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You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) (Lennon/McCartney)

Paul has named You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) his favorite Beatles track due to its irregularity. The song was recorded over a two year span, being worked on and shelved several times between 1967 and 1969. John came up with the lyric and title after seeing a postal advertisement reading "You have their name? Look up their number." The karaoke segment was developed during the second sessions for the song, and a reference to 'A Hard Day's Night' associate producer Dennis O'Dell was added, prompting numerous calls to his home by crazed fans who chanted mindlessly "We have your name and now we've got your number", as well as drugged fans coming en masse to his doorstep wanting to live with him. The song also features Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones on saxophone solo.

Quotes

"John had arrived one night with this song which was basically a mantra: 'You know my name, look up the number.' And I never knew who he was aiming that at, it might have been an early signal to Yoko. It was John's original idea and that was the complete lyric. He brought it in originally as a 15-minute chant when he was in space-cadet mode and we said, 'Well, what are we going to do with this then?' and he said, 'It's just like a mantra.' So we said, 'Okay, let’s just do it'." - Paul

"That was a piece of unfinished music that I turned into a comedy record with Paul. I was waiting for him in his house, and I saw the phone book was on the piano with 'You know the name, look up the number.' That was like a logo, and I just changed it. It was going to be a Four Tops kind of song – the chord changes are like that – but it never developed and we made a joke of it. Brian Jones is playing saxophone on it." - John

"(Brian Jones) arrived at Abbey Road in his big Afghan coat. He was always nervous, a little insecure, and he was really nervous that night because he's walking in on a Beatles session. He was nervous to the point of shaking, lighting ciggy after ciggy. I used to like Brian a lot. I thought it would be a fun idea to have him, and I naturally thought he'd bring a guitar along to a Beatles session and maybe chung along and do some nice rhythm guitar or a little bit of electric twelve-string or something, but to our surprise he brought his saxophone. He opened up his sax case and started putting a reed in and warming up, playing a little bit. He was a really ropey sax player, so I thought, Ah-hah. We've got just the tune." - Paul

"John and Paul weren't always getting along that well at this time, but for this song they went out on the studio floor and sang together around one microphone. Even at this time I was thinking 'What are they doing with this old four-track tape, recording these funny bits onto this quaint song?' But it was a fun track to do." - engineer Nick Webb

"It's so insane. All the memories...I mean, what would you do if a guy like John Lennon turned up at the studio and said, 'I've got a new song'. I said, 'What's the words?' and he replied 'You know my name look up the number'. I asked, 'What's the rest of it?' 'No, no other words, those are the words. And I want to do it like a mantra!'" - Paul

"We had these endless, crazy fun sessions. And eventually we pulled it all together… and we just did a skit, Mal and his gravel. I can still see Mal digging the gravel. And it was just so hilarious to put that record together. It's not a great melody or anything, it's just unique." - Paul

"People are only just discovering the b-sides of Beatles singles. They're only just discovering things like You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) – probably my favourite Beatles track, just because it's so insane. All the memories…" - Paul, 1988

"There were so many of them my wife started going out of her mind. Neither of us knew why this was suddenly happening. Then I happened to be in one Sunday and picked up the phone myself. It was someone on LSD calling from a candle-making factory in Philadelphia and they just kept saying, 'We know your name and now we've got your number'. It was only through talking to the person that I established what it was all about. Then Ringo, who I'd worked with on the film The Magic Christian, played me the track and I realised why I'd been getting all these mysterious phone calls." - Dennis O'Dell

Recording dates

  • May 17, 1967 (instrumentals)
  • June 7, 1967 (instrumentals)
  • June 8, 1967 (instrumentals, inc. Brian Jones sax solo)
  • June 9, 1967 (mixed into one master take)
  • April 30, 1969 (vocals and sound effects)
  • November 26, 1969 (final mixing)

Release history

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