It’s important to have fun at work, even if your job is being a Beatle. Today, according to Steve Turner’s A Hard Day’s Write,

John arrived at Abbey Road wanting to record a song called “You Know My Name, Look Up the Number.” When Paul asked to see the lyric, John told him that was the lyric. He wanted it repeated in the style of the Four Tops’ “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” until it sounded like a mantra. The line was a variation on a slogan John had noticed on the front cover of the Post Office’s London telephone directory for 1967 which read: “You have their NAME? Look up their NUMBER!”

Thus began this song’s long and winding journey, which would finally result in its being released as the B-side to “Let It Be” in 1970. It’s one of the weirder items in the Beatles catalog, but Paul has been quoted as saying that it’s “probably my favorite Beatles track…just because it’s so insane.” It must have been a bit jarring for people who listened to the lovely A-side and then flipped over the record to hear… well… here’s Turner again:

Although John’s original idea of repeating the title phrase was adhered to, the song was transformed from a mantra into what sounded like  a karaoke night in Hell, organized by the Goons or the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.

The only departure from the scripted words came when John twice asked for a big hand for “Denis O’Bell,” a reference to the Irish-born film producer Denis O’Dell who had been Associate Producer on A Hard Day’s Night and who had become director of Apple Films and Apple Publicity.

None of the Beatles told O’Dell that they had referred to him in the song and so it came as a shock to him when he started receiving anonymous telephone calls at his home.

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