The Paul McCartney Project

Baby You're A Rich Man

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the All You Need Is Love / Baby You're A Rich Man 7" Single.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1967
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

Baby, You’re a Rich Man” is a song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and recorded in 1967 by the Beatles. It was released on the B-side of the Beatles’ 1967 single “All You Need Is Love“. New mixes of the song were made available on Magical Mystery Tour and Yellow Submarine Songtrack.

Background

Baby, You’re a Rich Man” was the result of combining two unfinished songs written by Lennon and McCartney, in a similar fashion to “A Day in the Life“, and “I’ve Got a Feeling“. The verses from “One of the Beautiful People” by John Lennon were combined with Paul McCartney’s previously unaccompanied “Baby, you’re a rich man …” chorus.

That’s a combination of two separate 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, da da da da.’ Then Paul comes in with [sings] ‘Baby, you’re a rich man,’ which was a lick he had around. – John Lennon, All We Are Saying, David Sheff

It is thought that McCartney wrote the lyrics of his section of the song about the band’s manager, Brian Epstein. Walter Everett writes that the song “asks an unnamed Brian Epstein what it’s like to be one of the ‘beautiful people.’” Another angle to the song is that the “Beautiful People” verses were meant as a “tip of the hat” to Epstein for finally dropping acid. The questions John raises in the verses, such as, “How often have you been there?” and “What did you see when you were there?” are roughly equivalent to Jimi Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced?” Lennon claimed, however, that the meaning of the song was that everybody is a rich man, saying, “The point was stop moaning. You’re a rich man and we’re all rich men.

Baby, You’re a Rich Man” was initially intended to be used in the Beatles upcoming movie, Yellow Submarine, but was rush-released as the B-side to “All You Need Is Love“.

Musical characteristics

The song opens in what appears to be the key of G in Mixolydian mode, a G chord moving to ♭VII/I (Fadd9/G) on “now that you know who you are“, all over a G pedal (sustained harmonic tone). Soon, however, the song moves to the key of C major and becomes reminiscent of “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” with its use of non-Western sounding gamak melodies on the clavioline. Pollack considers a notable feature in the refrain (“Baby you’re a rich man“) to be the bass move from C to G via a ♭III (B♭).

Recording

The song was mixed (in mono) on 11 May 1967 at Olympic Sound Studios. The music featured an unusual oboe-like sound which was created with a clavioline (an early forerunner of the synthesiser being a 3 octave monophonic keyboard) and a spin-echo (feed back delay) effect which was used to fill from the end of one line of the verse to the start of the next.

Mick Jagger was present at the recording and his name appears on a session tape box, possibly indicating that he provided backing vocals near the end of the song.

Releases and reception

Original releases

Baby, You’re a Rich Man” was released as the B-side of the single “All You Need Is Love” on 7 July 1967 in the United Kingdom and on 17 July 1967 in the United States. Later that year, against the Beatles’ wishes, it was included on the US album Magical Mystery Tour (made available in both mono and ‘mock stereo’).

Per its original intended use, the song featured in the 1968 film Yellow Submarine (but was not included on the original accompanying soundtrack album).

Reception

Baby, You’re a Rich Man” was ranked 68 in Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs. Author Ian MacDonald praised Starr’s drumming on the recording and compared it to his performance on the song “Rain“, citing both songs as examples of Starr’s unique drumming style.

Further releases

For a 1971 German release of the Magical Mystery Tour album, George Martin and recording engineer Geoff Emerick created the first true stereo mix of the song; unable to recreate the spin-echo effect that had been introduced at the mixing stage of the original recording, they simply omitted it. The stereo mix fades out approximately eight seconds earlier than the mono version.

When standardising the Beatles’ catalogue for world-wide Compact Disc release in 1987, the (1971 stereo) Magical Mystery Tour album was included with the otherwise British album line-up.

Baby, You’re a Rich Man” was mixed in stereo for a second time for the 1999 DVD release of the Yellow Submarine film and the accompanying Yellow Submarine Songtrack album.

In 2009, remastered stereo (per 1971) and mono (per 1967) Magical Mystery Tour album CDs were released.

Later editions of the US single also include a voice saying “Seven” or “Eleven” at the very beginning. This is before the song starts.

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

  • [a] mono 11 May 1967 at Olympic Sound.
    UK: Parlophone R5620 single 1967.
    US: Capitol 5964 single 1967, Capitol MAL 2835 Magical Mystery Tour 1967.
    CD: EMI single 1989.
  • [a1] mono, untrimmed.
    US: Capitol 5964 later issues, Capitol Starline A6300 1981.
  • [a2] mock stereo made from [a] 1967, by Capitol.
    US: Capitol SMAL 2835 Magical Mystery Tour 1967.
  • [b] stereo 22 Oct 1971 at AIR.
    Germany: Hor Zu SHZE 327 (later Odeon and Apple 1C 062-04 449) Magical Mystery Tour 1971.
    UK: Parlophone TC-PCS 3077 (cassette) Magical Mystery Tour 1976, Parlophone SGE 1 (EP) 1981.
    CD: EMI CDP 7 48062 2 Magical Mystery Tour 1987.

