Her Majesty

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Abbey Road LP.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1969
Timeline This song has been recorded in 1969
Timeline This song has been written (or started being written) in 1968 (Paul McCartney was 26 years old)

Master release


Other Beatles songs referencing Queen Elizabeth II



Mean Mr. Mustard

Officially appears on Abbey Road

Related interviews


A nostalgic slice of "Pie"

May 27, 1997 • From USA Today

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Song facts

I only had a few lines, so I decided to make it just that long. No more.

Paul McCartney – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

From Wikipedia:

“Her Majesty” 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 a brief tongue-in-cheek music hall song. Although credited to the band, McCartney is the only Beatle to appear on the track. “Her Majesty” is the final cut on the album and appears 14 seconds after the previous song “The End,” but was not listed on the original sleeve. As such, it is considered one of the first examples of a hidden track in rock music. The song is a music hall style number reminiscent of George Formby.

Recording

The song was recorded in three takes on 2 July 1969, prior to the Beatles beginning work on “Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight“. McCartney sang and simultaneously played a fingerstyle acoustic guitar accompaniment. The decision to exclude it from the Abbey Road medley was made on 30 July.

It runs only 23 seconds, but the Beatles also recorded a longer version during the Get Back sessions.

Structure and placement

The song was originally placed between “Mean Mr. Mustard” and “Polythene Pam“; McCartney decided that the sequence did not work and it was edited out of the album’s closing medley by Abbey Road Studios tape operator John Kurlander. He was instructed by McCartney to destroy the tape, but EMI policy stated that no Beatles recording was ever to be destroyed. The fourteen seconds of silence between “The End” and “Her Majesty” are the result of Kurlander’s lead-out tape added to separate the song from the rest of the recording.

The loud chord that occurs at the beginning of the song is the ending, as recorded, of “Mean Mr. Mustard”. “Her Majesty” ends abruptly because its own final note was left at the beginning of “Polythene Pam”. McCartney applauded Kurlander’s “surprise effect” and the track became the unintended closer to the LP. The crudely edited beginning and end of “Her Majesty” shows that it was not meant to be included in the final mix of the album; as McCartney says in The Beatles Anthology, “Typical Beatles – an accident.” The song was not listed on the original vinyl record’s sleeve as these had already been printed; on reprinted sleeves, however, it is listed. The CD edition corrects this.

The CD version also mimics the original LP version in that the CD contains a 14-second long silence immediately after “The End” before “Her Majesty” starts playing. Digital versions also include a 14-second long silence after “The End”.

At 23 seconds long, “Her Majesty” is the shortest song in the Beatles’ repertoire (contrasting the same album’s “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)“, their longest song apart from “Revolution 9“, an 8:22 avant-garde piece from The Beatles). Both of the original sides of vinyl close with a song that ends abruptly (the other being “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”). The song starts panned hard right and slowly pans to hard left.

In October 2009, MTV Networks released a downloadable version of the song (as well as the entire album) for the video game The Beatles: Rock Band that gave players the ability to play the missing last chord. Apple Corps granted rights to this and to other changes to Harmonix Music Systems, which developed the game. The alteration garnered controversy among some fans who preferred the recorded version’s unresolved close.

The fiftieth anniversary “Super Deluxe Edition” of Abbey Road includes a bonus track, “The Long One” that consists of a trial edit and mix of the medley, with “Her Majesty” placed between “Mean Mr. Mustard” and “Polythene Pam”.

In “Many Years From Now” by Barry Miles (1997), it is stated that Paul wrote “Her Majesty” in Scotland. Tony Macarthur, Radio Luxembourg disc jockey, said Paul played him “Her Majesty” when he interviewed him on November 20, 1968. So it’s likely the song was written during the time he spent at High Park Farm, Scotland, with his future wife Linda Eastman in early November 1968.

It was quite funny because it’s basically monarchist, with a mildly disrespectful tone, but it’s very tongue in cheek. It’s almost like a love song to the Queen.

Paul McCartney – From “Many Years From Now” by Barry Miles, 1997

You’re sitting around with an acoustic guitar, just for your own fun, and then you get a little idea, and sometimes it’s enough to finish up as a ‘big’ song. ‘Her Majesty’ was just a little fragment really, and I didn’t know what to do with it.

Paul McCartney – From “The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present” book (2021)

I didn’t want to end the [Flaming Pie] album on a big note. It was a trick similar to what we did on the end of Abbey Road with “Her Majesty”, a surprise to deflate any pomposity.

Paul McCartney – 1997 interview about his “Flaming Pie” album – Interview for USA Today, May 1997

When “The Beatles” double album was released [November 1968], at the time I did a programme with Paul, and he played [“Her Majesty”] to me at that time. In fact, it was on that [“White Album”] tape, when we were just getting levels and things...

Tony Macarthur, Radio Luxembourg disc jockey – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

Paul sang that knowing the Queen would enjoy it. We are monarchists.

Derek Taylor – Apple publicist – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

Paul performed the song live at the Party at the Palace concert from the Garden at Buckingham Palace in 2002, as part of the celebrations of the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II. “I had to do it“, he joked.

I did once perform this song for the queen. I don’t know how to break this to you, but she didn’t have a lot to say.

Paul McCartney – From “The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present” book (2021)

Before writing “Her Majesty“, Paul McCartney had previously written about the Queen when he was 10 years old and won a school essay contest ahead of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953.

