Octopus's Garden

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"Octopus's Garden"
Song by The Beatles

from the album Abbey Road

Released 26 September 1969
Recorded 26 April 1969 (32 takes)
29 April 1969 (overdubs)
17 July 1969 (overdubs)
18 July 1969 (overdubs)
Genre Pop rock
Length 2:51
Label Apple Records
Writer Ringo Starr
Producer George Martin, the Beatles
Abbey Road track listing

"Octopus's Garden" is a song by The Beatles written by Ringo Starr from their 1969 album Abbey Road.

George Harrison worked on the song with Ringo Starr; perhaps out of solidarity as his own songs being dismissed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.[1] Harrison commented: "'Octopus's Garden' is Ringo's song. It's only the second song Ringo has ever written, mind you, and it's lovely." He added that the song gets very deep into your consciousness "because it's so peaceful. I suppose Ringo is writing cosmic songs these days without even realising it."[2]

Background[change | edit source]

The idea for the song came about when Ringo Starr was on a boat belonging to comedian Peter Sellers in Sardinia in 1968. He ordered fish and chips for lunch, but instead of fish he got squid (it was the first time he'd eaten squid, and he said, "It was OK. A bit rubbery. Tasted like chicken.")[3] Then the boat's captain told Ringo Starr about how octopuses travel along the sea bed picking up stones and shiny objects to build gardens.[4] The Let It Be film had a scene where George Harrison is shown helping Ringo Starr work the song out on piano.

The song, which contains the lyrics "Oh what joy for every girl and boy / Knowing they're happy and they're safe,"[5] is sometimes thought of as being a song for children, like "Yellow Submarine", "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" or "All Together Now". It has also been performed by the Muppets several times in episodes of their shows.[6]

Recording[change | edit source]

The basic instrumental track was recorded April 26, 1969, with the lineup of two electric guitars (Harrison and John Lennon), bass guitar (Paul McCartney), and drums (Starr). George Martin did not produce the song, so the Beatles themselves were listed as producer, with Martin's apprentice Chris Thomas present in the control room to help. Thirty-two takes were required before the Beatles were happy with the song.[7]

The backing vocals by McCartney and Harrison during the guitar solo were put through compressors and limiters to create a gurgling sound. Harrison added the sound of bubbles being blown into a glass of milk using a straw.[8][9]

Personnel[change | edit source]

Personnel per Ian MacDonald[10]

Other websites[change | edit source]

  1. "Octopus's Garden". The Beatles Bible. http://www.beatlesbible.com/songs/octopuss-garden/. Retrieved 21 November 2009.
  2. Marks, Marvin (2009-08-23). "Abbey Road: The Beatles In Their Own Words". Music by Day. Archived from the original on 2009-09-18. http://www.webcitation.org/5jsjD06AO. Retrieved 2009-09-18.
  3. Anthology book (2000, p. 312)
  4. "Abbey Road". The Beatles Interview Dtabase. http://www.beatlesinterviews.org/dba11road.html. Retrieved 2009-09-25.
  5. http://www.brianhartzog.com/beatles/beatles-song-lyrics-to-octopuss-garden.htm
  6. Classic Sesame Street - Octopus's Garden at YouTube
  7. Lewisohn, Mark (2004). The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions. London: Hamlyn. ISBN 0-681-03189-1.
  8. DM Beatle's Site: Abbey Road (UK, 1969)
  9. "Only Some Northern Songs in Abbey Road". http://www.upv.es/~ecabrera/abbey.html.
  10. MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (Second Revised ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand). p. 351. ISBN 1-844-13828-3.