“I Will” is a Beatles’ song on their 1968 “White Album”. However, the track also appears on their “Anthology 3” album from 1996 as well.
Recorded: 16th & 17th September, 1968
Genre: Folk pop
Track Duration: 1:46
Record Label: Apple Records
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Ken Scott
*** George Harrison obviously took no part in this recording.
Paul McCartney started writing “I Will” while he and the band were in Rishikesh, India. They were studying Transcendental Meditation at the Ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi during February, 1968. Like some other Beatles’ songs which started in India, McCartney finished the song on his return the England. In fact, the song wasn’t even complete when recording began.
“I was doing a song, I Will, that I had as a melody for quite a long time but I didn’t have any lyrics to it. I remember sitting around with Donovan, and maybe a couple of other people. We were just sitting around one evening after our day of meditation and I played him this one and he liked it and we were trying to write some words.
We kicked around a few lyrics, something about the moon, but they weren’t very satisfactory and I thought the melody was better than the words so I didn’t use them. I kept searching for better words and I wrote my own set in the end; very simple words, straight love-song words really. I think they’re quite effective.
It’s still one of my favourite melodies that I’ve written. You just occasionally get lucky with a melody and it becomes rather complete and I think this is one of them; quite a complete tune.”
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles
Donovan couldn’t remember helping with the lyrics but said that he possibly did with the “shape of the chords”.
The Beatles began recording “I Will” on the 16th September, 1968, in Studio Two at the EMI Studios, London, during the 7.00pm-3.00am session. They recorded 67 takes that day with take 65 being the master rhythm track. Overdubbing began on the 17th September with backing vocals, bass and a new acoustic guitar piece etc.
During this recording marathon there were numerous ad-libs which have become commercially available. For example, on take 35, they went off on a tangent by singing the medley, “Step Inside Love” with “Los Paranoias” which is available on the 1996 album, “Anthology 3”.
During take 29, Paul McCartney sings “won’t” in place of “will”. Then John Lennon replies “Yes you will.” At which point, McCartney has a laugh. This take is also commercially available due to the release of the 2018 “White Album” extended box set.
Take 19 sees an improvised tune “Can you take me back?” which is also due for release in 2018 (full version). Although there has always been a 28 second segment from this on the “White Album” at the end of “Cry Baby Cry“.