Shawn Phillips

Feb 03, 1943


From Wikipedia:

Shawn Phillips (born February 3, 1943) is an American singer-songwriter and musician, primarily influential in the 1960s and 1970s. His work is rooted in folk rock but straddles other genres, including jazz fusion and funk. Phillips has recorded twenty-seven albums and worked with musicians including Donovan, Paul Buckmaster, J. Peter Robinson, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Bernie Taupin, Tim Hardin, Manos Hatzidakis and many others.

Rock impresario Bill Graham described the Texas-born musician as “the best kept secret in the music business”. Phillips’ AllMusic biography states: “His refusal to pigeonhole his music – which seamlessly melds folk, rock, jazz, funk, progressive, pop, electro, classical, and global folk traditions – to meet anyone else’s expectations allowed him to retain his cult following without ever achieving the stardom that his talent seemed to merit.”

On February 24 or March 7, 1967, Shawn Phillips was in London and invited by Paul McCartney to join a Beatles session. In various interviews, Shawn Phillips claimed that he contributed to the backing vocals of “Lovely Rita“.

We’d known each other a year by that point, and Paul invited us to Abbey Road, and we went there. We went to the studio, and at some point Paul says, ‘We need backup vocals on this. This is what I want you to sing.’ So David Crosby and I went in there and we sang backup vocals on ‘Lovely Rita.’

Shawn Phillips – Interview with Goldmine, 2012, reported in When Pink Floyd Visited the Beatles’ ‘Lovely Rita’ Sessions (

Now this is something all Beatles fans will want to know. How did you get singing backup vocals on “Lovely Rita”?

I was friends with Don [Donovan]. Don was friends with Paul. Paul invited us over to the house. And about two days later, Don was talking to Paul and Paul said, “Why don’t you guys come by the studio?” And Don said, “I can’t, but Shawn can come hang out. He’s got a friend you’ll like. He’s name is Stephen Saunders.” And Paul said, “Sure, tell them to come by whenever they want.” So I showed up at the studio with Stephen, and it was as simple as that. Have you seen the picture of me in the studio with those guys and Dave Crosby?

No, I didn’t see it.

Well, there’s a picture on Facebook of some guy named Mark – I can’t remember his name now. He found the picture. And he posted this picture on Facebook. And I’m standing, smiling, behind Stephen. And John Lennon is leaning around the corner of the door. Paul McCartney was in the background, and David Crosby is standing up at the front of the picture. David and I were going into the booth to sing vocals on “Lovely Rita.”

Shawn Phillips – From Stone Cold Crazy: A Very Candid Conversation with Shawn Phillips (, 2018 – Backing vocals for “Lovely Rita” were recorded on March 7. Either Shawn Phillips didn’t visit The Beatles on February 24 but on March 7, or they did record some backing vocals on this day, and re-record them on March 7.

From The Beatles Monthly Book – April 1967 – Three friends join The Beatles in the recording box. That’s American folk singer Shawn Phillips at the back, an unidentified friend in front of him, and the man with the flat, black, wide-brimmed hat, is Byrd, Dave Crosby.
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