Only a Northern Song

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About Only a Northern Song

"Only a Northern Song" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles from their 1969 soundtrack album Yellow Submarine. Written by George Harrison, it was the first of four songs the band provided for the 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine, to meet their contractual obligations to United Artists. The song was recorded mainly in February 1967, during the sessions for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, but the Beatles chose not to include it on that album. The group completed the recording two months later, straight after finishing work on Sgt. Pepper. Harrison wrote "Only a Northern Song" out of dissatisfaction with his status as a junior songwriter with the Beatles' publishing company, Northern Songs. The lyrics and music convey his disenchantment at how the company retained the copyright for the songs it published, and at how, following its public listing in 1965, the major shareholders profited more from his compositions than he did. The recording features Hammond organ, played by Harrison, and an overdubbed montage of assorted sounds including trumpet blasts and spoken voices, anticipating John Lennon's 1968 sound collage "Revolution 9". Due to the difficulty in assembling the completed track from two tape sources, "Only a Northern Song" remained a rare song from the Beatles' post-1963 catalogue that was unavailable in true stereo until 1999. That year, it was remixed for inclusion on the album Yellow Submarine Songtrack. 


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If you're listening to this song
You may think the chords are going wrong
But they're not
We just wrote them like that

If you're listening late at night
You may think the band are not quite right
But they are
The just play it like that

And it doesn't really matter what chords I play
What words I say
Or time of day it is
As it's only a Northern song

It doesn't really matter what clothes I wear
What words I pair
Or if my hair is brown
'Cause it's only a Northern song

If you think the harmony
Is a little dull and out of key
You're correct
'Cause there's nobody there

And it's only there's no one there

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The Beatles

The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. They became the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed act in the history of popular music. Their best-known lineup consisted of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. Rooted in skiffle and 1950s rock and roll, they later utilised several genres, ranging from pop ballads to psychedelic rock, often incorporating classical and other elements in innovative ways. In the early 1960s, their enormous popularity first emerged as "Beatlemania", but as their songwriting grew in sophistication, they came to be perceived by many fans and cultural observers as an embodiment of the ideals shared by the era's sociocultural revolutions. more »

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Only a Northern Song

  • Yellow Submarine