Why a Beatles Song You Never Heard May Be One of Their Most Important

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Amongst the large, deservedly legendary, and oddly expanding pile of officially released Beatles material, there is probably nothing as off the radar as “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number).”

The song that was released as the B-side of “Let It Be” in March of 1970 and has largely been under-appreciated ever since.

Recorded over a two-year period, “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” is a strange cocktail jazz/ska/comedy mantra, and it is unlike anything else in the Beatles’ canon. (Well, aside from their often wonderful Christmas fan club records.)

On the surface, it’s a throwaway tune, and many students of the Beatles have regarded the song in that fashion for half a century.

But the Beatles did not throw away songs, and “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” is absolutely no exception. It is not only a deeply intentional composition, but also a Rosetta Stone, an object that tells us a great deal about the Beatles.

A prime indication that we should take “You Know My Name” seriously is the fact that it is one of the only recordings that the Beatles worked on during one era, set aside, and completed in another era.

Source: Tim Sommer/


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