Golden Slumbers

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Abbey Road LP.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1969

Master album


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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

“Golden Slumbers” is a song by the English rock band the Beatles from their 1969 album Abbey Road. Written by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon–McCartney, it is the sixth song of the album’s climactic B-side medley. The song is followed by “Carry That Weight” and begins the progression that leads to the end of the album. The two songs were recorded together as a single piece, and both contain strings and brass arranged and scored by producer George Martin.

Background

“Golden Slumbers” is based on the poem “Cradle Song” from the play Patient Grissel, a lullaby by the dramatist Thomas Dekker. McCartney saw sheet music for “Cradle Song” at his father’s home in Liverpool, left on a piano by his stepsister Ruth. Unable to read music, he created his own music. McCartney uses the first stanza of the original poem, with minor word changes, adding to it a single lyric line repeated with minor variation. In the 1885 collection “St Nicholas Songs”, p. 177, is W J Henderson’s music set to the poem, titled “Golden Slumbers Kiss Your Eyes”. Abbey Road does not credit Dekker with the stanza or with the title. Thomas Dekker’s poem was set to music by W J Henderson in 1885, Peter Warlock in 1918, also by Charles Villiers Stanford and Alfredo Casella.

Recording

McCartney was the lead vocalist. He begins the song in a soft tone appropriate for a lullaby, with piano, bass guitar, and string section accompaniment. The drums come in on the line “Golden slumbers fill your eyes”, and McCartney switches to a stronger tone, both of which emphasise the switch to the refrain. McCartney said, “I remember trying to get a very strong vocal on it, because it was such a gentle theme, so I worked on the strength of the vocal on it, and ended up quite pleased with it.”

The main recording session for “Golden Slumbers”/”Carry That Weight” was on 2 July 1969. John Lennon was not present, as he had been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Scotland on 1 July, and was hospitalised there until 6 July.

Drums, timpani, and additional vocals were added in an overdub session on 31 July, the same day the first trial edit of the side two medley was created, with Lennon participating in the session. On 15 August, orchestral overdubs that marked 30 musicians altogether were added to “Golden Slumbers” and five other songs on Abbey Road. […]

Paul McCartney, in “Anthology“:

I was playing the piano in Liverpool in my dad’s house, and my stepsister Ruth’s piano book was up on the stand. I was flicking through it and I came to Golden Slumbers. I can’t read music and I couldn’t remember the old tune, so I just started playing my own tune to it. I liked the words so I kept them, and it fitted with another bit of song I had.

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

[a] stereo 18 Aug 1969. crossfaded 19 Aug 1969.
UK: Apple PCS 7088 Abbey Road 1969.
US: Apple SO-383 Abbey Road 1969.
CD: EMI CDP 7 46446 2 Abbey Road 1987.

The 2d generation was an edit of two takes.

The crossfade joins this to the following song, The End; the join is in the guitar work after the last “carry that weight a long time”.

Last updated on May 14, 2021

Lyrics

Once there was a way to get back homeward
Once there was a way to get back home
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby

Golden slumbers fill your eyes
Smiles awake you when you rise
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby

Once there was a way to get back homeward
Once there was a way to get back home
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby

Officially appears on


Abbey Road

LP • Released in 1969

1:32 • Studio versionA • Stereo

Paul McCartney :
Piano, Vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
George Harrison :
Bass
George Martin :
Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Phil McDonald :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Jul 02, 1969
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
3, 4, 30, 31 Jul, 15 Aug 1969
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Aug 18, 1969
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Tripping The Live Fantastic

Official live • Released in 1990

6:42 • LiveL1 • Medley with "Carry That Weight / The End"

Performed by :
Paul McCartneyLinda McCartneyRobbie McIntoshHamish StuartPaul WickensChris Whitten
Paul McCartney :
Producer
Eddie Klein :
Assistant engineer
Matt Butler :
Assistant engineer
Peter Henderson :
Producer
Bob Clearmountain :
Mixing engineer, Producer
Jeff Cohen :
Recording engineer
Geoff Foster :
Assistant engineer
Scott Hull :
Assistant engineer
George Cowan :
Assistant engineer
Paul Rushbrook :
Assistant engineer

Concert From the concert in Toronto, Canada on Dec 07, 1989


Tripping the Live Fantastic: Highlights!

Official live • Released in 1990

6:41 • LiveL1

Performed by :
Paul McCartneyLinda McCartneyRobbie McIntoshHamish StuartPaul WickensChris Whitten
Paul McCartney :
Producer
Eddie Klein :
Assistant engineer
Matt Butler :
Assistant engineer
Peter Henderson :
Producer
Bob Clearmountain :
Mixing engineer, Producer
Jeff Cohen :
Recording engineer
Geoff Foster :
Assistant engineer
Scott Hull :
Assistant engineer
George Cowan :
Assistant engineer
Paul Rushbrook :
Assistant engineer

Concert From the concert in Toronto, Canada on Dec 07, 1989


Abbey Road (Stereo - 2009 remaster)

Official album • Released in 2009

1:32 • Studio versionA2009 • Stereo • 2009 stereo remaster

Paul McCartney :
Piano, Vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
George Harrison :
Bass
George Martin :
Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Phil McDonald :
Recording engineer
Guy Massey :
Remastering
Steve Rooke :
Remastering
Allan Rouse :
Project co-ordinator

Session Recording:
Jul 02, 1969
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
3, 4, 30, 31 Jul, 15 Aug 1969
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Aug 18, 1969
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Abbey Road (50th anniversary boxset)

Official album • Released in 2019

1:32 • Studio versionB • Stereo • 2019 Stereo Mix

Paul McCartney :
Piano, Vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
George Harrison :
Bass
George Martin :
Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Giles Martin :
Producer
Phil McDonald :
Recording engineer
Sam Okell :
Mix engineer

Session Recording:
Jul 02, 1969
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
3, 4, 30, 31 Jul, 15 Aug 1969
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Aug 18, 1969
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Live performances

“Golden Slumbers” has been played in 356 concerts and 2 soundchecks.

Latest concerts where Golden Slumbers has been played







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