Yer Blues

Album: The White Album (1968)

Songfacts®:

  • John Lennon wrote this in India while The Beatles were on a retreat learning meditation with the Maharishi.
  • John used "yer" instead of "your" in the title so as not to be taken too seriously. The song is a good-natured jab at the British blues scene.
  • A 9 minute version with Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Mitch Mitchell was performed on the Rolling Stones' Rock 'n' Roll Circus. Taped as a British TV special in 1968, it never aired but was released on video in 1995. This was Lennon's first performance without The Beatles.
  • This was the only Beatles song Lennon performed at the Toronto Rock 'n' Roll Revival concert in 1969. Eric Clapton joined him for this on guitar. After playing with him at the Toronto show, Lennon asked Clapton to join his Plastic Ono Band. Clapton considered it, but had other obligations.
  • The line "Feel so suicidal, just like Dylan's Mr. Jones" is a reference to Bob Dylan's song "Ballad of a Thin Man."
  • In a Rolling Stone interview, Ringo said this song was one of his all-time favorite sessions: "We were just in an 8 foot room, with no separation, just doing what we do best: playing." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    VinnyVegas - Durham, NC
  • Ringo's count-in was edited from another take.
  • The Beatles recorded this in Abbey Road Studio Two's "annex," a side room which McCartney referred to as "a cupboard." They jammed together from 7pm to 5am and after 14 takes produced this parody of British blues.
  • McCartney told Lennon not to title this song "Year Blues," but "just say it straight." However he kept the title as he was self conscious about singing blues. In the January 1971 edition of Rolling Stone, Lennon explained this was because, "We were all listening to Sleepy John Estes and all that in art school, like everybody else. But to sing it was something else. I'm self conscious about doing it."

