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"Octopus's Garden"

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Just who in their right minds wouldn't like to be
Under the sea
In an octopus's garden


with Uncle Ringo and his friends, I ask myself...

The initial inspiration had come after a plate of squid 'n' chips aboard Peter Seller's yacht in the Med during the mid-White 'sabbatical', and a chat with the skipper about cephalopod lifestyles. Given the hell's kitchen from which he'd temporarily absconded, there really was nowhere else that everyone's favourite ambidexterous Cancerian would rather have been.

'A couple of tokes later with the guitar and we had "Octopus's Garden!"' recalled our Ritchie. Smoking that sea-weed seemed to blur his memory on that somewhat, mind you, as it was clearly far from finished when he presented it during the Let It Be sessions.

It's hardly surprising that it was George who dived in to help him out with it. Let's face it, round that time neither of 'em would've been particularly averse to pirating the Yellow Sub and buggering off to some deep-sea paradise together...

We would be so happy, you and me:
No one there to tell us what to do!


Mentioning no names, of course!

George's guitar runs (run through a Hammond speaker) are exceptional and — as elsewhere on Abbey Road — his synthesisers add to the texture. "Rubbery," said Ringo — or was that the squid? The description could be equally well applied to Paul's bassline, which he backed up on piano as John layered on some more guitar. Thirty-two takes went down during a twelve-hour sesh to get it right, the second being later released on Anthology 3.

As for Mr Starkey, what can y'say?! "Octopus's Garden", his second and final solo composition for The Beatles, has always had its fair share of airplay (waterplay?) and its inclusion on the '67-'70 collection, along with numerous Muppet renditions, have similarly helped to maintain its popularity. And why not? It is a great little song — quite 'cosmic' in its way, as George pointed out — with some clever lyrical twists: and it's as close as they ever got to 'Eight Arms To Hold You' (the working title for Help!) Ringo's innate avuncular charm comes firmly to the fore in his delivery, and he splashes around his drumkit as deftly as ever.

The Harrimacmermaid backing vox were falsetto forced and wobbled via a little GM magic, with the Starr of the Show adding the bubbles by blowing through a straw. I'll wager it weren't water in the glass, mind you! There's actually a cocktail named after the song (vermouth and gin) — and you can be pretty sure he hasn't turned his celebrated snout up at one of them, either...

I'd like to be
Under the sea
In an octopus's garden
With you!


Uh-oh: storm brewing...

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