To begin with, “Can You Take Me Back?” is a Beatles’ song which is at the end of “Cry Baby Cry” on the 1968 “White Album”. It is an unlisted track, possibly an early example of a “hidden track” but it does compliment the main song.
Recorded: 16th September, 1968
Studio: EMI Studios, London
Genre: Folk rock
Track Duration: 2:22 (full version), 0:28 (White Album)
Record Label: Apple Records
Producer: George Martin
Engineers: Geoff Emerick, Ken Scott
** George Harrison does not get a mention because for some reason he is missing from this recording.
Can You Take Me Back?
This ad-libbed track we are familiar with on the “White Album” only lasts for around 28 seconds but a longer version is now commercially available. Although the song we are familiar with on the 1968 album seems as if it is part of the preceding song, it is actually an individual track. However, this came from a spur-of-the-moment jamming session where the band members had a little fun.
Whereas the recording of “Cry Baby Cry” comes from July, 1968, this recording comes from September. But, with ample material for their new self-titled double album, “The Beatles” aka the “White Album”, they never went on to further develop the song. In fact, there was only one take and no other exists. Just to point out that George Harrison takes no part on this track.
The Beatles began recording “Can You Take Me Back?” in Studio Two of the EMI Studios, London, during the 7.00pm-3.00am sessions. They first recorded 67 takes of “I Will” so it’s not surprising then that they would need a break from that.
At the end of the recording session, McCartney, Lennon and Starr began to ad-lib and create music. Apart from this track they also recorded, “Blue Moon” and “Step Inside Love” as well as “Los Paranoias“. The band were just ad-libbing or warming down but they were very much spontaneous and in unison.
The song itself begins with Paul McCartney singing nonsense lyrics to a folk style rhythm. However, after around 35 seconds, John Lennon says, “Are you happy here, honey?” and this changes the song somewhat. This is because from then, McCartney adjusts the song around that lyric. This lyric comes from a Simon & Garfunkel’s recording of “Voices Of Old People” (February, 1968).
The full version is now available on “The Beatles (White Album) 50th anniversary edition” from 2018.