John Lennon Saved Someone’s Job While Recording The Beatles’ Song ‘Yellow Submarine’

The Beatles created one of their best albums with Revolver. The record many fans consider the first psychedelic album is an essential starting point for new fans, according to Ringo Starr. The drummer sang “Yellow Submarine,” and though it might not be the best Beatles song, it’s the one that saw John Lennon save someone’s job while they recorded it.

John Lennon stopped someone from getting fired while making The Beatles’ song ‘Yellow Submarine’
The Beatles really never lived sober lifestyles. Booze and pills were frequently part of their routine during early marathon performances in Hamburg, Germany. They used recreational drugs more frequently after getting high with and pranked by Bob Dylan in 1964. That trend continued for years for each member of the Fab Four.

That included when they recorded “Yellow Submarine” in the middle of 1966. Lennon and a host of friends — Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Marianne Faithfull, and Pattie Boyd, newly married to George Harrison — descended on Abbey Road Studios in various states of chemical inebriation. And they would not be denied the chance to have some fun, per 150 Glimpses of The Beatles.

Looking to record some aquatic-sounding vocals, Lennon suggested several novel ideas. Two of them — gargling while singing and dunking his head in a tank of water — were no-gos. Then engineer Geoff Emerick suggested submerging a microphone. George Martin reminded him he’d have to pay for a new mic if it got damaged, so he wrapped it in a condom before dunking it in a water-filled glass milk jar.

That was the moment the studio manager dropped in to see how things were going. Emerick was likely about to be fired for destroying studio property until John saved his job. Lennon grabbed the jar with the mic, hid it behind his back, and distracted the manager with some over-the-top deferential talk:

‘Everything all right, lads?” the manager said. “Yes, sir, Mr. studio manager, sir, absolutely smashing, sir,” Lennon replied.

Lennon’s quick thinking saved Emerick, but the singer soon abandoned his plan to record his background vocals underwater. Yet the recording session wasn’t a total waste. The boisterous group who crashed Abbey Road heard their impromptu studio party — clinking glasses, boisterous chatter, and laughter — represented as background vocals during the second verse of “Yellow Submarine.”

How did ‘Revolver’ and ‘Yellow Submarine’ perform on the charts?

We’ll get the easy part of the way first. Revolver came out at a time when nearly every Beatles song and album had the Midas touch. The album debuted at No. 1 in England and spent seven straight weeks at the top, per the Official Charts Company. Revolver debuted at No. 45 on the Billboard albums chart on Sept. 3, 1966. It rocketed to No. 1 seven days later.

The “Yellow Submarine” single (backed with “Eleanor Rigby”) held the No. 1 spot in England for four straight weeks during a three-month stay on the charts. The tune rose to No. 2 in the United States.

The world knew The Beatles were at the peak of their powers when they recorded “Yellow Submarine” in 1966. What the fans didn’t see was the secret story behind the song. John Lennon used his nearly superhuman effort to save the job of engineer Geoff Emerick while recording the song. John’s plans to record aquatic vocals didn’t work, but the song became a hit anyway.

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