Written by: George Harrison
Released: August 5, 1966
Appears on: Revolver
Lead vocal: George
"One, two, three...four...one...two..."
When I first started this blog, I must admit, I could not wait to get to, what I believe to be, the greatest album ever made. And so here we are finally...at the start of Revolver.
"Taxman" is the first and only time that a George Harrison song was selected to open a Beatles LP and while it is distinctly George (only George could write lines like Now my advice to those who die/declare the pennies on your eyes), Paul totally dominates the song. Not only does it immediately introduce his pulsing, boosted bass, but it features probably the greatest lead guitar work he ever recorded. I honestly think you could make a case for it to be one of the best recorded by anyone.
The story of how Paul got to play the solo is detailed in Geoff Emerick's book, Here, There And Everywhere: My Life Recording The Music Of The Beatles. Emerick writes that George had difficulty playing the solo and that Paul, who apparently was the better guitar player, was the only one who could figure out how to play it well. (Throughout the book, he gives more digs to George's guitar playing...um, didn't you record "Something"? Still, anyone interested in the technical aspect of the Beatles' music, the book is an absolute necessity.)
Nevertheless, the song is perfect and a great way to open the record. It defines how the rest of the album sounds, saying that the Beatles are not only going to break walls - but obliterate them. In fact, the phrase on the back of Let It Be would be more appropriate here - This is a new phase Beatles album.
"Taxman" was on Rock 'n' Roll Music, but that's really it.