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 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 in the borders
between waking and sleeping he thought of the idea for the song "Yellow
Submarine". The song has many variations, including "We all live in a tub
of margarine/bubblegum machine/can of sardines" etc. Paul McCartney has said of "Yellow Submarine"
"..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 Number One 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's
favourite film, it had the plot of the paradise of Pepperland invaded by
evil monsters the Blue Meanies, and Fred is dispatched in a Yellow
Submarine to bring back some heroes - the Beatles - to save them, and 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, this song is a different version to that in
the film. This was because the original song lasted over 6 minutes, and
considered far too long. In the film, versus 1, 2 and 4 are sung, whilst
on the album are versus 1, 2 and 3. 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
Puplished 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 "Sg. 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 4 songs are the same four that appeared on the original "Yellow
Submarine" album. So how is this 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.