A Beatles Journey: Taxman

The Beatles

Taxman – written by George Harrison – is the first song on The Beatles Revolver album released in the UK on August 5, 1966.    According to George’s autobiography, the song was written when he first realized how much money The Beatles were paying in taxes (95% of their earnings – Britain’s highest tax bracket).   In his autobiography, George asks “Why should this be so? Are we being punished for something we have done wrong?”

Let me tell you
How it will be.
There’s one for you,
Nineteen for me,

‘Cause I’m the taxman.
Yeah, I’m the taxman.

Should five percent
Appear too small,
Be thankful I don’t
Take it all.

‘Cause I’m the taxman.
Yeah, I’m the taxman.

If you drive a car,
I’ll tax the street.
If you try to sit,
I’ll tax your seat.
If you get too cold,
I’ll tax the heat.
If you take a walk,
I’ll tax your feet.


‘Cause I’m the taxman.
Yeah, I’m the taxman.

Don’t ask me what I want it for,
(Uh-uh, Mr. Wilson.)
If you don’t want to pay some more.
(Uh-uh, Mr. Heath.)

‘Cause I’m the taxman.
Yeah, I’m the taxman.

And my advice to
Those who die.
Declare the pennies
On your eyes.

‘Cause I’m the taxman.
Yeah, I’m the taxman,
And you’re working for no one but me.

Taxman was the first Beatles song to make an overt political statement, and a message likely lost on their teen aged non-taxpaying fans.  The lyrics even call to task prominent British politicians of the time (Harold Wilson and Ted Heath).  As angst driven as the intended message may be, the song is an upbeat rocker, with inspirations rooted in the old Adam West Batman series theme music (“Batmaaaan, Taxmaaaan”) the drawn out taxman lyric sung by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, featuring McCartney on guitar for the solo.

Harrison was apparently a bigger fan of Batman than of the Tax man.

But aren’t we all?



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