Welcome to this week’s BROW (now available as a podcast). “You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)” is a comical 5-part experiment John Lennon and Paul McCartney put together that resembles the craziness heard on their Christmas flexi-disc messages to their fan club. It had actually been recorded over a few years, mainly in May and June of 1967 and April of 1969, but not revealed to the public until it appeared as the b-side of The Beatles “Let It Be” single in March of 1970. As The Beatles were finished recording together by this time, it was almost released as a single by John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band, but that idea was aborted after John instead came up with a replacement called “Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)”. It never appeared on an album/CD until the Past Masters CD collection surfaced in 1988.
When initially released, there was a few edits applied to shorten it. The first and fourth sections were shortened and the second part containing the ‘ska beat’ was completely omitted. The third section (which I call “Slaggers” after John’s line welcome to Slaggers!) was left complete, and the fifth section, which happens to include Brian Jones from the Rolling Stones on sax, also remained intact.
The Beatles Anthology 2 CD set gives us another mix of the song, revealing what was left off of the first 2 parts, however a full half-minute of the fourth part, that appeared on the original single, was edited out and the ending was also cut short.
What you are listening to here is a forgery. I have combined these two mixes for the sake of getting a complete account of this song. Since the original mix is only available in mono and the Anthology mix is only available as a stereo remix, it was first necessary to create a mono mix by averaging the channels in the Anthology stereo mix and then editing in the omitted pieces from the original mix. Through this reconstruction, we hear how it sounded before it was edited a full two minutes shorter for the “Let It Be” single. A trained ear may be able to spot where I made my edits but I think I got it fairly close. Sometimes for history to have an accurate completeness, it needs to be pieced back together. Ask any archaeologist. Enjoy…The Beatles - You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)
An aside: The sleeve pictured above accurately displays the song title as You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) however, on the actual record label it is printed as You Know My Name (Look Up My Number)
Want to make a suggestion for a future Beatles Rarity of the Week? Then let me hear from you. Read about more Beatles rarities and suggest one for me to post. You can begin by searching for different versions of specific tracks right here.