Do what you want to do :: Breakfast With The Beatles Sunday


Recording Think For Yourself


Think For Yourself is the one song off of Rubber Soul that I forget about. It is one that often fades into the background, and is not one that sticks to me emotionally, or in that “I want to sing-a-long” kind of way, though I am not particularly sure why. It does have a killer bass line, though, I have to admit.

The song was written and sung by George Harrison, and it is the first of Harrison’s songs not to be a love song. It is a warning against listening to lies song layered with bitterness and that final “I’m gone” sentiment.


In Harrison’s book, I, Me, Mine, he wrote “But all this time later, I don’t quite recall who inspired that tune. Probably the government.”

Think For Yourself

In a departure from all precedent at the time, the song has two bass lines (ah, there it is – that killer bass line is two bass lines), a normal one and one created by Paul McCartney’s then-unique application of a fuzzbox to his bass.

Rubber Soul really marks the point at which The Beatles starting breaking out of their “Fab Four” image and started growing artistically. Think For Yourself, for example, had George Harrison finally coming into his own as a songwriter and Paul McCartney experimenting with the “fuzzbox” bass. Even Ringo playing the maracas and John Lennon lending that folk-rock edge with the tambourine was a departure from their recent past.


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. For me, I always love the little flaws one hears in recordings – I love that raw quality they invoke, so much more passionate to me than the over-production that often happens in recent music.


In 1968,Think For Yourself was featured in The Beatles movie Yellow Submarine.

Think For Yourself :: Yonder Mountain String Band

My choice for favorite cover version of Think For Yourself is a rather straight forward “tribute” to the original. In some ways, Yonder Mountain String Band sound more “Fab Four” Beatles than this start of a Beatles departure original does. This cover was featured on the keen Beatles cover album, This Bird Has Flown: A 40th Anniversary Tribute to The Beatles’ Rubber Soul.

One thought on “Do what you want to do :: Breakfast With The Beatles Sunday

  1. This one and I’m “Looking Through You” were some of the best kiss off songs ever done by The Beatles. Add “You Won’t See Me” and you gotta believe that it was a tough year for romance during the production of Rubber Soul.

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