"Good Night" is the final song by The Beatles on their self-titled album (aka The White Album). It is sung by Ringo Starr, the only Beatle to appear on the song. The music is provided by an orchestra arranged and conducted by George Martin.
John Lennon originally wrote the song as a lullaby for his son Julian when he was five years old.
George Martin's arrangement is excessively lush, and intentionally so. Lennon is said to have wanted the song to sound "real cheesy" — like a Gordon Jenkins-esque Hollywood production number. The musicians play the following instruments: twelve violins, three violas, three cellos, one harp, three flutes, one clarinet, one horn, one vibraphone and one string bass. The Mike Sammes Singers also took part in the recording.
Covers and other uses
The song has been covered by several artists, including the Carpenters, Ramsey Lewis, Kenny Loggins, Cyril Stapleton, the Manhattan Transfer, and Monkees drummer Micky Dolenz and the "Forces Sweetheart" Vera Lynn who released it as a single and performed it on a BBC TV variety show. It was also chosen by the British band Coldplay to play out after the band had left the stage at concerts on their 2005–2006 Twisted Logic Tour.
In the 1980s, it was used as the soundtrack to an animated film that was used for the daily close-down of Sydney, Australia's Seven Network affiliate, ATN-7. The sequence contained brief cartoon nudity, so it earned considerable controversy. The song was also used back in the 1970s on Greensboro, North Carolina's WFMY-TV when they were signing off the air.
A truncated version of the recording was used in the close-down of Newark, New Jersey TV station WWHT for its short-lived rock video format as "U-68" in 1986.
A later cover version, appeared in the Mexican TV '70s show El Chavo del Ocho, on the Acapulco special sung in Spanish by Chespirito and titled "Buenas noches, vecindad" (literally, "Good night, neighborhood").
A one-second clip of the song is heard on the Paul McCartney album Liverpool Sound Collage at 3:38 on the track "Plastic Beetle."
The song makes two appearances on the Beatles' soundtrack to the Cirque du Soleil production of Love. It first can be heard at the end of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" transitioning into "Octopus's Garden." It can be heard a minor third lower than originally recorded. After the orchestral intro to the third verse of "Good Night", the same orchestral accompaniment is played over a sample of Ringo Starr freely, slowly singing the opening words to "Octopus's Garden". Later, at the end of the show, after the strains of "All You Need Is Love" have faded out, the orchestral outro of "Good Night" (in its original key, G major) (as well as the last bits of dialogue in the Beatles' fan club-exclusive Christmas album) brings the album to a peaceful close.
Album: The Beatles
Released: 22 November 1968
Recorded: 28 June 1968
Genre: Pop, lullaby
Label: Apple Records
Producer: George Martin