Because the coronation was approaching, there was a competition for all the schools in England. You had to write an essay on the monarchy, and I liked that idea. And, lo and behold, I actually won it. I won my division. And I was very nervous because they called out my name, Paul McCartney. And I stumbled up with legs of jelly, and it was the first time I’d ever kind of really been on a stage.

Paul McCartney – interview with CBS, May 2021

Here is the essay Paul wrote in 1953:

On the Coronation Day of William the Conquerer, senseless Saxon folk gathered round Westminster Abbey to cheer their Norman king as he walked down the aisle.  The Normans thinking this was an insult turned upon the Saxons killing nearly all of them.  But on the Coronation Day of our lovely, youn queen, Queen Elizabeth II, no rioting, nor killing will take place because present day royalty rules with affection rather than force.  The crowds outside Buckingham Palace will be greater than they have been for any other Coronation, so will the processional route to the Abbey.  Preparations are going on all over the world, even in Australia poepl care preparing to take that long voyage to England.  In London, children, for a Coronation treat, are being given a free seat roadside.  For a quarter of a mile grandstands are being erected for the sake of these lucky children.  But the London children are not the only lucky children, for youngsters in other parts of Britain are receiving mugs with a portrait of the Queen engraved on the china.  Souveniers are being made ready for any tourists who come to see tho marvellous spectacle.  One of these being “The Coronation Loving Cup” which is designed to show both Queen Elizabeth the Second on the front and Queen Elizabeth the first on the back.  Another is a goblet which is being made Edinburgh and has a bubble enclosed in the stem, and in fancy letter, ER, is engraved on the glass.  One alternation is that the diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires in the crown are being dismantled, polished, and replaced by expert jewellers.  But after all this bother, many people will agree with me that it was well worth it.

Paul McCartney
From And the band begins to play…: Photo (tumblr.com)

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

[a] stereo 30 Jul 1969.
UK: Apple PCS 7088 Abbey Road 1969.
US: Apple SO-383 Abbey Road 1969.
CD: EMI CDP 7 46446 2 Abbey Road 1987.

A rough edit of the medley was done Jul 30, and the piece of tape containing this song was cut out of it, from its position between Mean Mr Mustard and Polythene Pam. The piece of tape was then rescued and used for the album. The cutting, not originally intended for release, was just slightly early at both ends: the last note of Her Majesty was lost, and the crash at the beginning is the last note of Mean Mr Mustard.

Last updated on December 31, 2021

The book "The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present", published in 2021, covers Paul McCartney's early Liverpool days, the Beatles, Wings, and solo careers, by pairing the lyrics of 154 of his songs with first-person commentaries of the circumstances in which they were written, the people and places that inspired them, and what he thinks of them now.

"Her Majesty" is one of the 154 songs covered.

Lyrics

Her Majesty's a pretty nice girl
But she doesn't have a lot to say
Her Majesty's a pretty nice girl
But she changes from day to day

I wanna tell her that I love her a lot
But I gotta get a bellyfull of wine
Her Majesty's a pretty nice girl
Someday I'm gonna make her mine
Oh, yeah, someday I'm gonna make her mine

Variations


A Stereo version • From "Abbey Road"


B 2019 Stereo Mix • From "Abbey Road (50th anniversary boxset)"

Officially appears on


Abbey Road

LP • Released in 1969

0:26 • Studio versionA • Stereo

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Vocals
George Martin :
Producer
Phil McDonald :
Recording engineer

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

Session Mixing:
Jul 30, 1969
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road


Abbey Road (Stereo - 2009 remaster)

Official album • Released in 2009

0:26 • Studio versionA2009 • Stereo • 2009 stereo remaster

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Vocals
George Martin :
Producer
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 Mixing:
Jul 30, 1969
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road


Abbey Road (50th anniversary boxset)

Official album • Released in 2019

0:26 • Studio versionB • Stereo • 2019 Stereo Mix

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Vocals
George Martin :
Producer
Giles Martin :
Producer
Phil McDonald :
Recording engineer
Sam Okell :
Mix engineer

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

Session Mixing:
Jul 30, 1969
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road


Abbey Road (50th anniversary boxset)

Official album • Released in 2019

1:34 • Alternate takeC • Takes 1–3

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Vocals
Giles Martin :
Producer
Sam Okell :
Mix engineer
Chris Sheldon :
Mix engineer

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


Abbey Road (50th anniversary boxset)

Official album • Released in 2019

0:26 • Studio versionA • Stereo • From the original mix of "The Long One", the cut of "Her Majesty" made out of it was released on "Abbey Road"

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Vocals
George Martin :
Producer
Phil McDonald :
Recording engineer

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

Session Mixing:
Jul 30, 1969
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Bootlegs


Abbey Road Sessions

Unofficial album

0:13 • Outtake • Unknown Take Mono


Abbey Road Sessions

Unofficial album

0:26 • Outtake • Take 3 Pre Overdub Stereo


Abbey Road Sessions

Unofficial album

0:25 • Outtake • Take 3 Mono


Abbey Road Sessions

Unofficial album

0:37 • Outtake • Rockband Mix Stereo


Rehearsals at 3 Savile Row

Unofficial album

2:19 • Rehearsal


Live performances

“Her Majesty” has been played in 1 concerts.

Latest concerts where Her Majesty has been played


Party At The Palace

Jun 03, 2002 • United Kingdom • London • Buckingham Palace Gardens

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