Mono [a] is 9 seconds longer, long fade, compared to [b]. The deep bass is reproduced much better in stereo [b], but special effects are missing, such as the “spin” echo effect at pauses between lines such as after “eye can see”, “enough to know”, etc. The untrimmed mono [a1] has the end of the word “seven” or “eleven” spoken just before the song starts.

Inexplicably the UK release of the Magical Mystery Tour LP, delayed until 1976, used Capitol masters for the LP and German Odeon masters for the cassette, so the stereo version was available in the UK only on cassette.

Last updated on November 30, 2016

Lyrics

How does it feel to be
One of the beautiful people?
Now that you know who you are
What do you want to be?
And have you traveled very far?
Far as the eye can see

How does it feel to be
One of the beautiful people?
How often have you been there?
Often enough to know
What did you see when you were there?
Nothing that doesn't show

Baby you're a rich man
Baby you're a rich man
Baby you're a rich man too
You keep all your money in a big brown bag
Inside a zoo, what a thing to do
Baby you're a rich man
Baby you're a rich man
Baby you're a rich man too

How does it feel to be
One of the beautiful people?
Tuned to a natural E
Happy to be that way
Now that you've found another key
What are you going to play?

Baby you're a rich man
Baby you're a rich man
Baby you're a rich man too
You keep all your money in a big brown bag
Inside a zoo, what a thing to do
Baby you're a rich man
Baby you're a rich man
Baby you're a rich man too

Baby you're a rich man
Baby you're a rich man
Baby you're a rich man too
Baby you're a rich man
Baby you're a rich man
Baby you're a rich man too

Officially appears on


Magical Mystery Tour (Stereo)

Official album

3:01 • Studio versionA2 • Mock stereo made from [A]

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Piano, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Maracas, Tambourine
John Lennon:
Clavioline, Piano, Vocals
George Harrison:
Guitar, Handclaps, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Keith Grant:
Engineer
Eddie Kramer:
Vibraphone
Mick Jagger:
Vocals

Session Recording:
May 11, 1967
Studio:
Olympic Sound Studios, London

Session Overdubs:
May 11, 1967
Studio:
Olympic Sound Studios, London

Session Mixing:
May 11, 1967
Studio:
Olympic Sound Studios, London


Magical Mystery Tour (Mono)

Official album • Released in 1967

3:01 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Piano, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Maracas, Tambourine
John Lennon:
Clavioline, Piano, Vocals
George Harrison:
Guitar, Handclaps, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Keith Grant:
Engineer
Eddie Kramer:
Vibraphone
Mick Jagger:
Vocals

Session Recording:
May 11, 1967
Studio:
Olympic Sound Studios, London

Session Overdubs:
May 11, 1967
Studio:
Olympic Sound Studios, London

Session Mixing:
May 11, 1967
Studio:
Olympic Sound Studios, London


All You Need Is Love / Baby You're A Rich Man

7" Single • Released in 1967

3:04 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Piano, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Maracas, Tambourine
John Lennon:
Clavioline, Piano, Vocals
George Harrison:
Guitar, Handclaps, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Keith Grant:
Engineer
Eddie Kramer:
Vibraphone
Mick Jagger:
Vocals

Session Recording:
May 11, 1967
Studio:
Olympic Sound Studios, London

Session Overdubs:
May 11, 1967
Studio:
Olympic Sound Studios, London

Session Mixing:
May 11, 1967
Studio:
Olympic Sound Studios, London


The Beatles

EP • Released in 1981

3:01 • Studio versionB

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Piano, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Maracas, Tambourine
John Lennon:
Clavioline, Piano, Vocals
George Harrison:
Guitar, Handclaps, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Keith Grant:
Engineer
Eddie Kramer:
Vibraphone
Mick Jagger:
Vocals

Session Recording:
May 11, 1967
Studio:
Olympic Sound Studios, London

Session Overdubs:
May 11, 1967
Studio:
Olympic Sound Studios, London

Session Mixing:
Oct 22, 1971
Studio:
AIR Studios, London, UK


Yellow Submarine Songtrack

Official album • Released in 1999

3:03 • Studio version

Bootlegs


Magical Mystery Tour Sessions

Unofficial album

3:01 • Alternate take • RS from take 12 stereo

Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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