Video: The Beatles Reflect on the Making of ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’

In 1995, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr gather to talk about their seminal 1966 track

March 10, 2017
Photo: Universal Music

“Revolver” closer “Tomorrow Never Knows” is one of the Beatles’ most celebrated tracks due to its revolutionary use of tape loops, backwards sounds, and general effects. Now, a video is making the rounds of the surviving Beatles discussing their seminal track together in the mid-’90s.

Filmed during the making of the Beatles’ enormous “Anthology” multi-media project, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and the now-deceased George Harrison discuss the roots of the track, from its Indian influences to the idea to have it all on one chord. “There was a number of experimental things that came together on the one song,” Harrison explained.

At the 1:10 mark on the video, the Beatles gather around a mixing board with producer Sir George Martin to dissect the different elements of the aural masterpiece. John Lennon’s lead vocals are isolated, as well as the tape loops, Indian instruments, and Ringo’s drum track. McCartney said the tape loops were provided by him: “I just made a lot of little loops that I liked and brought them all in… Literally little pieces of loop tape in a plastic bag.”

Producer Martin provides especially fascinating insight on the unique process of creating, essentially, a sound effects collage in 1966. “When we made that record, we could never reproduce it again. It would be impossible to reproduce it again, because the way we made it was the actual mix, and all over this building in different rooms, were tapes, tape machines with loops on them and people holding the loops with a pencil, going all the time, being fed to different faders on our control panel, which we could bring up the sound like an organ, at any time,” Martin explained. “So, the mix we did then was a random thing at that time.”

Check out the full video (below).

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