3. Paul McCartney played the guitar solo on “Taxman.”
Prior to Revolver, George Harrison handled just about every guitar solo in the Beatles’ catalog, excepting a few forays by Lennon (the first solo on “Long Tall Sally,” for instance).
He was also granted limited space as a writer and singer on each earlier Beatles LP, but Revolver was his coming-out moment. The album featured three of his cuts, including the opening “Taxman,” the taut, high-energy track that establishes the record’s mood. But Harrison didn’t play its fuzzed-out, virtuosic solo.
“There was a bit of tension on that session,” Emerick recalls, “because George had a great deal of trouble playing the solo – in fact, he couldn’t even do a proper job of it when we slowed the tape down to half speed. After a couple of hours of watching him struggle, both Paul and George Martin starting becoming quite frustrated – this was, after all, a Harrison song and therefore not something anyone was prepared to spend a whole lot of time on.”
Ouch. Enter, then, McCartney, who played one of the decade’s finest solos. Harrison’s mark as a guitarist would be better made with the backwards sequence on “I’m Only Sleeping,” and his R&B-style break on McCartney’s “Got to Get You Into My Life.”