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Taxman

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"Taxman"
Song by The Beatles
Album Revolver
Released 5 August 1966
Recorded Abbey Road Studios
20–22 April, 16 May, 21 June 1966
Genre Rock, Psychedelic/Acid Rock
Length 2:39
Label Parlophone
Writer George Harrison
Producer George Martin
Revolver track listing
'Taxman' was when I first realized that even though we had started earning money, we were actually giving most of it away in taxes. It was and still is topical.

—George Harrison, 1980

I brought my old Epiphone electric guitar out, which was like a cheap Gibson in the early days. It's the guitar that I played the opening riff of 'Paperback Writer' on, so it's a lovely guitar. It can be quite varied — sort of horny and hard, like the 'Taxman' solo; that was the other thing I used it on. George let me have a go for the solo because I had an idea -- it was the early Jimi Hendrix days and I was trying to persuade George to do something like that, feedback-y and crazy. And I was showing him what I wanted, and he said, 'Well, you do it.'

—Paul McCartney, "RollingStone Interview, 2005

There was a bit of tension on that session [...] because George had a great deal of trouble playing the solo — in fact, he couldn't even do a proper job of it when we slowed the tape down to half speed. [...] So George Martin went into the studio and, as diplomatically as possible, announced that he wanted Paul to have a go at the solo instead. I could see from the look on Harrison's face that he didn't like the idea one bit, but he reluctantly agreed and then proceeded to disappear for a couple of hours. [...] Paul's solo was stunning in its ferocity — his guitar playing had a fire and energy that his younger bandmate's rarely matched — and was accomplished in just a take or two. It was so good, in fact, that George Martin had me fly it in again during the song's fadeout.

—Geoff Emerick, EMI Recording Engineer, Here, There and Everywhere, with Robert Massey, 2006

I was pleased to have Paul play that bit on 'Taxman.' If you notice, he did like a little Indian bit on it for me.

—George Harrison, Guitar Player Magazine interview, 1987

I remember the day he (George) called to ask for help on 'Taxman,' one of his first songs. I threw in a few one-liners to help the song along because that's what he asked for. He came to me because he couldn't go to Paul. Paul wouldn't have helped him at that period. I didn't want to do it. I just sort of bit my tongue and said OK. It had been John and Paul for so long, he'd been left out because he hadn't been a songwriter up until then.

—John Lennon, Playboy Interviews, 1980

George wrote that and I played guitar on it. He wrote it in anger at finding out what the taxman did. He had never known before then what could happen to your money.

—Paul McCartney, Playboy Magazine interview, 1984


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