Yellow Submarine

From Academic Kids

"Yellow Submarine" is a 1966 song by the Beatles and a 1968 animated United Artists film based on the music of The Beatles. It is also the title for the soundtrack album to the film, released as part of the Beatles' music catalogue.


About the song

"Yellow Submarine"
Missing image
USA single cover

Single by The Beatles
From the albums Revolver and
Yellow Submarine
Released 5 August 1966 (UK)
8 August 1966 (US)
Format 7"
Recorded Abbey Road
26 May and 1 June 1966
Genre Rock
Length 2 min 37 s
Label Parlophone R 5493 (UK)
Capitol 5715 (US)
Producer George Martin
Chart Positions
The Beatles single chronology
"Paperback Writer"/"Rain"
"Eleanor Rigby"/"Yellow Submarine"
"Strawberry Fields Forever"/"Penny Lane"

The 45 disc single of "Yellow Submarine" was The Beatles' thirteenth UK single. Written by Lennon-McCartney and featuring lead vocals by Ringo Starr, it was released in Britain on August 5 1966 and in the United States on August 8. It includes uncredited lyric contributions and (probable) backing vocals by Donovan, and was promoted in Britain as a 'double A side' with its flip side, "Eleanor Rigby".

The single went to #1 on every major British chart, remained at #1 for four weeks and charted for 13 weeks. It won an Ivor Novello Award for the highest certified sales of any single issued in the UK in 1966. No promotional film clip was made, so some TV programs (including the BBC's Top Of The Pops) created their own clips from stock footage.

In the United States, the single was #1 on the Billboard, and #1 in Record World and #2 in Cashbox, where it was held off #1 by The Supremes' "You Can't Hurry Love". The single was released at the height of the controversy surrounding John Lennon's comments about the Beatles being "bigger than Jesus" and this has been cited as part of the reason that it failed to reach #1 on all US charts. Despite this, it sold 1,200,000 copies in only four weeks and earned the Beatles their twenty-first US Gold Record award, beating the record set by Elvis Presley.

About the animated movie

Released at the height of the psychedelic pop-culture period of the 1960s, the movie Yellow Submarine was a box-office hit, drawing in crowds both for its lush, wildly creative images, and its soundtrack of Beatles songs. The original story was written by Lee Minoff and the screenplay by Erich Segal.

Five new songs were commissioned for the movie, including "All Together Now" (a soccer-crowd favorite), "It's All Too Much" (a sweeping George Harrison-composed epic that some think highly underrated), "Baby, You're A Rich Man", a song that made its public debut as the All You Need Is Love single B-side; "Only A Northern Song" a low key Harrison track originally recorded during sessions for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (the partial inspiration for this film); and "Hey, Bulldog!", a John Lennon piano romp echoing of "Lady Madonna", which was recorded at the same time, but used as an A-Side (this song was originally included only in the European theatrical release, but restored for the U.S. theatrical reissue in 1999).

The film's incidental music was an orchestral score composed and arranged by George Martin. One of the film's cues, heard after the main title credits, was originally recorded as the introduction to "Don't Pass Me By", Ringo's composition for The Beatles (aka The White Album) (it would later appear as "A Beginning" on Volume 3 of The Beatles Anthology CD).

Yellow Submarine video cover
Yellow Submarine video cover

The animation of Yellow Submarine has sometimes falsely been attributed to the famous psychedelic Pop art artist of the era Peter Max. Early on, Max was intended to be hired to work on the project, but he only produced a few concept drawings before he became too busy with other projects. Max's style, however, heavily influenced the work of many of the artists and animators who worked on the film. Heinz Edelman supervised the film's artwork, while the movie was directed by British animation producer George Dunning.

As with most motion picture musicals, the music takes precedence over the actual plot, and most of the story is a series of set-pieces designed to present Beatles music set to various images, in a form reminiscent of Walt Disney's Fantasia (and foreshadowing the rise of music videos and MTV fifteen years later). Nonetheless, the movie still presents an entertaining modern-day fairy tale that caters to the ideals of the "love generation." The story takes place in the idyllic paradise called "Pepperland," which is threatened by the evil music-hating Blue Meanies. The Beatles are recruited to save Pepperland from the Meanies, and they succeed through the power of love, music, bright colours, and positive thinking (there are huge stone sculptures of the words "YES," "OK" and "LOVE" littering the landscape of Pepperland).

The Beatles themselves were not enthusiastic in participating in a motion picture at the time, because they were experiencing personal stress (the band was beginning to break apart), and because they had just produced and starred in the disastrous TV special Magical Mystery Tour. Voice actors were hired to imitate the Fab Four's voices in the film. However, the Beatles, impressed after seeing the finished film, did agree to make a cameo appearance in the final scene of the film, just before the closing credits. The cameo was originally intended to feature psychedelic colours, but due to time and budget constraints, it was left in the normal form (the black background was meant to be replaced with hand drawn images).

