Much like the film, Yellow Submarine is a series of bizzare and sometimes misplaced choices and ideas. While that’s not all inherently bad, it’s does create some weird moments in the band’s history.
Released just a few months after the Beatles released the White Album, the band was not fully invested in the album itself, and cared more for the film. In fact the album itself was more of a contracual obligation, forcing the band to create four news songs that they didn’t want to.
So while the A side of Yellow Submarine features four new songs that are obviously a downgrade from where the band was in the last album (with the exception of the under appreciated Hey Bulldog), and where they were headed, the B side highlighted a member commonly referred to as the fifth Beatle.
George Martin usually worked behind the scenes on Beatles albums helping with composition, conducting, and occasionally playing piano for the band but got his own B side with the orchestral score to Yellow Submarine.
He had scored the previous Beatles movie, A Hard Day’s Night, as well but Martin really flexes his muscle here and matches the animation of the films with cartoony and harmonic sounds. If you’ve seen the movie, then hearing the song play in the background will let you incision the scene in front of you.
Just like the film, Martin created music that not only matched the image of what was shown to him, but used the imagination as well to create something a bit more. That’s why everyone in the band called him the fifth Beatle, due to the work he put out with and for the band.