Song facts: Don't Pass Me By

Don't Pass Me By is a Beatles' song written by Ringo Starr and first released on The White Album in 1968. Ringo first showed the other Beatles the song sometime in 1962. But it wasn't until 1968 that they decided to actually work on and record it. Given the eclectic nature of The White Album, it seemed like a good place for Ringo's composition. 

"I wrote Don't Pass Me By when I was sitting round at home. I only play three chords on the guitar and three on the piano. I was fiddling with the piano - I just bang away - and then if a melody comes and some words, I just have to keep going. That's how it happened: I was just sitting at home alone and Don't Pass Me By arrived. We played it with a country attitude. It was great to get my first song down, one that I had written. It was a very exciting time for me and everyone was really helpful, and recording that crazy violinist was a thrilling moment." - Ringo Starr

Don't Pass Me By is Ringo's first of only two songs he recorded and released with The Beatles; the other being Octopus's Garden. The lines you were in a car crash and you lost your hair is often cited by the Paul is dead community as another clue to his alleged passing in 1966. 

Recording

As was often the case with The White Album, only two Beatles worked on this track; Paul and Ringo. They recorded Don't Pass Me By on June 5th and 6th and then on the 5th and 12th of July. George Martin arranged and recorded a short instrumental piece intended to introduce the song, but this was rejected. It would later appear in The Beatles' Yellow Submarine film and in 1996 was issued on Anthology 3; with the title A Beginning. 

Personnel

  • Ringo Starr – vocals, drums, tack piano, sleigh bells, cowbell, maracas, congas

  • Paul McCartney – grand piano, bass
  • Jack Fallon – violin
Ringo Starr taking a break during a White Album session, 1968.

Ringo Starr taking a break during a White Album session, 1968.

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Ringo Starr photographed for the White Album. 1968. 

Ringo Starr photographed for the White Album. 1968. 

The White Album, 1968.

The White Album, 1968.

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