Friday, October 23, 2009

"Baby, You're a Rich Man"

"Baby, You're a Rich Man" is a song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and recorded by The Beatles on 11 May 1967 at Olympic Sound Studios by engineer Keith Grant, Chief engineer at Olympic. This was the first song by the band recorded and mixed completely outside Abbey Road Studios. The song was recorded during sessions for the Magical Mystery Tour EP, but was not intended for release there (see below). The unusual oboe-like sound was created with a clavioline.


The song started out as two different, unfinished songs. The verses taken from "One of the Beautiful People" by John Lennon, were combined with Paul McCartney's previously unaccompanied "Baby, you're a rich man..." chorus. Two songs were combined in a similar fashion to make "A Day in the Life." The melody for the verse part was used for the song "Put A Little Love In Your Heart" by Jackie DeShannon.


“Baby, You're a Rich Man” was released (in mono) as the b-side of the single “All You Need is Love” in July, 1967. Later that year, it was included (in simulated stereo) on the US album Magical Mystery Tour.

The song was the first to be recorded for the 1968 film Yellow Submarine, but was not included on the first (1969) soundtrack album. It would later be restored for the Yellow Submarine Songtrack CD.

Stereo mixes

In 1971, producer George Martin and recording engineer Geoff Emerick created the first true stereo mix of the song (for the German release of the Magical Mystery Tour album), but an effect that had been created at the mixing stage in 1967, was this time omitted. In the original mix, after the lines ‘Far as the eye can see’ and ‘Often enough to know’, there is a spin-echo (feed back delay) effect that serves to fill from the end of one line of the verse to the start of the next. Its omission from the stereo mix explains why there is an instrumental break after these lines.

For the 1999 DVD release of the Yellow Submarine film (and the accompanying Songtrack album), the song was remixed for a second time, but the spin-echo effect was again left out.

Cover versions

The Presidents of the United States of America covered this song live and The Fat Boys covered it in their movie Disorderlies.


* John Lennon – lead and backing vocals, piano, and Clavioline (an early precursor to the modern synthesizer)
* Paul McCartney – bass guitar, piano, backing vocals
* George Harrison – lead guitar, backing vocals, hand claps
* Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine, maracas, hand claps

Brian Jones (of The Rolling Stones) is sometimes misidentified as the Clavioline performer. Mick Jagger was present during the recording session, and his name also appears on a session tape box, possibly indicating that Jagger sang backing vocals on the song.

A-side: "All You Need is Love"
Released: 7 July 1967 (UK), 17 July 1967 (US)
Format: 7"
Recorded: Olympic Sound Studios, 11 May 1967
Genre: Pop rock, psychedelic
Length: 3:03
Label: Parlophone (UK)
Writer(s): Lennon/McCartney
Producer: George Martin


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