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"I Will" was one of the songs worked on by the Beatles and their associates while in Rishikesh, India. Although the music came together fairly easily, the words were worked on in India, and remained unfinished even as recording began back in London.
This quiet song required 67 takes,and George Harrison did not play (during The Beatles sessions, the Beatles often recorded in separate studios). The 'vocal bass' comes in during the second verse of the song in the monaural version, but is featured from the beginning in the stereo version.
During take 19 of "I Will", McCartney ad-libbed an untitled and uncopyrighted song (referred to as "Can you take me back?" by author Ian MacDonald), a 28-second segment of which ended up on side 4 of the album The Beatles as what MacDonald described as “a sinister introduction to "Revolution 9"”.Also ad-libbed by McCartney was "Los Paranoias", released, together with take 1 of "I Will", in 1996 on Anthology 3.
In the televised documentary The Beatles Anthology, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr are shown relaxing on a blanket outside. Starr asks McCartney what he wrote in India and McCartney answers, "I Will." Then Harrison begins playing this on his ukulele while he and McCartney harmonize with it.
Paul McCartney – vocal, acoustic guitar, "vocal bass"
John Lennon – percussion, cymbals, maracas
Ringo Starr – bongos