Tell Me What You See - The Beatles

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"Tell Me What You See" - The Beatles (1965)

“Tell Me What You See” has a very solid musical palette to work with: McCartney playing bass, electric piano and as lead vocal; George’s and his Gretsch Tennessean, a little bit of Lennon on rhythm guitar and lead vocal- and Ringo providing- as usual- the steady backbeat for the play to be able to begin and take old. Even in this very early song Ringo does what is always needed of him- to provide a backbeat so the other musicians on stage can partake of the direction of the song.

Says musicologist Tim Riley:

“Ringo’s response to the piano’s lick packs plenty of energy in the snap of his snare. The claves that perk away throughout give it a kind of lounge-act character, a domesticated banality next to the piano-drum exchange.

Professor Steven Baur says that the dynamics and dramatic effect of the song depend largely on variations in the percussive register. Throughout the verses, as Lennon and McCartney softly recite a litany of promises, Ringo opts for a soft, tight sound. 

“The ride pattern, played on tightly closed hi-hats with the tip of the stick, and the light rim-tap backbeat, are hardly audible under the other percussion instruments — a tambourine, claves, and a guiro.  This sets up the dramatic drum entrance at the end of the chorus.”

Also important to the sound of this song was the new Hohner Pianet, an electric piano that amplified vibrating reeds, played alternatively by John and Paul in this song- as well as “The Night Before,” and the introduction to “You Like Me Too Much.”

Beatle scholar Walter Everett wrote that Lennon turns a knob to saturate the keyboard with maximum tremolo (perhaps to complement the hand tremolo of the parallel sixths in Martin’s Steinway part, and in contrast against the new sort of guitar/piano dialogue heard in the instrumental break.

“Tell Me What You See”  was the prototype “I’m Looking Through You” six months later. In other words- had they had more time to work on the song- it would have quickly wound up sounding like “I’ve Just Seen a Face.” In nearly all Beatle songs- there is a “part two-continuation” of the song. This is certainly so in this case. “Tell Me What You See” begat “I’ve Just Seen a Face.”

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