- Published on 1969
- Author: Starkey
- Track 5 on “Abbey Road“
- Track 25 on “The Beatles 1967-1970” (Blue Album)
GEORGE 1969: “‘Octopus’s Garden’ is Ringo’s song. It’s only the second song Ringo has ever written, mind you, and it’s lovely. Ringo gets bored with just playing drums all the time, so at home he sometimes plays a bit of piano, but unfortunately he only knows about three chords. He knows about the same on guitar too. This song gets very deep into your consciousness, though because it’s so peaceful. I suppose Ringo is writing cosmic songs these days without even realizing it.”
RINGO 1981: “He (a ship captain) told me all about octopuses– how they go ’round the sea bed and pick up stones and shiny objects and build gardens. I thought, ‘How fabulous!’ because at the time I just wanted to be under the sea, too. I wanted to get out of it for a while.”
About “Octopus’s Garden”
“Octopus’s Garden” penned and sung by Ringo Starr (credited to his birth name, Richard Starkey), found its place in Beatles’ iconic 1969 album, Abbey Road.
The inspiration for “Octopus’s Garden” came from Ringo’s interest in boating and the sea. He was on a boat trip with his family in Sardinia, Italy, and the captain of the boat told him that octopuses like to gather shiny objects and create gardens with them. This concept fascinated Ringo and he used it as the basis for the song’s lyrics. George Harrison quietly contributed to the development of the song’s chord progressions, as vividly captured in documentaries like “Let It Be” (1970) and “The Beatles: Get Back” (2021).
The initial instrumental track was laid down on April 26, 1969, featuring electric guitars (Harrison and Lennon), bass guitar (McCartney), and drums (Starr). Starr also provided a temporary guide vocal during this session. In the absence of George Martin, the Beatles themselves took on the role of producers, with Martin’s apprentice, Chris Thomas, offering assistance in the control room. It took an impressive 32 takes before the Beatles were content with the track.
During the guitar solo, backing vocals by McCartney and Harrison were processed through compressors and limiters to create a distinctive gurgling sound. Responding to Starr’s request, Harrison introduced the sound of bubbles by blowing through a straw into a glass of milk.
“Octopus’s Garden” remains a beloved gem in the Beatles’ illustrious repertoire, celebrated for its whimsy, catchy melodies, and Ringo’s endearing vocals. It continues to captivate audiences, both young and old, with its timeless charm. Notably, the Muppets have paid homage to this song in various episodes of their shows.
Meaning of “Octopus’s Garden”
The song has a whimsical and light-hearted feel, characteristic of Ringo’s songwriting style.
The lyrics describe an underwater fantasy world where the singer imagines living in an octopus’s garden, free from troubles and worries. The song is known for its catchy melody and simple, yet vivid, imagery.
“Octopus’s Garden” became one of Ringo’s signature songs and remains a beloved track among Beatles fans. It’s often praised for its cheerful, optimistic tone and is considered a classic example of the Beatles’ ability to craft memorable and accessible pop music.
- Ringo Starr – double-tracked lead vocals, drums, percussion, bubbling effects
- John Lennon – guitar
- Paul McCartney – backing vocals, bass guitar, piano
- George Harrison – backing vocals, lead guitar