“Yer Blues” is a Beatles’ rock song on their “White Album”. Written by John Lennon in Rishikesh, India after “trying to reach God and feeling suicidal”, he wanted to compose a blues number. However, he felt unsure if he could. So, together with his insecurities, decided to mock the British blues boom of 1968.
Release Date: 22nd November, 1968 (UK), 25th November, 1968 (US)
Recorded: 13th, 14th, also the 20th August, 1968
Studio: EMI Studios, London
Genre: Blues rock, hard rock
Track Duration: 4:01 (stereo), 4:16 (mono)
Record Label: Apple
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Ken Scott
While John Lennon was at school, his interest in music was intense. As well as rock and roll, he took interest in blues music too. However, even though John tried to create something bluesy while in India, his realisation was that this type of music was best left alone, for now at least!
In the UK during 1968, there was a slight surge in the interest in blues music. So, with John Lennon suffering the frustration of not being able to create something to add to this explosion, he decided to mock the British imitators of the blues. Of course, this included himself too!
Beatlemania had come and gone long before the “White Album”. Since those heady days, the band created many distinctive sounds. However, while blues music was a big influence on The Beatles, the band wouldn’t really have a classic blues number. That said, it is possible to hear the blues influence in songs such as, “Come Together” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” etc.
Recording of “Yer Blues” took place on the 13th August, 1968, in a large closet in the control room described as being “EMI Studio Two’s annexe”. This was because they were just talking about the closeness of a “packed-in-a-tin thing”. Indeed, this was an impromptu moment where they crammed into an ill-equipped room full of odds and ends. As a result, we get a live, raw feel to the song and the “White Album” is better off for it.
On the 14th August, 1969, John Lennon added further vocals, while Ringo Starr’s contribution on the 20th of August was to add the beginning count-in sequence, “Two, Three”.
The following artists have all made cover versions of “Yer Blues”.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Nick Shifeton Blues Band