The movie's style contrasts greatly with the efforts of Walt Disney (hence the "blue meanies" wear Mickey Mouse ears) and other animated films previously released by Hollywood up until the time. The film uses a style of limited animation that deliberately defies reality and paints a landscape that could never exist in the real world; something that appealed greatly to the escapists of the 1960s. See also Fantastic Planet. The dialogue is littered with puns, double-entendres, and Beatles in-jokes, many scripted by Roger McGough. Fact: How the Beatles appeared in the film was actually based on their music video "Strawberry Fields Forever", with the exception of Paul without a mustache. The film also includes several references to songs not included in the soundtrack, including "A Day In The Life" where the lyrics are referenced in the "sea of holes" scene.

Template:Album infobox

The soundtrack album

In contrast to the richness of the movie, the Yellow Submarine album is usually considered the Beatles' most lackluster effort, being a soundtrack for the film rather than a studio album in its own right.

By the time the album came out, much of it was not new. "Yellow Submarine" had already appeared on Revolver in August 1966. "All You Need Is Love" had been a hit single in 1967 and had also appeared on Magical Mystery Tour later that year. "Only A Northern Song" was written originally for Sgt. Pepper. Most of it was recorded in February 1967. "It's All Too Much" was recorded just before Sgt. Pepper came out, although it was shortened (from eight minutes) for Yellow Submarine. "Hey Bulldog" (recorded February 1968) and "All Together Now" (May 1967) appear to have been written specially, although Lennon was dismissive about the former, which was recorded during filming of a promotional clip for "Lady Madonna".

The second side features arrangements (recorded specifically for the album) of George Martin's orchestral score.

"Across The Universe" was originally slated for the album, but was scrapped at the last moment and was instead put on hold until Let It Be. (According to some accounts, The Beatles considered releasing Yellow Submarine as a five-track EP, without the film score but including "Across the Universe" as a bonus track.)

The original album would undergo a re-release in 1999, to accompany the re-release of the film in the same year. (see below)

Track listing

Side one

  1. "Yellow Submarine" SAMPLE (210k)
  2. "Only A Northern Song" (Harrison)
  3. "All Together Now"
  4. "Hey Bulldog"
  5. "It's All Too Much" (Harrison)
  6. "All You Need Is Love" SAMPLE (144k)

Side two

  1. "Pepperland" SAMPLE (178)
  2. "Sea Of Time"
  3. "Sea Of Holes"
  4. "Sea Of Monsters"
  5. "March Of The Meanies"
  6. "Pepperland Laid Waste"
  7. "Yellow Submarine In Pepperland"

Template:Album infobox

The 1999 re-release and songtrack

In 1999, UA and Apple digitally restored the film for theatrical and home video re-release. This included cleaning the original film negative and rejuvenating the color.

The film's soundtrack also was upgraded. All the Beatles songs were remixed in Dolby Digital 5.1. Also, the sound effects were digitally taken apart and rechanneled to conform to the onscreen action. However, because the original 1968 George Martin soundtrack score existed only in mono, Apple replaced certain sections of the score with the re-recorded stereo versions where appropriate.

The film was also re-edited to its original European theatrical release version, with the "Hey, Bulldog!" number restored (wheras the U.S. version deleted this song and replaced it with alternate animation).

To accompany the re-release of the film, a newer, re-released version of the album came out in 1999, with only the Beatles tracks that were used in the film (the extra tracks replaced the Martin score tracks from the original album).

Track listing

  1. "Yellow Submarine" SAMPLE (210k)
  2. "Hey Bulldog"
  3. "Eleanor Rigby"
  4. "Love You To" (Harrison)
  5. "All Together Now"
  6. "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"
  7. "Think For Yourself" (Harrison)
  8. "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"
  9. "With a Little Help from My Friends"
  10. "Baby, You're a Rich Man"
  11. "Only A Northern Song" (Harrison)
  12. "All You Need Is Love" SAMPLE (144k)
  13. "When I'm Sixty-Four"
  14. "Nowhere Man"
  15. "It's All Too Much" (Harrison)

The DVD version contains the remastered soundtrack, the original 1968 mono soundtrack, and an isolated track of George Martin's complete score.

External link

  • Album Lyrics (
  John Lennon Missing image
Paul McCartney

The Beatles George Harrison Ringo Starr  

History of the Beatles | Long-term influence | British Invasion | Classic rock era | Paul is Dead rumours | Apple Records | George Martin | Geoff Emerick | Brian Epstein | Beatlesque | Discography | Bootlegs | Beatlemania

de:Yellow Submarine

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