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The Beatles - Only A Northern Song



"Only a Northern Song" is a song written by George Harrison and performed by English rock band The Beatles. It was first featured in the Beatles' 1968 animated movie, Yellow Submarine, and subsequently appeared in that movie's soundtrack early the next year.

The song's basic track was recorded on 13 February 1967, with overdubs added on 14 February and 20 April. The song was originally to appear on the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. According to Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick, the song was left off the album because the other band members felt it didn't fit in with the rest of the songs. Featuring a self-referential lyric, unconventional musical form, and unusual instrumentation, including distorted trumpets, a reverbed organ, chimes, and a glockenspiel, it is one of the most psychedelic songs the Beatles ever recorded.

Throughout the song, Paul McCartney plays trumpet as the other members play percussion instruments such as a glockenspiel, orchestral chimes, timpani and piano. A mellotron can be heard during parts of the song as well. An edited and slightly sped-up version of the song's basic track without the overdubs added 20 April (organ, bass, drums and vocal only) was released on volume two of the Anthology set in 1996, with a different vocal take containing some lyrical variations. Since the song was made from two separate takes playing in synchronization, the original mix of the song was available in mono only until 1999, when a remixed version of the track was released on the Yellow Submarine Songtrack.

The lyrics feature Harrison's disparagement of the song itself, concluding each verse with the title phrase "It's only a Northern song", which Harrison has explained as referring both to the band's often-disrespected hometown of Liverpool (in northwest England), and to the Northern Songs publishing company. (Harrison had not yet formed his own publishing company; Northern Songs was Lennon/McCartney's publishing company, for whom Harrison was, at the time, essentially a writer-for-hire). The song is sometimes interpreted as a sarcastic jibe at Lennon/McCartney, mocking the overtly psychedelic lyrics and musical style they employed in many songs during this time, and as a reaction to the often-dismissive attitude bandmates John Lennon and McCartney held of Harrison's songwriting contributions, with Harrison listlessly singing "It doesn't really matter what chords I play/What words I say or time of day it is/As it's only a Northern song".

Recorded Abbey Road Studios
13, 14 February, 20 April 1967

If you're listening to this song
You may think the chords are going wrong
But they're not;
I just wrote it like that.
When you're listening late at night
You may think the band are not quite right
But they are, They just play it like that
And it doesn't really matter what chords I play
What words I say or time of day it is
As it's only a Northern song.
It doesn't really matter what clothes I wear
Or how I fare or if my hair is brown
When it's only a Northern song.
If you think the harmony
Is a little off and out of key
You're correct, Is nobody there
and I told you is no one there
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