Song facts: I Will

On September 16th 1968, The Beatles recorded a new Paul McCartney song I Will. Paul wrote the ballad while The Beatles were on retreat in India studying transcendental mediation earlier that year.

"I was doing a song, I Will, that I had as a melody for quite a long time but I didn't have any lyrics to it. I remember sitting around with Donovan, and maybe a couple of other people. We were just sitting around one evening after our day of meditation and I played him this one and he liked it and we were trying to write some words. We kicked around a few lyrics, something about the moon, but they weren't very satisfactory and I thought the melody was better than the words so I didn't use them.
I kept searching for better words and I wrote my own set in the end; very simple words, straight love-song words really. I think they're quite effective. It's still one of my favourite melodies that I've written. You just occasionally get lucky with a melody and it becomes rather complete and I think this is one of them; quite a complete tune." - Paul McCartney

George Harrison was absent this session, which saw 67 takes recorded; take 65 was chosen at the best. During take 19 McCartney ad-libbed a song, commonly known as Can you take me back?. 28 seconds of this impromptu performance later appeared on the White Album at the end of Lennon's Cry Baby Cry.

At this same session The Beatles recorded Step Inside Love, a song Paul wrote but eventually gave away to Cilla Black. This performance was released on Anthology 3 in 1996, along with the first take of I Will. 

Personnel

  • Paul McCartney – lead vocal, acoustic guitars, "vocal bass"
  • John Lennon – percussion, cymbals, maracas
  • Ringo Starr – bongos

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Paul McCartney and John Lennon in India with Donovan Leitch, 1968. 

Paul McCartney and John Lennon in India with Donovan Leitch, 1968. 

The Beatles at Paul's house during the Mad Day Out photo shoot, July 28th 1968.

The Beatles at Paul's house during the Mad Day Out photo shoot, July 28th 1968.

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