Tell Me What You See is a Beatles song that first appeared on their UK album Help! and the US album Beatles VI. As with all Beatles compositions by either of the two, the song is credited to Lennon/McCartney, although it was written mainly by Paul McCartney.
Despite being one of the least well known songs in The Beatles' entire catalogue, even to its composer (McCartney's only comment: "I seem to remember it as mine... Not awfully memorable"), "Tell Me What You See" is notable for a number of reasons. The instrumentation shows just how far The Beatles had come since Please Please Me, foreshadowing their further exploration on Rubber Soul and Revolver. Following each repetition of the title phrase, there is a short, accompanied riff on a Hohner Pianet electric piano. This same instrument is featured on a number of tracks from Help!, including "You Like Me Too Much" and "The Night Before", both recorded the day before "Tell Me What You See." Also, Starr's drumming on this track is augmented with a trio of percussion instruments; a güiro, a tambourine, and a pair of claves. Although The Beatles had been using additional percussion instruments to beef up their recordings as early as "Don't Bother Me" in 1963, they had rarely been featured this prominently in the mix.
Compositionally, the song is evidence of the group's growing interest in folk music, with lyrics that are somewhat more mature and reflective than most of their earlier output. Lennon's "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" and "Help!" are two other fine examples of this growth. Although the guitar on the recording appears to be an electric, it is strummed more like an acoustic, the choice instrument of folk musicians. This effect is achieved by strumming the chord before each stanza from the bottom string to the top (high to low), then down, then up again.
- John Lennon - Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar (Fender Stratocaster)
- Paul McCartney - Lead Vocals, Bass Guitar (Hofner 500/1), Hohner Pianet C
- George Harrison - Lead Guitar (1963 Gretsch Tennesean), Guiro, Claves
- Ringo Starr - Drums, Tambourine
The song has been covered by other artists, including Jacob's Trouble.