Think For Yourself

Album: Rubber Soul (1965)


  • Written by George Harrison, this was one of his first songs included on a Beatles album. He took on more of a songwriting role in his later years with The Beatles and as a solo artist.
  • This song can be a shock the first time you hear it. It takes the typical "silly love songs" trope characteristic of The Beatles at the time and stands it right on its nose, by being an actual breakup song. And a dark and sour one at that! Paul McCartney played his bass through a distortion box to get a fuzz effect that dominates the song, snarling like an angry dog. The lyrics are saturated with negative words: "misery," "lies," "ruins." The downbeat tune sounds like the end of the world is coming, almost over-dramatic.
  • The album Rubber Soul marks the point at which The Beatles starting breaking out of their "Fab Four" image and started growing artistically. Critics went nuts over it. "Think For Yourself" is an excellent example, seeing George Harrison finally come into his own as a songwriter and Paul McCartney experimenting with the fuzz bass. Even Ringo playing the maracas and John Lennon lending that folk-rock edge with the tambourine.

    Producer George Martin was also developing artistically, experimenting with an eye towards making the album sound good on either a stereo or monaural player. So Harrison's vocals on "Think For Yourself" is double-tracked, then split between the right and left channels.
  • Note the slight wobble in the group's harmonics - for instance, in the word 'time' on the lyric "you've got time to rectify all the things that you should." It comes in just a little higher, sounding slightly more strained or sharper. This might be partly a deliberate effect, but the various vocal quirks on Rubber Soul also are an effect of the rushed recording to get the album in the can by Christmas. Still, these small imperfections also give the whole album a warmer, more natural feeling.
  • In 1968, this was included in The Beatles movie Yellow Submarine.

Comments: 18

  • Maari from Bloomfield, MiI feel like this about a co-dependent relationship possibly. Some people like to be in denial, some people like to try to be optimistic and make a difference in the world. It's very judgmental, but in a good way I think's like what people do today, just go with the crowd, or do things that seem high minded and really it's just delusion.
  • Julia from Milton, PaFuzz bass!
  • George from Belleville, NjThis is excellent pop song writing.The lyric has a message and the melody is quite strong.I like the harmonies blending with the melody.Of course,the fuzz bass sound is a highlight of the song.Harrison was fast improving as a songwriter.Another classic tune.
  • Robert from Ridgfield Park, NjGeorge said,in an interview,that he doesn't remember who exactly he was referring to with this song,but that he was sure it was about the government,which makes sense with the lyrics of this song
  • Nikolai from Los Angeles, CaI don't think George is knocking meditation, I think he's claiming that somebody else is knocking (telling lies) about meditation or dreams or something like that.
  • Bob from Schenectady, NyThe only part from this song to appear in The Yellow Submarine is the line "and you've got time to rectify" repeated about three times.
  • Rosario from Naples, Flhaha, good point, Joe from Lethbridge, about using the word opaque. and wouldn't it be funny if George was knocking meditation? he was obbsessed with it a few years after Rubber Soul.
  • Sal from Bardonia , NyA very good song and it would have been greater if Lennon sang this one instead of Harrison. There are two basses of course one acting like a regular bass the other through a fuzzbox acting like a lead guitar and it has great lyrics with that use of that word opaque.
    Sal, Bardonia, NY
  • John from Woburn, MaThis song is a very good fast-spaced song, like many on Rubber Soul. Unfortunately, John's great electric piano part is mixed down so low that you can barely hear it unles ur paying close attention
  • Joe from Lethbridge, CanadaOne of the far-too-few songs to use the word "opaque" in the lyric. Another good O-word is "obtuse", as in "I do not like this triangle, it is obtuse". Kudos to George for working to stretch his songwriting vocabulary with this song. Say, does it sound like he's knocking meditation with the first verse? "You're telling all those lies/ about the good things that we can have if we close our eyes".
  • Robb from Hamburg, NyThere are two bass parts to this song. One is the traditional bass sound, then the other is the bass run through what was actually a guitar fux box.
  • Nessie from Sapporo, Japan"McCartney played his bass through a distortion box to get a fuzz effect that dominates the song." Actually, there's a separate (unfazed) bass part. So the fuzz bass is really an addition.
  • Brett from Watertown, Sd"Think for yourself" a great concept that sums up his career and tells people to search for the answers of life within themselves instead of relying on others
  • Mike from New Point, VaThe entire song does not appear in the Yellow Submarine movie, only a few lines, and a cappella at that.
  • Bruce from Fort Mill, ScWhile you're doing what the song recommends, try to come up with another song that uses the verb "rectify."
  • Alan from City, MiNot Guilty was another recorded but unused George song.
  • Adrian from Wilmington, DeThis was only George's sixth recorded song ("You Know What to Do" was never released and "If I Needed Someone was recorded earlier during the Rubber Soul sessions, not that I'm obsessing over details...) but it is the best of those bunch by far. George's lyrics to this song are definitly on the same level as John and Paul.
  • Tyson from Ruidoso, NmThink For Yourself is a timeless song,that resonates even today.
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