YOU KNOW MY NAME (Look Up the Number)

You Know My Name (Look Up the Number

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Released 6 March 1970
Format 7″
Recorded 17 May, 7 and 8 June 1967
and 30 April 1969,
EMI Studios, London
Genre Comedy rock, jazz, experimental rock, avant-garde, novelty
Length 4:21
Label Apple Records
Songwriter(s) Lennon–McCartney
Producer(s) George Martin

“You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” is a song by the Beatles originally released as the B-side of the single “Let It Be” on 6 March 1970. Although first issued with their final single (penultimate single in the United States), it was recorded in four separate sessions beginning with three in May and June 1967, and one in 1969.

The song is a music hall comedy number. John Lennon came up with the lyric/title after seeing a phone book. He said:

That was a piece of unfinished music that I turned into a comedy record with Paul. I was waiting for him in his house, and I saw the phone book was on the piano with ‘You know the name, look up the number.’ That was like a logo, and I just changed it.

McCartney once told Beatles recording analyst Mark Lewisohn, “People are only just discovering things like ‘You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)’ — probably my favourite Beatles’ track!” He went on to explain:

It’s so insane. All the memories … I mean, what would you do if a guy like John Lennon turned up at the studio and said, ‘I’ve got a new song’. I said, ‘What’s the words?’ and he replied ‘You know my name look up the number’. I asked, ‘What’s the rest of it?’ ‘No, no other words, those are the words. And I want to do it like a mantra!’

The lounge section includes a reference to Denis O’Dell, associate producer on the A Hard Day’s Night film, whom Lennon had also worked with on How I Won the War. Partway through the song, Lennon introduces McCartney as lounge singer “Denis O’Bell.” The reference prompted numerous telephone calls to O’Dell’s home by fans who told him, “We have your name and now we’ve got your number,” as well as personal visits by fans wanting to live with him.

All four Beatles participated in the first three recording sessions on 17 May, 7 and 8 June 1967.[9] A saxophone part was recorded on 8 June[10] which was played by Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones.

The recording of the song was left unfinished and untouched until 30 April 1969 when Lennon and McCartney laid down all the vocal tracks and added additional sound effects with the help of Mal Evans. George Harrison and Ringo Starr did not participate in this last session. Nick Webb, second engineer on the 30 April session described it this way:

John and Paul weren’t always getting along that well at this time, but for this song they went out on the studio floor and sang together around one microphone. Even at this time I was thinking ‘What are they doing with this old four-track tape, recording these funny bits onto this quaint song?’ But it was a fun track to do.

Although eventually released as a Beatles song, “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” was nearly released as the A-side of a Plastic Ono Band single. Lennon was determined to have this song and “What’s the New Mary Jane” (a Beatles outtake from the White Album sessions recorded by Lennon and Yoko Ono with George Harrison in August 1968) released, and he arranged for Apple to issue both unorthodox songs on a Plastic Ono Band single. On 26 November 1969, four months after contributor Brian Jones drowned in his swimming pool, Lennon edited “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)”, reducing the length from 6:08 to 4:19, a more suitable length for a single. The Plastic Ono Band single was given an Apple catalogue number (Apples 1002) and British release date (5 December 1969).

Apple issued a press release, describing the record as Lennon and Yoko Ono singing and backed by “many of the greatest show business names of today” which the press believed was a thinly disguised reference to the Beatles. The record was cancelled before it was issued.

Cover versions

The band Yellow Matter Custard covered the song for their CD/DVD release One Night In New York City.

Part of the chorus also featured on a 2009 song named Mrs. Love by Mexican group Disco Ruido.


John Lennon – lead vocals, backing vocals, guitar, maracas, sound effects
Paul McCartney – lead vocals, piano, bass, handclaps, sound effects
George Harrison – lead guitar, vibraphone
Ringo Starr – drums, timbales, bongos, spoken vocals
Brian Jones – alto saxophone
Mal Evans – sound effects
Personnel per Ian MacDonald and Mark Lewisohn