Comments: 50

  • Gilmore from Los Angeles, Ca@Smoth The beginning of take 17 was then spliced onto the end of take 16. This brutal cut can clearly be heard at the 3'16" mark on the released version, with Lennon's guide vocals captured despite being sung off-mic. Source: beatlesbible.com
    I always wondered what happened there. Sounds great!
  • Jim from West Palm Beach, FlLennon's Yoko/heroin days. Next came Cold Turkey.
  • Olivia from Philadelphia, PaThis song is amazing but kinda creepy :)
  • Jorge from Oakland, CaProbably one and only attempt at playing blues. I think this song could have very well been played as a trio: George has no input. But if he had played the solo, it would have taken this song to a different plane -- a blues reference for beginers and pros.
  • Bob from Colorado Springs, CoAt 3 minutes into the song the lead guitar
    sound changes into what sounds like Yoko 'singing'. An effect pedal or is it Yoko?
    I didn't notice it until recently after all these years.
  • Smoth from Cowhell, AbDoes anyone know the story behind the 'ghost' vocals of John at the end of the song? Was it intentional, or a mistake that just sounded cool? A little bleed through from the headphones? Remnants of a previous vocal take not properly erased? or was it just mixed in really faint and quiet to make people like me wonder why for their whole lives?
  • Davíd from Woburn, MaLove the studio version, but the live cut from the Circus is amazing. And the jam session "Whole Lotta Yoko" is pretty fun too... except for Yoko screaming into the microphone and calling it "singing." On a side note, I found it funny that someone named Mike from Jackson, New Jersey commented on this because I read it as Mike Jackson, NJ the first time.
  • Rj from Philapool, PaHead-banging becomes involuntary when you listen to this song.
  • Emily from St Louis, MoI have a bad feeling this is about the break up of John and Paul. With John telling this > "GIRL you'll know the reason why" to Yoko if he is found dead. Some very sad pain John was going through.
    Dirty Macca. John was getting into heroin at that time and only people who want to kill some bad pain do it like he did. Just my opinion folks, so don't freak out.
  • David from Los Angeles , CaThis has to be one of the heaviest Beatle song ever love the lyrics Johnny!
  • K from Nowhere, OnIn the "instrumental" part near the end, you can actually hear John singing along in the background. You might be able to hear it better on the remastered version, but it's pretty easy to follow along on the original CD.
  • James from Bronx, NyThe Dirty Mac version is worth the price of The Rock And Roll Circus alone. How awesome is it when your guitarist is so good Keef has to be on bass. Lennon is in Mom jeans, Claptons wearing the afgan from Rosannes couch and they still look cool as hell.
  • Nick from Seattle, Albaniai love how they make keith richards play bass because he cant hold a candel to john lennon and eric clapton's guitar playing. sry Keith
  • Micky from Los Angeles, CaOnly The Beatles could write a blues song as cool as this.
  • Stephen from Anderson, ScThis is what Dylan would be like in all out electric, in my opinion.
  • Frank from Granchester Meadows, Greenlandwil from Ireland----that was Helter Skelter that was whittled down, not Yer Blues.
  • Reed from New Ulm, MnJordon from Wilmette,IL -----Mine too bro.
    I love this song!
  • Daevid from Glendale, CaThe best part of the song for me anyway, is after the third verse when the tempo changes to "swing" blues, going into the chorus----the hammond organ comes in and almost makes it sound happy.
  • Daevid from Glendale, CaIf i ain't dead already....bloody good song
  • Chloe from St. Louis, Moawesome song! very....whats the word...clapton-y, perhaps? and great vocals- john really gets into it.
  • Chloe from St. Louis, Moyou never know, peter, they might- depends on how you define 'emo'. everybody calls me emo, but i deny it every time.....JUST because i dye my hair black and stay really pale on purpose and can be really dark sometimes...psh....
  • Stephen from Anderson, ScThe guitar towards the end is so amazingly awesome!
  • Olivia from Chicago, Ili think its funny who many almost modern rock and roll songs are on the white album. at least, what i think of when i hear rock and roll
  • Forrest from Rochester, MnJohn Lennon puts more into this song than he had put into any song since "Twist and Shout"
  • Peter Griffin from Quahog, RiI'm surprised emo people don't like this song-it has the right lyrics.
  • Paul from Cincinnati, OhThe answer, Johnny from California, is that it doesnt. This song is definitely superior to "Why Don't We Do It In The Road?" Amazingly, youll even notice that feedback is included in this recording. That's definitely unusual for a pop recording. The funny thing about the White Album is it's frequently referred to as the Beatles' most acoustic album. However, when people say that, they neglect to mention that it's also their hardest-rocking album up to that point as well. In other words, as you probably know, it's very wide-ranging. Yer Blues is one of the best songs on a great album.
  • Ben from Cincinnati, Ohi heard the dirty mac version before the beatles. it blew me away. very good performance.
  • Steve from Troy, NyThe best part of Rock N' Roll Circus is trying not to laugh while Eric Clapton fights the cottonmouth he has from obviously smoking before it. Also, watch his eyes...when you can see them.
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaHow does this compare to Paul's Why Don't We Do It In The Road"?
  • Robb from Hamburg, NyThis song really showcases John's power. This was one of the last times the Beatles just went into the same recording studio and just played. Almost all of this song, if not all of it, was recorded completely live.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScThis song had to grow on me at first too. I love the beat though, and the guitars, and the vocals.
  • Mandy from Calgary, CanadaI love the hard, rugged blue's sound. Its SO raw. LOL. It is though! John performs with such a stronge voice- he really sings it out. The guitar is awesome in this song- and I think Ringo really did an awesome job on the drums in this song (you can always find me with my "drumsticks"- being my my hands and the nearest object that makes a sound- when I listen to this song, lol). It was a sad song to me at first- but I love it now.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScIn this song, john's vocals are what stand out to me.
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScThe vocals and guitar on this are amazing! The song kind put me in a sad mood when I first heard, but I have since come to qppreciate for the great song it is.
  • Nathan from Defiance, OhUnderated, not suprising looking at the songs on that album.
  • Jerry from Hazleton, PaThe "9 minute version" on the Rock & Roll Circus is somewhat misleading. The song itself definately isn't 9 minutes. I think they might include the "Whole Lotta Yoko" jam in there.
    For those who don't know, the latter is a simple 12-bar blues played by the Dirty Mac who are joined by violinist Ivry Gitlis (who kinda looks like Sting) and Yoko Ono. Pretty much all Yoko does is scream into the microphone with an incredibly grating, caterwauling inflection.
    Fans of her atonal "singing" will no doubt enjoy it, and for those with (ahem) "artistic sensibility" might find the irony in the noise she contributes juxtaposed against some of the greatest musicians of the age.
    Happier note: John's voice sounds awesome in this recording. There's also a "take 2" in the special features which features some slightly different phrasings, different soloes, and four simultaneous camera angles. Keith Richards is a damn fine bass player, too.
  • Jordan from Wilmette, IlMy favorite White Album song.
  • Steve from Los Angeles, CaThe 'Dirty Mac' in the Rock and Roll Circus was a play on words on Fleetwood Mac. At that time, they were very hot UK Blues band with Peter Green.
  • Evan Blom from Coos Bay, OrChuckster, Paul played bass on it i assume, see how that he was the bass player :p
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScWooooowwwwwww!1!1 It was 28 minutes long? that would have been cool to listen to! it's a great blues song though!
  • Cameron from Southington, CtI like to listen to this song as a beatles lover because i like it and it gives a beat
  • Kent Lyle from Palo Alto, CaLennon's band name during the Rock and Roll Circus was "Dirty Mac". One wonders if this was some twisted pun on McCartney. Whatever the case, it didn't stick and Lennon decided that "Plastic Ono Band" sounded much better. Clapton remained, Richards was replaced by Klaus Voormann, and Mitchell was replaced by future Yesman Alan White.
  • Chuckster from San Francisco, Cawow, the bass playing on this song is atrocious! i know it's a "loose" song, but i cringe everytime i hear those missed-note downbeats. anyone know who plays bass on this bad boy?
  • Ellen from Nashville, Tnthis song makes me appreciate that im not lonely and i have people to go to in hard times
  • Bob from Mt. Laurel, NjI saw the Rock n' Roll circus version of this, Clapton's solo was awesome.
  • Mike from London, EnglandBob Dylan is mentioned on this song, as John sings: "He's so suicidal, just like Dylan's Mr Jones!" from the song "Ballad of a Thin Man." Great piss-take blues song, and title suggests something of "Well, this is yer standard 12 bar blues then," so Lennon here is sarcastically giving his teeny bopper fans what they want - more of their old rock and roll and blues.
  • Mike from Jackson, NjOne of their greatest songs ever. Ringo's drumming is amazing on this song!
  • Paulo from New York, NyThat Rock n' Roll Circus was a great program. Should be aired more often.
  • Adrian from Wilmington, DeA great blues song and great showcasing of John's screaming voice.
  • Wil from Dublin, IrelandThe version on the white album was whittled down from a 28 minute version.
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