display | more...

Can You Take Me Back is a song on The Beatles' White Album. If you don't remember it being in the track listing, you'd be right. It's tacked onto the end of Cry Baby Cry. Or is that the start of Revolution 9?

Depends on who you ask. For those unfamiliar with the White Album, there's a Lennon song on the second disc (side four on vinyl) called Cry Baby Cry. Immediately following it there's a brief song snippet by Paul McCartney, of which these lyrics are audible:

Can you take me back where I came from,
Can you take me back?
Can you take me back where I came from,
Brother can you take me baaaaaack,
Can you take me back?
(~ Repeat of first two lines ~)

This excerpt isn't a fully fledged piece of music; it's taken from a longer, untitled song that Paul, John, and Ringo recorded in between takes of Paul's song I Will. (At least, according to Mark Lewisohn.) The excerpt on the White Album lasts 27 seconds (fading out during the last 17 or 18 seconds), and it sounds like a chorus or coda. Plus, as soon as McCartney is done singing the final "back" (which is only audible if you turn up the volume at this point), the music stops with a click and part of a conversation is audible: "bottle of claret for you if I had realised...". This is the opening of Lennon's sound collage Revolution 9.

The thing is, Can You Take Me Back (does it have an official name?) isn't listed as its own track and isn't separated as such on the CD. On the copy of the White Album I borrowed on CD from a local library it's part of Cry Baby Cry. Case closed? Well, not really. The White Album has a poor track record in terms of CD mastering. For instance, if you turn up your stereo at the end of the song I'm So Tired, at the very end of the Lennon chatter is a childlike voice saying "pleh". Some versions of the CD put it at the very start of the subsequent song, Blackbird. Oops.

In the case of CYTMB, things are tougher because it's instantly followed not by the conventional opening of a new song, but by part of a conversation that's at a similarly low volume. As such, it isn't outside the realm of possibility that it's part of the opening for Revolution 9. In support for this theory, the most exhaustive list of anomalies in Beatles' songs, "What Goes On", states that the lyrics of CYTMB were originally listed as the first part of those for Revolution 9. (See http://www.pootle.demon.co.uk/common/anomaly-r.htm ).

By this point, some of you might be thinking of looking at the original vinyl copies of the White Album. Unfortunately, it's not exactly trustworthy; the track divisions show the "bottle of claret" discussion (which is part of Revolution 9) as being the end of Cry Baby Cry.

In summary, I don't think it's possible to reach a 100% certain conclusion about what the placement of CYTMB "officially" is. My reckoning is that one of The Beatles (probably McCartney) wanted some part of their "jamming" included in the White Album, and so had this snippet of song dropped in (kinda like Her Majesty) between Cry Baby Cry and Revolution 9 as a sort of dreamy intro to Revolution 9.

And that's the end of that. But wait! What about that Spanish guitar bit between Wild Honey Pie and The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill...?

The contents of this writeup are in the public domain. Except for the lyrics, which I include under fair use and are by Paul McCartney.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.