di Fergal Kavanagh
Speaker: Justin Ratcliffe (Standard British accent)
Ringo Starr’s best known vocal performance is undoubtedly “Yellow Submarine.” Paul McCartney was the main songwriter (although most Beatles’ songs were credited to Lennon-McCartney) and explained in a 1984 interview: “I wrote that in bed one night as a kid’s story. And then we thought it would be good for Ringo to do.”
The first lines of the song are about a sailor (a man who sailed to sea) from Liverpool, talking about his life in the deep seas (in the land of submarines). The band decide to sail away to the sea of green, living underwater (beneath the waves) in a yellow submarine.
There is a party atmosphere (our friends are all aboard), with even their good friends being neighbours. At the time Paul McCartney lived next door to folk singer Donovan, whose hits included “Colours.” It is therefore appropriate that Donovan contributed the line “sky of blue, sea of green” to “Yellow Submarine.”
The final verse tells us that life is not difficult (we live a life of ease), and everyone is happy (has all we need) – you can hear how much fun the Beatles had recording this song, and in fact the session concluded with everyone dancing around the Abbey Road studios, conga-style, singing “we all live in a Yellow Submarine.”
The song became the inspiration for and title of the 1967 film, a cartoon with actors’ voices portraying the Beatles travelling to Pepperland to stop the Blue Meanies from destroying music.
Various theories suggest the lyrics of the song are about drugs, death or just a reflection of the Beatles’ lifestyle at the time, but in a 1966 interview Paul McCartney discounted this: “It’s a happy place, that’s all. We were trying to write a children’s song. That was the basic idea. And there’s nothing more to be read into it than there is in the lyrics of any children’s song.”
This recording features a brief excerpt from The Beatles’ 1966 song, “Yellow Submarine” (Lennon-McCartney). To see the lyrics, visit http://new.music.yahoo.com/beatles/tracks/yellow-submarine--457047