The Beatles' videos with info

“Baby You’re A Rich Man”

  • Published on 1967
  • Author: Lennon/McCartney
  • Track 10 on “Magical Mystery Tour”

What the Beatles said about “Baby You’re A Rich Man”

JOHN 1968: “In ‘Baby You’re a Rich Man’ the point was, stop moaning. You’re a rich man and we’re all rich men, heh, heh, baby!”

JOHN 1980: “That’s a combination of two seperate pieces, Paul’s and mine, put together and forced into one song. One-half was all mine. (sings) ‘How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people/ Now that you know who you are…’ Then Paul comes in with, (sings) ‘Baby you’re a rich man,’ which was a lick he had around.”

Info about “Baby You’re A Rich Man”

“Baby You’re A Rich Man” was released as the B-side of their “All You Need Is Love” single in July 1967. It originated from an unfinished song by John Lennon, titled “One of the Beautiful People”, to which Paul McCartney added a chorus. It is one of the best-known pop songs to make use of a clavioline, a monophonic keyboard instrument that was a forerunner to the synthesizer. Lennon played the clavioline on its oboe setting, creating a sound that suggests an Indian shehnai. The song was recorded and mixed at Olympic Sound Studios in London, making it the first of the Beatles’ EMI recordings to be entirely created outside EMI Studios.

Lennon wrote his portion of the song after attending the 14 Hour Technicolor Dream, an all-night festival held at London’s Alexandra Palace that served as a key event in the emergence of the counterculture in the UK. His lyrics address the “beautiful people” of the 1960s hippie movement and combine with the chorus to present a statement on the universality of non-material wealth. The lyrics have also invited interpretation as a message to the Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, and alternatively as a comment on fame. George Harrison performed the song during his visit to San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district in August 1967, at the height of the Summer of Love. The track later appeared on the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour album. Parts of it were used in their 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine.

“Baby, You’re a Rich Man” peaked at number 34 on America’s Billboard Hot 100 chart. Among reviewers’ varied comments on the song, Billboard admired it as “an Eastern-flavored rocker with an infectious beat and an intricate lyric”, while Pitchfork has dismissed it as “a second-rate take on John Lennon’s money-isn’t-everything theme”. In 2010, Rolling Stone ranked “Baby, You’re a Rich Man” at number 68 on its list of the “100 Greatest Beatles Songs”. The Fat Boys, Kula Shaker and the Presidents of the United States of America are among the artists who have covered the song. The Beatles recording was used at the end of the 2010 film The Social Network, about the rise of Facebook.

Personnel

  • John Lennon – double-tracked lead vocal, piano, clavioline.
  • Paul McCartney – backing vocals, bass, piano.
  • George Harrison – backing vocals, rhythm guitar, lead guitar, handclaps.
  • Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine, maracas, handclaps.

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