Paul McCartney Started Writing The Beatles’ ‘Yellow Submarine’ in a Mental ‘Twilight Zone’

TL;DR:

  • Paul McCartney said he started writing The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” in a mental “twilight zone.”
  • McCartney explained why the submarine was yellow.
  • The song became an international hit.
Paul McCartney wearing headphones during the production of The Beatles' 'Yellow Submarine'
The Beatles’ Paul McCartney | Keystone Features/Getty Images

Paul McCartney said he was in a mental “limbo” when he started writing The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine.” He explained why he thought of the unusual image of a yellow submarine in the first place. Subsequently, he revealed how he tailored the song for Ringo Starr.

The Beatles’ Paul McCartney likes the ‘twilight zone’ he feels before and after falling asleep

Paul once dated an actor named Jane Asher. In the 1997 book Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, he discussed the origin of “Yellow Submarine.” “I was laying in bed in the Ashers’ garret, and there’s a nice twilight zone just as you’re drifting into sleep and as you wake from it.” 

Paul revealed he enjoys this state of mind. “I always find it quite a comfortable zone, you’re almost asleep, you’ve laid your burdens down for the day and there’s this little limbo-land just before you slip into sleep,” he revealed.

Jane Asher and Paul McCartney holding hands
Jane Asher and Paul McCartney | Bettmann / Contributor

RELATED: The Beatles: John Lennon and Paul McCartney Used These 2 Words in Their Song Titles and Lyrics to Connect to Fans

Paul McCartney had to make sure Ringo Starr could sing The Beatles’ ‘Yellow Submarine’

Paul decided he wanted to write a song for a younger audience. “I remember thinking that a children’s song would be quite a good idea and I thought of images, and the color yellow came to me, and a submarine came to me, and I thought, ‘Well, that’s kind of nice, like a toy, very childish yellow submarine,'” he recalled.

The “Ebony and Ivory” singer explained how he tailored the song for Ringo. “I was thinking of it as a song for Ringo, which it eventually turned out to be, so I wrote it as not too rangey in the vocal,” he said. “I just made up a little tune in my head, then started making a story [about] sort of an ancient mariner.”

RELATED: John Lennon: Artist Who Said He Inspired ‘Yellow Submarine’ Was ‘Stupid’

How ‘Yellow Submarine’ and its parent album performed on the charts in the United States and the United Kingdom

“Yellow Submarine” became a huge hit for The Beatles. The song peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, lasting nine weeks on the chart. The Beatles released the song on the album Revolver. The album was No. 1 for six of its 85 weeks on the Billboard 200.

“Yellow Submarine” became a bigger hit in the United Kingdom. The Official Charts Company reports the song hit No. 1 there for four weeks. The track spent 13 weeks on the chart in total. Meanwhile, Revolver topped the chart for seven weeks. It stayed on the chart for 34 weeks in total.

“Yellow Submarine” was a hit and it might not be the same if Paul wasn’t in a pleasant “limbo.”

RELATED: George Harrison Said The Beatles’ ‘Yellow Submarine’ Wasn’t ‘Any Good’ But He Had a Theory About Why It Was Popular