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The Beatles could pack an emotional punch like no other band. Their 1966 masterpiece Revolver is full of moments where John, Paul, George and Ringo go straight to the heart. But not “Yellow Submarine”. So far. The world has always cherished this song as a joyous novelty for children, something that guys were quick to laugh at.

It is therefore a real shock to hear John Lennon sing it, alone with his guitar, like a sad acoustic ballad. Taken from the new Super Deluxe Edition of Revolverreleased on October 28, it’s one of the biggest surprises: who expected the emotional depth of “Yellow Submarine”?

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But like so many moments on the new edition, “Yellow Submarine” makes you rethink everything you thought you knew about the band. It shows how far they were willing to experiment Revolver, pushing out of their comfort zones. “The whole album is them saying, ‘Hey, let’s make it completely different,'” says Giles Martin, producer of the new version and son of original producer George Martin. “It was the nitroglycerin that blew everything up.”

New Revolver holds many surprises. It kicks harder than ever, remixed by Martin and engineer Sam Okell in stereo and Dolby Atmos, using “unmixing” technology developed by Peter Jackson’s audio team for the Come back documentary. But the Super Deluxe Collection has 31 clips from the vaults, including three home demos. (There’s also a four-track EP with “Paperback Writer” and “Rain.”) It all captures the freewheeling spirit of the Revolver sessions – four boys go wild in the clubhouse, inventing the future.

The “Yellow Submarine” demo has never been counterfeited or even rumored, not even among the most hardcore Beatles geeks. John sings it in his soulful confessional mode, over folk guitar playing. He sings, “In the place where I was born / Nobody cared, nobody cared / And the name I was born / Nobody cared, nobody cared.” It feels like he’s opening up to his painful childhood memories, like he would in “Strawberry Fields Forever”, “Dear Prudence” or “Julia”. It could fit on the white album or even Plastic Ono Band. Is that “Yellow Submarine”?

Paul McCartney wrote the classic chorus. But it’s a shock to realize that John was so deeply involved, because people tend to assume he looked down on him. “I had no idea until I started going through the takes,” Martin says. “It was a Lennon-McCartney thing. I said to Paul, ‘I always thought it was a song you were writing and you gave Ringo and John was like, ‘Oh, damn it’ Yellow Submarine’” Not at all.

The world knows him as a showcase for Ringo Starr, always a favorite with kids. As Paul recalls in a new foreword he wrote for this edition, “One evening at dusk, lying in my bed before dozing off, I found a song that I thought would suit Ringo and at the same time would incorporate the heady vibes of the era.’Yellow Submarine’ – a children’s song with a touch of stoner influence, with which Ringo still impresses audiences to this day.

But this is a case of John and Paul combining two individual fragments into a perfect whole, like “A Day in the Life” or “We Can Make It Happen”. They discussed the origin of the song in a 1966 radio interview for the Ivor Novello Awards. “I seem to remember, like, the submarine,” John tells Paul. “The chorus track, you come up with. And wasn’t the other part something that I had already started, and we put them together? Paul agrees: “It’s true. Yeah.”

It’s one of two Revolver excerpts published today. The other is a fantastic high-energy debut outing through “Got To Get You Into My Life,” having a Stax-style Memphis R&B bash. No horn section yet – George Harrison plays the hook on a fuzz-tone guitar, for a garage band vibe.

But “Yellow Submarine” is one that’s a whole new journey. In another box set work tape, they sing it together as an Everly Brothers-style harmony duet. You can hear Paul stepping back, generously acknowledging that his mate is going deep into a personal zone and giving him all the room he needs. It’s amazing to think that John becomes so vulnerable in that tune and then handing it over to Paul to rework into a Ringo hit. So many great Beatles stories in one song. It’s a small excerpt, which has remained unpublished in the vault for nearly 60 years. But it sums up the unique chemistry of The Beatles so much that you can hear every moment of Revolver.

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