You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)
Composer(s) : Lennon and McCartney
Year : 1969
Chords/Tabs: You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)
Notes on "You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)" (YKMN(LUTN))
KEY D Major
FORM [#1: Hard Rock] Intro -> Verse -> Refrain ->
------ 3X ------
[#2: Slaggers] Intro -> Verse -> Refrain -> Refrain -> Outro ->
[#3: Goon Show] Intro -> Verse -> Refrain' ->
------ 2X ------
[#4: Jazz Club] Intro -> Verse -> Refrain -> Refrain' (w/complete ending)
GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST
Style and Form
- This is certainly one of the strangest curiosities of the entire
Len-Mac songbook with an equally curious recording history. In spite of its
undeniable cult-status popularity, it's awfully tempting to treat it
like a cheap throwaway along the lines of, say, some of the ditties
that appeared on the Xmas flexidiscs. But as we've seen in our
past studies of tracks such as "Wild Honey Pie" and
one, too, repays careful study.
- The rather flat and lengthy form can be described strikes you as
a series of character variations on a theme on casual listening.
Given greater familiarity and a closer look perhaps you'll more aptly
describe it as a fragmentary song submitted to us in the form of
a medley of four alternate takes, each of which "could have" been
developed into a complete track on its own; not that you literally
would do that, but the potential for it is a subtle element in your
experience of the track.
- The essence of this track, its source of nutritional calories, is found
much more in the individual and complementary character of the four
settings than in their underlying common musical contents. As an important
compositional lesson though, do not underestimate the extent to which
that foundation is designed to be more than just minimally serviceable.
A chef's metaphor: you may not want your cake to compete with the icing
for attention, but neither do you want it to clash with that icing or
simply, on its own, taste so bad that it undermines the overall eating
- At the same time, the amount of finagling here with the truly musical (as
contrasted with the atmospheric) content from take to take is particularly
impressive for what we're to react to as mostly as a practical/musical
joke. Heck, I can argue it the other way around: the experiment you
find here with stringing multiple versions of a song together, and
articulating the larger form with backbeat and surface character is
SO sophisitcated that if it weren't for the basic comic premise, you'd
be forced to criticize it as pretentious.
- Two slightly earlier tracks of other artists that are worth a comparison
with our current song in terms of their evocation of live club music on
the sleazy cheap:
- Rolling Stones' "Something Happened To Me Yesterday" (the final track
on _Between the Buttons_, 1967). The track is in the antique British
Music Hall style with a very queasy, out of tune dance band backing
that includes trumpet, trombone, and clarinet. Jagger's emcee comments
include the fragments like, "take your partners, ... the boys in the
band, evenin' all ...).
- Mothers of Invention's "America Drinks & Goes Home" (the final track
on _Absolutely Free_, 1967). Features a comically crooning lead vocal,
an emcee mouthing a seemingly endless stream of platitudes ("hope you've
had as much fun as we have ..."), and the sound of clinking glasses,
a yakking people, and ringing cash registers into the runout groove
after the music stops.
- IMHO the Beatles play it much straighter and more dry proving yet again how
less can be more.
Melody and Harmony
- The tune is constrained within an absurdly small range, an effect which
resonates with the one-track mind of the lyrics. The tune for
the first iteration, for example, uses only 3 notes running between
1 and 3 (D-E-F#), if you ignore the harmonization a 3rd higher by the
- The harmony is relatively straightforward and makes use of a small
number of chords. There is that funky augmented triad and a generally
jazzy approach to free dissonance, but that's all in the foreground.
- Let's trace this in the course of our walkthrough below for a change.
[#1: Hard Rock]
Arrangement and Character
- The opening take more or less passes as a normative Beatles pop/rock song
if you can hold in abeyance the repetitious lyrics and their overstated
mock macho delivery.
- The basic backing track, heavy on piano, bass, and drums, helps keep
things balanced for the moment toward the "normal" side of the scale.
- Two measures converge towards the home key on top of a pedal point in the
bass, followed by a four-measure AA phrase that anticipates the refrain
|G6/4 |A |
D: IV V
|D f# |G A |D f# |G A |
I iii IV V I iii V A
- The backbeat is slowly syncopated with hard accents on 2 & 4.
- The verse is an unusual 7 measures long. The momentary doubling up
of the harmonic rhythm in measure 5 is where the critical asymmetry
is created. It's rather stunning to think they had the time for this
kind of thing in the midst of apparently just horsing around, or that
such sophistication was simply second nature.
|G |F# aug. |b |E |
IV V-of-vi vi V-of-V
|G D |e |A |
IV I ii V
- The unusual harmonic shape here starts on IV and ends on V, with
the I chord making its only furtive appearance in the middle of
the section. Its the only chord in the section that doesn't appear on
- I'm going to parse that augmented chord in the second measure with
A# in the bassline as rooted on F#, in the first inversion, and with
the D natural serving as a 13th.
- The gambit of forcing V-of-V to wait for at least one intervening
chord change before its inevitable resolution to V is a Beatles
trademark as old as "Eight Days A Week" and as
as the title track on "Sgt. Peppers."
