12-Bar Original

“12-Bar Original” is a Beatles’ instrumental track from 1965.

In Detail


Release Date: 18th March, 1996 (UK), 19th March, 1996 (US)
Recorded: 4th November, 1965
Genre: Blues
Track Duration: 2:54
Record Label: Apple
Songwriters: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison also Richard Starkey
Producer: George Martin

Track Source:

Anthology 2

12-Bar Original is a Beatles' track from their Anthology 2 album

Anthology 2 Album (1996)

Performers And Instruments

George Harrison: lead guitar
John Lennon: lead guitar
Paul McCartney: bass
Ringo Starr: drums
George Martin: harmonium

12-Bar Original

Not many songs/tracks give credit to all The Beatles but this one did. As you can see above, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison also Richard Starkey wrote this instrumental track. The other Beatles’ tracks credited to all four Beatles are, “Flying“, “Dig It” and “Christmas Time (Is Here Again)“. The latter being the B-side to their 1995 single “Free as a Bird“.

Although recording took place in 1965, it was never available on any commercial release until the “Anthology 2” album came out in 1996. However, this edited version is less than 3 minutes long while the original piece was 6 minutes and 36 seconds.

The Beatles’ attempt at the blues obviously gave us something to resemble a “Booker T. & The MG’s” sound. It is a little drab and recorded while the Fab Four were preparing for their “Rubber Soul” album. Without knowing any information about this instrumental, not many people would guess that this was a Beatles’ track, of course.

Indeed, it doesn’t appear to have any real purpose. So, one can only presume they were just passing the time of day on this one. It could also be that they churned it out just in case they needed a “filler” track for the new album. Be that as it may, “12-Bar Original” is a Beatles’ composition and as such, has historical value!

Recording Studio

The Beatles began recording “12-Bar Original” on 4 November 1965, in Studio Two of the EMI Studios, London, during the 11.00pm-3.30am session. There were two takes that day and it is take 2 which appears on the “Anthology 2” album. Prior to recording their instrumental, they also recorded one take of “What Goes On“.

This wasn’t the only instrumental track that The Beatles recorded but it was the first after signing up to EMI in 1962. For example, their 1967 track “Flying” is an instrumental (although it does include some “wordless vocals”. Then, before they became The Beatles, they recorded “Cayenne” (1960) and “Cry for a Shadow” (1961) as The Quarrymen and The Beat Brothers respectfully.

Only John Lennon and Ringo Starr ever commented on this track publicly. Lennon once replied to an American DJ about unissued tracks that he could remember “some lousy 12 bar”. While Starr told journalist Peter Palmiere that “we all wrote the track and I have an acetate of one of the versions”.

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About Bobby

I have been a Beatles fan since the early 1960s so I speak from my heart and soul. It was a pleasure to accept the role of Editor on The Beatles Forum when we left our old site. If you feel that something needs correcting with the information I provide, please contact me.

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