John Lennon
John Lennon | Image: Douglas Elbinger/Getty

Listen to John Lennon Sing on Early Beatles ‘Yellow Submarine’ Demo

Later this week, a new deluxe reissue of the Beatles‘ 1966 album Revolver will arrive. One of the previously unreleased cuts to feature is an early demo of ‘Yellow Submarine’ with John Lennon, and not Ringo Starr, on lead vocals.

‘Yellow Submarine (Songwriting Work Tape / Part 1)’ clocks in at just over a minute and features sparse instrumentation. It’s considerably less buoyant than the final studio version – written as a children’s song – with a melancholic, lonely feeling to it. “In the place where I was born / No one cared, no one cared,” Lennon sings, replacing the studio version’s opening lyric (“In the town where I was born / Lived a man who sailed to sea.“)

The Beatles – ‘Yellow Submarine (Songwriting Work Tape / Part 1)’

“The boys used to write a song for me and they’d present whatever they thought would be good for me,” Starr told USA Today regarding the song’s origins. “They had this song and they decided to liven it up. It was a Ringo song, like ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’ was a Ringo song.”

Giles Martin, the producer of the forthcoming reissue, said he had “no idea” the Lennon demo existed. “It was a complete discovery and I was surprised.” He added, “It wouldn’t have been as commercial in that original form, and you can hear them working together and pushing each other in different directions. Which, of course, was their downfall in the end. But at this stage, they were delighted by the way they were creatively pushing each other.”

The Beatles
The Beatles in 1966 | Image: Central Press/Getty

The deluxe Revolver reissue is set to arrive this Friday, 28th October. Included will be a wide array of newly-unearthed songs from the album’s original master tapes, early demos and more.

Further Reading

Love Letter To A Record: McDermott & North On the Beatles’ ‘Revolver’

A Rare John Lennon Recording Has Sold For £43,000 At Auction

Watch Previously Unseen Demo Footage Of John Lennon & Yoko Ono’s ‘Give Peace A Chance

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