How The Beatles Recorded Their Only Song with Female Vocals

All fans of The Beatles know that the members of the group sing themselves in their songs. But there is a song that has become an exception, moreover, an exception to several rules at once: it is not a member of the group and not a man who sings. We recall the history of one of the strangest tracks of The Beatles.

"The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill": the story of the creation of the track The Beatles, which features a female voice

The ninth studio album by The Beatles "White Album" came out rich in unusual compositions. One of the most memorable album songs became "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill".

The composition tells about a tiger hunter who, returning from a hunt, each time tried to find spiritual enlightenment. Only The most devoted fans of the band know how this song was written, although the history of the creation of the composition is quite interesting.

The Beatles
The Beatles

History of writing

In 1968, the musicians were in India, in the city of Rishikesh, where comprehended secrets of meditation. The training took place in a group. The course participants were an American named Nancy and her son Rick (according to another version, Bill). No one really interacted with them. Nancy and Rick went out in their spare time hunt on tigers.

One day, Nancy and Rick returned from a hunt where Rick shot animal. His mother began to tell how the poor boy regretted what he had done and that he would never have hurt a fly and was incapable of kill Living being.

John Lennon
John Lennon

When John inquired, doesn’t it seem to Rick that such behavior is destructive, Nancy stood up for her son, explaining that the predator was very close and could easily pounce and tear them to pieces. Lennon joked in his circle that the young man subsequently gave up hunting not because of remorse, but because before he killed the tiger, he managed to get scared.

Thus was born the plot of the comic song "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" ("The Long Story of Bungalow Bill"). The song turned out ironic. Already in the title, Lennon called the lyrical hero the nickname of the famous Wild West hunter Buffalo Bill. But I changed the first word to consonant "bungalow". All students of meditation courses then lived in these houses.

Buffalo Bill surrounded by Indians
Buffalo Bill surrounded by Indians

Lennon in Playboy magazine himself toldhow he came up with the idea to create this song:

 "Bungalow Bill" was written about a guy at the Maharishi's meditation camp who took a break to shoot some tigers and then returned to commune with God. There used to be a character called Jungle Jim and I combined him with Buffalo Bill. It's kind of like a teenage song with social commentary and a little joke."

Mia Farrow, an artist who was also at the camp at the time, confirms Lennon's story:

“Then came a middle-aged American woman who moved a mountain of luggage to a new private bungalow next to the Maharishi's house with her son Bill. People fled because of these newcomers, and no one was sorry when they soon left the ashram to go tiger hunting, not knowing that their presence had inspired The Beatles to create a new song, "Bungalow Bill".

Recording a song

Back home, The Beatles plunged to work on the "White Album", which included this song. "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" was recorded on October 8, 1968. Either a comic text, or something else influenced the mood that prevailed that day in the studio, but the recording turned out to be enough unusual.

The track includes two parts of different sound, separated by drum beats. The track is deliberately sloppy. During the recording, as a choral accompaniment participated allwho was in the room, in tune turned on the sound of a Spanish guitar from the studio's collection of sound effects.

There is a version that the acoustic guitar in the intro was not taken from the recordings, but was overdubbed later. The musician who performed this part was either the Australian Eric Cook or Mark Lewisohn.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono
John Lennon and Yoko Ono

But the most interesting thing about this composition is that it featured female vocals for the first and last time in the history of The Beatles. This was voice Yoko Ono, who sang the line "Not when he looks so fierce" / "No, he looked so fierce." Whose idea was it? unknown. But this is circumstantial evidence of Yoko's increasingly frequent presence during the band's recordings and interference in the creative process.

In addition to the fact that it was the first female vocal for the entire time of the group's work, it was also the first vocal of a musician who was not a member of The Beatles. The solution may seem strange, but given relationships It and Lennon at the time, everything falls into place.



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