Listen to John Lennon singing a never-before-heard acoustic version of The Beatles' Yellow Submarine from 1966

John Lennon, 1966
(Image credit: Keystone/Getty Images)

An expanded deluxe edition of The Beatles' classic 1966 Revolver album is being released next week, October 28, and among the previously-unheard nuggets on the new reissue is a priceless recording of John Lennon performing an acoustic version of Yellow Submarine with alternate lyrics. 

The one minute four second take, titled Yellow Submarine - Songwriting Work Tape / Part 1 is now streaming on Spotify, and you can hear it below.

Commonly regarded - and largely dismissed - by Beatles' fans as a Ringo Starr-voiced novelty tune for children, Yellow Submarine, in this previously-unreleased form, is heard as an emotional acoustic ballad, with Lennon singing, 'In the place where I was born / No one cared, no one cared / And the name that I was born / No one cared, no one cared'

Though the song is credited to Lennon-McCartney, the assumption was that it was largely a Paul McCartney throwaway, that he palmed off to the band's drummer. But the newly-uncovered version suggests that Lennon's involvement in the tune, at least initially, was more than history has previously told us.

“I had no idea until I started going through the outtakes, this was a Lennon-McCartney thing,” Giles Martin, son of the late Beatles producer George Martin, who has produced and remixed the new version of the album, tells Rolling Stone. “I said to Paul, ‘I always thought this was a song that you wrote and gave to Ringo and that John was like, ‘Oh, bloody Yellow Submarine.' Not at all.”

In his new sleevenotes for the album McCartney discusses the song's origins, writing, “One twilight evening, lying in bed before dozing off, I came up with a song that I thought would suit Ringo and at the same time incorporate the heady vibes of the time. Yellow Submarine — a children’s song with a touch of stoner influence, which Ringo still wows audiences with to this day.”

Hear the Lennon voiced alternate take below.

The new edition of Revolver is available in several configurations, including standalone vinyl, picture disc, CD, and expanded CD and CD/vinyl sets. The Special Edition tracks have been remixed by producer Giles Martin and engineer Sam Okell in stereo and Dolby Atmos, aided by de-mixing technology developed by Peter Jackson’s WingNut Films Productions Ltd. 

The physical and digital Super Deluxe collections feature the album’s original mono mix – sourced from the 1966 mono master tape – plus 28 early takes from the sessions and three home demos.

A four-track EP with new stereo mixes and remastered original mono mixes of Paperback Writer and Rain completes the package, while a 2022 mix and video of Taxman has already been released, alongside a trailer for the Special Edition.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.