- Stripping all camouflage aside, you're surprised to discover that
the underlying chord progression of this section follows 'round a
circle of fifths: F# -> B -> E -> (after delay) A.
- The refrain restores both metrical and harmonic regularity, with its
four-measure length and circular harmonic shape that starts out on I,
opens out to a V chord that just begs for resolution to I:
|D f# |G A |D f# |G A |
I iii IV V I iii IV V
- Here, the vocals create a counterpoint to the syncopated backbeat with
their hard accents on 1 & 3.
- The F# on the word "name" makes the V chords in this section into V13s.
- The first take simply tacks a I chord to the end of the refrain,
and segues directly into the Latin beat of the following take.
Arrangement and Character
- Here we get a clever evocation of "the Samba beat" in the arrangement,
and the atmosphere of a cheesy cabaret floor show in Paul's crooning
lead vocal and John's cliched Master of Ceremonies background chat.
- The syncopation of the backbeat in this take is much more flowing
with accents on the eighth notes of the measure marked with *:
* * *
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
- This is the longest of the four takes.
- The opening two measures where the pedal point used to be are now
just scored for percussion.
- The harmony of the remainder of the intro is greatly simplified:
chords:|D |e7 |D |e7 |
bass :|D B A |e B A |D B A |E B A |
I ii (V) I ii (V)
- The augmented triad is played with F# in the bass.
- The verse-refrain pair is repeated three full times, plus one additional
repeat of the refrain. The final section is ever so slightly faded out.
- No final chord appears in this take. All we have, instead, is the
final words of John's last spoken phrase which began in the final measure
of the last refrain. The next take kicks in after a brief pause *just*
as you're starting to wonder what's going on.
[#3: Goon Show]
Arrangement and Character
- John's comically silly patter-style vocal sets the tone and is
accompanied this time by a backbet that is equal parts spastic and
"old soft shoe." The use of a bird whistle and other exotic sound
effects amplifies the crazy atmosphere.
- The backbeat is rather four-square in this section, leaving the
matter of syncopation entirely to vocals in the foreground.
- There are no opening two measures this time, just the four measures
of the refrain, which kick in after John has already started clowning.
- I believe the chord progression for this take has changed yet again,
replacing the erstwhile root change in the second half of measures 1
and 3 with an iteration of the I chord in its first inversion:
|D D |G A |D D |G A |
I I6/3 IV V I I6/3 V A
- This take reverts to the brief, single iteration form of the first
- However, this time, the refrain is extended by four measures:
|D D |G G# dim. |A |- D |
I I6/3 IV vii-of-V V I
- The harmony of this extension provides an old fashioned chromatic approach
to the V chord and then leaves you waiting for the shoe to fall with that
I chord delayed to the final beat of the next measure.
- In symmetry to the intro of this take, the chatter at the end extends
for a rough few seconds beyond the final bit of music.
- The start of the intro to the final take overlaps with the last of the
[#4: Jazz Club]
Arrangement and Character
- This final take is set to a cool jazzy backing track with John's lead
vocal (if you can call it that) in the form of pre-verbal but expressively
suave grunting. The latter reminds me of a character named "White Fang"
from the erstwhile Soupy Sales TV show of my American youth; no more
of this character ever appeared on screen than one gloved, gesturing
- Again, a change of backbeat helps set the mood. This time, we have
a swinging ride beat most of the time that is punctuated by the stong
syncopation periodically in on the eighth note before the 4th beat.
- What used to be those opening two measures on a pedal point are now
simply filled by jazz piano figure in the treble.
- The refrain-like chord progression stays with the I6/3 in place of iii.
- The length of this take falls somewhere in between that of the short
takes (#1 and #3) and the lengthier take #2. The Verse/Refrain pair
is repeated twice, and the second refrain is extended in a manner very
similar to the Goon Show outro.
- The jazz flavor reaches its peak with the addition of sax and
and vibraphone for the final chorus.
- Again, the music has a complete ending against which the vocal
grunting is allowed to trail on for couple of seconds to finish
out the recorded track.
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS
- The "Notes on ..." series celebrates its 10th anniversary this week.
There were times in the early going when the number "10 years" for
such a project seemed like an exaggeration in terms of what it really
might take, when it sounded impossibly too long a stretch to maintain
in terms of connectivity to the Net, and my personal span of attention.
But, thank God, here we are after all this time, and with the end in sight.
- I plan to continue on for now with the _Let It Be_ line up
("Two of Us" is up next), and then finish up with
_Abbey Road_. Following
the approximate order of composition and recording strikes me as
preferable to the order of release, in spite of earlier plans to
- My sincere thanks to all of you who have taken the time over the years
to "drop me a postcard, send me a line, stating point of view." And
to those precious few individuals still active in r.m.b. whose personal
encouragement at the time helped bring my series into being, I've only
one thing to say to you: "You're a swine :-)"
"I travel on this train regularly twice a week, so I suppose I have
some rights." 052399#166
Copyright (c) 1995 by Alan W. Pollack
All Rights Reserved
This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and
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Ook op Past Masters, Vols. 2:
Ook op Anthology 2:
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