Today the boys finished working on “Love You To,” which at this point still had the provisional title “Granny Smith” (apparently apples were an ongoing theme with The Beatles). The take from Monday deemed to be the best was reduced to a single track, making room for overdubs of vocals and tambourines.

That gives us three songs so far, which taken together give us a pretty good idea of where The Beatles’ heads were at the time. We have John’s LSD-inspired “Tomorrow Never Knows”; Paul’s marijuana-loving “Got to Get You into My Life”; and “LYT,” George’s homage to Indian music and spirituality, though — let’s be honest here — LSD and marijuana probably had something to do with it too.

This was an especially sunny period for an already upbeat group. Some of us have been lucky enough to have similar periods when we were young, when the drugs were new and still working, when everything seemed to be going our way. Sometimes there is a price to be paid; sometimes people take a dark turn and wander down dangerous paths (see: Barrett, Syd). Sometimes they make Revolver. It takes all kinds to make a world.

This is not to say that there aren’t dark themes on Revolver, but they always occur within a larger framework of joy. Lennon, especially — starting with “Help” — had a special gift for turning the thorniest mental predicaments into something you could tap your toe to.

In the evening the band took a dinner break and returned to work on a new song. At this juncture, let’s pause briefly for an excerpt from engineer Geoff Emerick’s book Here, There and Everywhere:

A few weeks into the Revolver sessions, George Martin received a memo from the EMI brass reminding him that a new Beatles single was soon due. John and Paul were immediately put to work. (Poor George Harrison’s compositions were simply not thought good enough to be considered for singles at this point.) Whoever wrote the stronger song — with George Martin as referee — would win the prize: the prestigious A-side. The losing song would either be relegated to the B-side or be included on an album…. The competition was on.

One afternoon, Paul strolled into the studio, marched straight over to the piano, and confidently proclaimed, “Gather round, lads, and have a listen to our next single.”

John gave Paul a sideways glance of disapproval — he never liked losing — but nevertheless joined Ringo and the two Georges for the private concert. Paul pounded out a catchy melody, instantly hummable, filled with memorable hooks. I couldn’t make out the lyric entirely, but it seemed to involve book writing.

I personally prefer John’s song in the competition, “Rain,” but I can see why Sir George chose “Paperback Writer”; it is undoubtedly the more commercial of the two. This is not to knock “PW,” which is a great and catchy tune. But “Rain” is something else altogether, a transmission from another plane. We’ll get into that tomorrow.

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