Why The Beatles dropped the harmonica?

John's harmonica playing was a key feature of several early Beatles tracks - most notably on Love Me Do and Please Please Me. By 1964 however, he was becoming increasingly wary of using it as a lead instrument.

“So we started using [the harmonica] on ‘Love Me Do’,’ just for arrangement, because we used to work out arrangements … And then we stuck it on ‘Please Please Me’

George Martin liked the distinctive element that the harmonica added. He encouraged The Beatles to use it in the following two single. They did so reluctantly.

and then we stuck it on ‘From Me to You,’ like that. … It went on and on, it got into the gimmick, and then we dropped it. It got embarrassing.”


There was another reason why the harmonica was became personally embarrassing for John Lennon. This was that Bob Dylan was so closely associated with the instrument. Lennon's musical relationship with Dylan was always uneasy.

The harmonica was never fully put away, however. It plays a striking role in driving 'I Should Have Known Better' and is present on several later tracks, including Rocky Racoon.

How did John Lennon learn harmonica?

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