bring back some heroes - the Beatles - to save them. On the way back from Liverpool, they meet monsters, time, holes and science, plus Jeremy the Nowhere Man, with a host of wonderful songs and great background music by George Martin - the Beatles' producer. The Beatles themselves only make a brief appearance at the end, but were involved to a very minor degree in the making of the film - apparently the scene with the Yellow Submarine chasing Ringo down the road was John's idea. Curiously enough, both Paul and John said that other voices were fine, yet the actors who voiced them sounded nothing like them.
The Original Album
With a picture of the four Beatles on a hill, surrounded by Jeremy and Fred on the left, and the Lord Mayor, Flying Glove, Blue Meanies, Bonkers, Snapping Turks and a cat on the right, the original album was released in 1969. It had originally been intended just to release an EP of the four new songs from Yellow Submarine, but instead EMI released the four new songs ('Only a Northern Song', 'All Together Now', 'Hey Bulldog' and 'It's all too Much') plus 'Yellow Submarine' and 'All you Need is Love' on side A, with George Martin's background music - 'Pepperland', 'Sea of Time', 'Sea of Holes', 'Sea of Monsters', 'March of the Meanies', 'Pepperland Laid Waste' and 'Yellow Submarine in Pepperland' - on side B.
One thing to note though is George Harrison's song 'It's all too Much', despite being on a soundtrack of the film, the album version is a different one to that in the film. This was because the original song lasted over six minutes and was considered to be far too long. In the film, verses one, two and four are sung, whilst on the album only verses one, two and three appear. Another missed opportunity is the lack of George Martin's instrumental introduction to Liverpool which later appeared on The Beatles Anthology 3, called 'A Beginning'.
The Songtrack Album
Published in 1999 on the 30th Anniversary of the film's release, this album features half of the Yellow Submarine on a blue background. It has 15 songs that are actually in the film, although some, like 'With a Little Help from My Friends', 'Love You To' and 'Think for Yourself' only have very small fragments played - yet 'A Day in the Life', which also is hinted at in the film, is not on the album.
All of the songs on the album can be found elsewhere; 'Yellow Submarine', 'Eleanor Rigby' and 'Love You To' are from Revolver.
'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band', 'With a Little Help from My Friends', 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds', 'When I'm Sixty-Four' are from Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
'All You Need is Love' and 'Baby You're a Rich Man' are from Magical Mystery Tour, and 'Nowhere Man' and 'Think for Yourself' are on the album Rubber Soul. The remaining four songs are the same four that appeared on the original Yellow Submarine album.
So how is this album different? Well, it collects all the songs from the film into a songtrack, as it states, yet does little else. The songs are the same as elsewhere, and, even more disappointingly, it is the same incomplete version of 'It's all too Much' from the original album that appears as the last track. Yet despite these shortcomings, it remains a great album to listen to and relax with.