“Don’t Pass Me By” is a Beatles’ song which is on their 1968 album, “The Beatles” aka the “White Album”. There’s also a version on the 1996 album, “Anthology 3” as well.
Release Date: 22nd November, 1968
Recorded: 5th-6th June, 12th & 22nd July, 1968
Genre: Country rock
Track Duration: 3:46 (mono version), 3:51 (stereo version)
Record Label: Apple
Songwriter: Richard Starkey
Producer: George Martin
Engineers: Geoff Emerick, Ken Scott
** Both pianos recorded into a Leslie 147 speaker.
Don’t Pass Me By
Although this song is a 1968 release, it origins go back to 1962. In fact, it is the first composition from Ringo Starr and he presented to the band shortly after joining them.
It became public knowledge of the song’s existence on the 14th July, 1964. This was on the BBC Radio show “Top Gear” during a conversation and then introducing “And I Love Her“.
During that chatter session, presenter Brian Matthew asked Ringo Starr if he ever wrote a song. Starr said that he had but Paul McCartney then jumped in and started singing Starr’s composition, “Don’t pass me by, don’t make me cry, don’t make me blue, baby.”
“I wrote Don’t Pass Me By when I was sitting round at home, I only play three chords on the guitar and three on the piano. I was fiddling with the piano – I just bang away and then if a melody comes and some words, I just have to keep going. That’s how it happened: I was just sitting at home alone and Don’t Pass Me By arrived. We played it with a country attitude. It was great to get my first song down, one that I had written. It was a very exciting time for me and everyone was really helpful, and recording that crazy violinist was a thrilling moment.”
Just why this song remained dormant for so long remains a mystery. Also its inclusion on the “White Album” is another mystery because the band had plenty of material to work with after their trip to India. Be that as it may, this country rock recording graces the album and we wouldn’t have it any other way. John Lennon and George Harrison play no part in this song.
Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr began recording on the 5th June, 1968, in Studio Three of the EMI Studios, London during the 2.30pm-1.30am session. On that day, they recorded three takes under the working title of “Ringo’s Tune (Untitled)”. The next day, the working title became “This Is Some Friendly” and they overdubbed various vocals and new bass parts.
On the 12th July violinist Jack Fallon recorded the familiar fiddle pieces we hear throughout the song. They then restored the original title of “Don’t Pass Me By”.
The song was still in need of an introduction and they experimented with a few styles. On the 22nd July, George Martin arranged an orchestral piece from a previous session but it wasn’t suitable. That piece became “A Beginning” and is available on the “Anthology 3” album but is also in the animated film “Yellow Submarine“.
It’s difficult to imagine this country rock song having the orchestral piece as an intro but it did. However, they eventually settled for the piano intro. The mono and stereo mixes are slightly different in that the former is a little faster with the fade out having more fiddle playing.