Writer: George Harrison
Producer: George Martin
Recorded: Spring 1966 at EMI Studios (Abbey Road) in London
Released: August 1966
|George Harrison — vocals, guitar
Paul McCartney — bass, vocals
John Lennon — guitar, vocals
Ringo Starr — drums, percussion
|Revolver (Capitol, 1966)
The leadoff track on Revolver, “Taxman” is one of George Harrison's occasional contributions to the Beatles' albums.
Harrison contributed three songs to Revolver, his greatest output for a Beatles album at the time.
One of the Beatles' most politically pointed songs, “Taxman” reflects Harrison's frustration with the British tax system, which hit the wealthiest citizens with a bill for up to 90 percent of their income.
In his autobiography I Me Mine, Harrison wrote, “'Taxman' was when I first realized that even though we had started earning money, we were actually giving most of it away in taxes; it was and still is typical. Why should this be so? Are we being punished for something we had forgotten to do?”
The song namechecks Harold Wilson and Ted Heath, the leaders of the Labour and Conservative parties, respectively, at the time.
Despite the song's heavy message, it starts with a bit of studio chatter. John Lennon said, “Many people have written in asking about how we sounded in the studio when we weren't actually recording a song. So at the beginning of 'Taxman' there's a candid recording showing us just like that.”
Harrison's lead vocal on “Taxman” was double-tracked to give it a meatier, more muscular quality.
The Revolver album was originally to be titled Abracadabra until the group discovered that the title had already been used.
Revolver was the Beatles' sixth album to enter the chart at Number One in the U.K. In the U.S. it debuted at Number 45 on the Billboard 200 and went to Number One in its second week of release, where it remained for six weeks.
Revolver has sold well over five million copies in the U.S.