100 Greatest Beatles Songs

55

'Taxman'

the beatles 100 greatest songs
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Writer: Harrison
Recorded: April 20-22, 1966
Released: August 8, 1966
Not released as a single

McCartney played the screeching-raga guitar solo, and Lennon contributed to the lyrics. But in its pithy cynicism, "Taxman" was strictly Harrison's, a contagious blast of angry guitar rock. His slap at Her Majesty's Government landed the prized position on Revolver: Side One, Track One.

"'Taxman' was when I first realized that even though we had started earning money, we were actually giving most of it away in taxes," Harrison later wrote. "The government's taking over 90 percent of all our money," Starr once complained. "We're left with one-ninth of a pound."

"Taxman" represents a crucial link between the guitar-driven clang of the Beatles' 1963-65 sound and the emerging splendor of the group's experiments in psychedelia. The song is skeleton funk — Harrison's choppy fuzz-toned guitar chords moving against an R&B dance beat, but the extra hours he and engineer Geoff Emerick spent on guitar tone on Revolver foreshadowed Harrison's intense plunge into Indian music and the sitar on later songs such as "Within You Without You" and "The Inner Light."

Appears On: Revolver

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The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: 'Revolver'
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