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Beatles Rarity Of The Week – “I’m Only Sleeping” (U.S. mono mix)

Posted by on October 3, 2008 at 7:32 am.

Welcome to this week’s Beatles Rarity Of The Week (now also available as a podcast). This track was requested by a subscriber a few weeks ago. Back in 1966, while The Beatles were working on their Revolver LP, Capitol Records in the U.S. were putting together a compilation album of singles tracks that had yet to appear on a U.S LP plus some leftover songs that were on the British Rubber Soul album but left off of the U.S. Rubber Soul album. It came up three songs short of being a typical length, so they pressed EMI for 3 new songs to round it out. What they received were three John Lennon tracks: “Dr. Robert” (featured in an earlier BROW), “And Your Bird Can Sing” and the one featured here – “I’m Only Sleeping.” With that the U.S. album was completed and named Yesterday… And Today. These three songs were early versions that The Beatles modified with edits and overdubs after they were released in the U.S. That is why the U.K. Revolver mixes of these songs differ from the U.S. mixes. There are also mix differences between the mono and stereo mixes within each country and in the case of “I’m Only Sleeping” there are five different versions: U.K. mono, U.K. stereo, U.S. mono, U.S. fake stereo (on original stereo Yesterday…And Today albums) and U.S. stereo (later editions of Yesterday…And Today albums). Since the U.K. Revolver album was what was later issued to CD, the U.K. stereo version of “I’m Only Sleeping” is the most common. The version I’m featuring here is the U.S. mono version. The backwards guitar heard in verse two with the common version on “everywhere at such a speed” and “find there’s no need” is missing on this version and the guitar ends at the end of the solo whereas here it continues into the words “please don’t”. The common version also has the guitar starting immediately after the last word “sleeping” at the end and it comes in four beats later on this version. So if you’re fairly used to the common version of this song, I hope you enjoy this variation. On the other hand, if you haven’t heard any version of this song in awhile, I hope you enjoy it anyway because it’s a great tune.

The Beatles - I'm Only Sleeping
Yesterday...And Today album cover, 1966

Yesterday...And Today album cover, 1966

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8 Comments

  • Chris Z says:

    Reposting this here, in case anyone is interested (with Happy Nat’s blessing): http://www.messengerwebdesign.com/blog/beatles-im-only-sleeping-infographic

  • Tom W says:

    I’ve always liked the Mono Y&T version of I’m Only Sleeping-BETTER than the British release.At the end of the 1st “bridge”, the backw. guitar on “Taking my Time” carries it over MUCH better to the next verse. Without that, it stumbles-to ME, and falls flat-sounds awkward. THAT “American” version should have been mixed for mono.

  • Happy Nat says:

    Thanks Tom. I go back and forth on this. I like the Y&T version too. It seems the farther they went with this one, the more backwards guitar got added.

  • jerry cass says:

    Summer 1966. I was eighteen. I can never listen to this to satisfaction. To this day, whenever I listen to this song, I repeat it over and over, and each time is just as the first. The same thoughts flood my mind that flooded it in June of 1966. So strange. Never another like it.

  • Happy Nat says:

    Now that Yesterday…And Today has been released separately and as part of The U.S. Albums box set, this is no longer a rarity.

  • Tom says:

    This (American mono) version is the one I grew up with, so I’m, naturally, a bit biased toward it. The differences you have pointed out are exactly why I prefer it. on the first ” bridge” section, at the point of “taking my time”, THAT bkwds guitar part seals up the gap that the stereo vers. creates-makes a MUCH better transition into “lying there”…

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