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"Taxman"

Categories: Beatles songs

With a count-in and a cough, the choppy riff of George's "Taxman" opens Revolver.

If "Think For Yourself" had been 'probably' directed at the government, there's not a shadow of a doubt with this one, as the indignant Harrison points his finger directly at the UK's leading contemporary political figures, Messrs. Harold Wilson (Labour Prime Minister) and Edward Heath (Tory opposition leader), laughing derisively — though ultimately futilely — in both of their faces.

Harold might've been responsible for the boys getting their MBEs but, with his 'supertax' system firmly in place, he certainly wasn't giving anything else away: the Inland Revenue claiming a staggering 95% of the band's earnings. As much as actually having to pay it, the fact that he had no say in how it was then spent had Harrison particularly outraged. Lennon may have had the reputation for being the mouthy Beatle, but The Quiet One could always find "a word or two" when he felt the need to:

Let me tell you how it will be:
There's one for you, nineteen for me!


Perhaps in order to concentrate on the vocal, the composer limited himself to rhythm guitar on the track, passing the lead part to Paul; who did a fine job flashing in those ringing, stinging instrumental retorts to the Taxman (Batman?) refrain and a serving up a sizzling solo alongside his chunky bassline. 'Nice little Indian bit', commented George.

Ringo — also 'pissed off' with the financial situation — gave his staunchest backing, with an insistent tambourine and cowbell to shove the message further home. The Dynamic Duo's hermetic harmonies stamped their inimitable seal endorsement onto the petition.

Don't ask me what I want it for,
If you don't want to pay some more...


It wasn't the last time that Our George was to fall foul of The Taxman, either. The American version of the Sacred System went on to steal most of the money raised by his 1971 all-star Concert For Bangladesh from the mouths of the refugees it was intended to aid, considering it to be 'Mr Harrison's personal earnings'. And was there any way to argue? Oh no,

'Cos I'm The Taxman, yeah I'm The Taxman:
And you're working for no one but me!
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