As the Beatles rose to fame in the 1960’s, their earnings subjected them to the United Kingdom’s top tax bracket which included a whopping 95% supertax.
George Harrison, was noted as the Beatle who paid the most attention to the bands financial situation and wrote the ‘Taxman’ in response to the high levels of progressive tax.
In a 1980 interview, John Lennon recalled how the song began, “I remember the day he [Harrison] called to ask for help on ‘Taxman’, one of his first songs. I threw in a few one-liners to help the song along, because that’s what he asked for.”
Paul McCartney later explained: “George wrote that and I played guitar on it. He wrote it in anger at finding out what the taxman did. He had never known before then what he’ll do with your money.”
“We were all [upset] with the tax situation,” remembers Ringo. “We went into one mad scheme where we paid a guy to go and live in the Bahamas and hold our money for us so it would be tax-free. And in the end we had to bring all they money back, pay the taxes on it and pay this guy. So we might as well have just left it where it was.”
In 1966, the “Taxman” would become the opening track of the bands popular album, “Revolver” and was the only opening track written by George Harrison on a Beatles album.
‘Taxman’ is played by radio stations throughout the country on April 15th each year as an anthem to tax day, and now you know how it all began!
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