Taxman By The Beatles


1966 | Rock

Spotify | Amazon

"Now my advice for those who die, declare the pennies on your eyes. -- 'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman, and you're working for no one but me."


  • The song is the lead track on Revolver and was written by George Harrison.
  • Harrison went to Lennon because he knew McCartney wouldn't help him. Lennon didn't want to either.
  • The song was the sixth written by Harrison & included on an album.


Luke Tatum

We've probably all heard this song many times. The music of the Beatles is, after all, ubiquitous. Great lyrics! Impossible not to sing along. However, you may have missed the little nod to the politicians of the day: "Haha! Mr. Wilson" and "Haha! Mr. Heath" apply to Harold Wilson and Edward Heath. The former became Prime Minister of the UK from 1974 to 1976. During this time, incomes over £20,000 (or over £200,000 in today's money) were subject to 83% taxation. There was also a surcharge on investment income, which could yield a marginal rate of 98%. According to my reading on Wikipedia, this applied to "as many as 750,000 people." This ridiculous taxation later paved the way for other politicians promising to reduce the tax burden. The song and dance continues today. Millions of hours of human energy are spent discussing and arguing about tax rates, and we are the only ones calling for the abolition of the whole rotten system. It's a lonely road! Thanks for walking it with us.

Sherry Voluntary

Of course you’d have to have been raised under a rock not to have ever heard this song. In my opinion one of the best and most honest lines in it is “ Should five per cent appear too small / Be thankful I don't take it all / 'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah I'm the taxman.” This reminds me of the scene in The Empire Strikes Back, where Darth Vader says to Lando Calrissian when he protests that the deal they had struck is being broken by Vader, “I have altered the deal, pray I do not alter it any further. “ Just like Lord Vader, The State is aware that it holds all the cards and that it can just pressure you and intimidate you with worse treatment if you make things difficult. You never have a deal with an entity that can change any of the factors to suit itself at any time it sees fit. Taxes are a very raw deal, and just like Lando said, the deal is getting worse all the time.

Nicky P

That last verse really lays it out bare. You're out there working for the government. They let you keep what they want. 1% or 100% if they decide its theirs its theirs. In a world where they can force you to give it up compulsorily its not yours. I was listening to an interesting discussion the other day between Dave Smith and an avowed democratic socialist and the phrase I kept hearing was moral right to. I can't think of a scarier phrase in english. The only person with a moral right is the person who aquired the property voluntarily. The idea of a moral right means nothing good. Everything is up for grabs as culture and ideology change. I can't imagine a worse quicksand to base your idea of property off of.

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Nicky P

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