Open main menu

"You Never Give Me Your Money" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles. It was written by Paul McCartney (though credited to Lennon–McCartney) and documented the financial and personal difficulties facing the band. The song is the first part of the medley on side two of their 1969 album Abbey Road and was recorded in stages between May and August that year.

"You Never Give Me Your Money"
Cover of the song's sheet music
Song by the Beatles
from the album Abbey Road
Released26 September 1969
Recorded6 May 1969
Olympic Sound Studios, Barnes, London
1, 15, 30, 31 July, 5 August 1969
EMI Studios studios 2 and 3, London
LabelApple Records
Producer(s)George Martin

The song was the first one to be recorded for the medley, which was conceived by McCartney and producer George Martin as a finale for the Beatles' career. The backing track was recorded at Olympic Sound Studios in Barnes, London, but the remainder of overdubs occurred at EMI Studios. Musically, the song is made up of a suite of various segments, ranging from a piano ballad at the beginning through to guitar arpeggios at the end.



The song was written by McCartney when he was staying with his wife Linda in New York in March 1969 shortly after their marriage.[1] This was a break following the Get Back/Let It Be sessions.[2] John Lennon and McCartney were at risk of losing overall control of Northern Songs, the company that published their songs, after ATV Music bought a majority share.[3] McCartney had been largely responsible for the group's direction and projects since the death of manager Brian Epstein in 1967, but began to realise that the group dynamic of the Beatles was coming to an end. He was particularly unhappy at the others wanting to draft in manager Allen Klein to help sort out their finances.[4] McCartney later said that the song was written with Klein in mind, saying "it's basically a song about no faith in the person".[1] He added that the line "One sweet dream, pack up the bags, get in the limousine" was based on his trips in the country with Linda to get away from the tense atmosphere with the Beatles,[1] though author Walter Everett thought the line was also a nostalgic look at the Beatles' touring years, which had ended in 1966.[5]

The musical structure came from several song fragments, beginning with a piano ballad and moving to a number of different styles, including boogie-woogie piano, arpeggiated guitars and nursery rhyme.[6][7] Beatles author Ian MacDonald speculated that the guitar arpeggios at the end of the track were influenced by "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" and the middle section of "Here Comes the Sun", and the overall structure was inspired by Lennon's "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" from the previous year's The Beatles, which also joined unrelated song fragments together.[6]

Realising that Abbey Road could be the group's last album, McCartney and Martin decided to combine various portions of tracks into a medley, which would act as a climactic finale of the group's career.[4] McCartney later said that the idea of a song suite was inspired by Keith West's "Excerpt from A Teenage Opera". Some musical segments of "You Never Give Me Your Money" were reused for the "Golden Slumbers" / "Carry That Weight" portion of the medley, including the opening verses and later guitar arpeggios.[8]


The basic backing track was recorded at Olympic Sound Studios in Barnes on 6 May 1969. Recording started at 3pm and went on until 4am the next morning.[7] McCartney sang lead and played piano, Lennon played an Epiphone Casino guitar, George Harrison played a Fender Telecaster guitar fed through a Leslie speaker, and Ringo Starr played drums.[5] The group recorded 36 takes, selecting take 30 as the best, which was made into a rough stereo mix.[7] The basic structure of the song as it appeared on Abbey Road had not been worked out at this stage, and the original recording ran onto a loose jam session, ending up as a fast rock-and-roll instrumental towards the end.[6]

The track was completed in EMI Studios. McCartney overdubbed a lead vocal onto the basic track on 1 July,[9] and further vocals and sound effects were added on 15 July.[10] On 30 July, a reduction mix was made of the original eight track tape, so further overdubs could be made, and a rough mix of the Abbey Road medley was put together. The cross-fade from "You Never Give Me Your Money" into the next track, "Sun King", proved to be problematic, and the group made several attempts before deciding to merge the songs via an organ note.[11] McCartney completed the instrumental overdubs the next day, on 31 July, by adding a bass guitar part and additional piano overdubs,[12] including some punched-in honky-tonk piano in place of the original.[13]

The final recording session occurred on 5 August, when McCartney made a number of tape loops at EMI Studios, including bells, birds, bubbles and chirping crickets.[14] Martin mixed the track into stereo on 13 August, and made 11 attempts at a final mix, combining the tape loops with the cross-fade into "Sun King", replacing the earlier organ note.[15] He made another attempt at a final mix on 21 August, and this was used for the finished master.[16]


According to Ian MacDonald:[2]


The track has been used on some albums featuring Beatles' songs covered by other artists. In 2009, Nine Below Zero with Glenn Tilbrook covered the song on Abbey Road Now!, a CD of Abbey Road covers accompanying the October 2009 issue of Mojo magazine.[17]


  1. ^ a b c Miles 1997, p. 556.
  2. ^ a b MacDonald 1997, p. 308.
  3. ^ Shepherd & Horn 2003, p. 590.
  4. ^ a b MacDonald 1997, p. 309.
  5. ^ a b Everett 1999, p. 260.
  6. ^ a b c MacDonald 1997, p. 310.
  7. ^ a b c Lewisohn 1988, p. 176.
  8. ^ MacDonald 1997, p. 312.
  9. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 177.
  10. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 180.
  11. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 183.
  12. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 184.
  13. ^ Winn 2009, p. 312.
  14. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 185.
  15. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 187.
  16. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 195.
  17. ^ "Abbey Road Now". Mojo (191). October 2009. Archived from the original on 23 August 2014.
  • Everett, Walter (1999). The Beatles as Musicians: Revolver Through the Anthology. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-512941-0.
  • MacDonald, Ian (1997). Revolution in the Head : The Beatles' Records and the Sixties. Pimlico / Random House. ISBN 978-0-7126-6697-8.
  • Miles, Barry (1997). Paul McCartney : Many Years From Now. Seeker & Warburg. ISBN 978-0-436-28022-1.
  • Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions. Hamlyn / EMI. ISBN 978-0-600-55784-5.
  • Shepherd, John; Horn, John (2003). Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World: Media, Industry and Society v.1: Media, Industry and Society Vol 1. Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-8264-6321-0.
  • Winn, John C. (2009). That Magic Feeling: The Beatles' Recorded Legacy, Volume Two, 1966–1970. Random House. ISBN 978-0-307-45240-5.

External linksEdit