The Paul McCartney Project

Monkberry Moon Delight

Album This song officially appears on the Ram Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1971
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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Song facts

Paul McCartney in "Man On The Run", by Tom Doyle:

I tried to avoid any Beatles clich├ęs and just went to different places. So the songs became a little more episodic or something. I took on that kind of idea a bit more than I would’ve with The Beatles. I suppose I was just letting myself be free. So if I wanted to do “Monkberry Moon Delight” with a “piano up my nose”, then I figured, that’ll be ok.

From Beatles Bible:

Inspired by his children’s use of wordplay, Monkberry Moon Delight featured lyrics chosen more for their phonetic sound than their meaning.

The title was derived from an alternative word for milk that the McCartney children used. Further inspiration came from the 1959 Leiber and Stoller song Love Potion No. 9.

When my kids were young they used to call milk ‘monk’ for whatever reason that kids do – I think it’s magical the way that kids can develop better names for things than the real ones. In fact, as a joke, Linda and I still occasionally refer to an object by that child-language name. So, monk was always milk, and monkberry moon delight was a fantasy drink, rather like Love Potion No. 9, hence the line in the song, ‘sipping monkberry moon delight’. It was a fantasy milk shake.” Paul McCartney

Love Potion No. 9 featured a similarly surreal tale as McCartney’s later song, in which a man looking for love speaks to a gypsy who sells him the titular potion. It causes him to fall in love with all he sees, including a policeman on the street.

Monkberry Moon Delight takes the surrealism a step further, defying interpretation and logic to present an Edward Lear-esque stroll through the lighter recesses of McCartney’s imagination. As with The Beatles’ Glass Onion, it was almost a direct challenge for those fans who looked avidly for hidden meanings in his songs to spend hours poring over his wild free-association in search of autobiographical clues.

Well I know my banana is older than the rest
And my hair is a tangled Beretta
But I leave my pyjamas to Billy Budapest
And I don’t get the gist of your letter

While the music is a light canter, McCartney’s vocals were strident and strained, recalling his classic rock ‘n’ roll performances in such songs as Long Tall Sally and Oh! Darling. Linda McCartney provided the perfect counterpoint with her backing vocals, delivered without affectation.

Monkberry Moon Delight was one of two Ram songs included in Blackbird Singing, McCartney’s 2001 collection of lyrics and poetry. It featured in the section headed The Business. The other Ram song in the book was Heart Of The Country.

Monkberry Moon Delight I liked, so much so that it’s in my poetry book.” Paul McCartney, Mojo magazine, July 2001

McCartney’s gruff delivery clearly found favour with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, who recorded Monkberry Moon Delight for his 1979 album Screamin’ The Blues. McCartney used Hawkins’ version in his pre-concert tape before his 1993 concerts.

Last updated on November 10, 2018

Lyrics

So I sat in the attic
A pillow up my nose
And the wind played a dreadful cantata (ta-ta ta-ta)

So was I bound to crack with my head in this hole
And the horrible sound of tomato (matoes, matoes).

Ketch up Ketch up Super doorsy
Don't get left behind
Ketch-up behind
Be left behind
Be left behind

When I rattled the brass I'd awoken
The sinews the nerves and the veins
My piano was boldly out-spoken
Had a chance to repeat its refrain

So I stood with a knot in my stomach
Then I gazed at that terrible sight
What do your stars conceal in a barrel
Sucking Monkberry moon delight

Monkberry moon delight
Monkberry moon delight

The sinews,
The nerves and the veins.
My piano was boldly outspoken,
In attempts to repeat its refrain.

So I stood with a knot in my stomach,
And I gazed at that terrible sight
Of two youngsters concealed in a barrel,
Sucking monkberry moon delight.

Monkberry moon delight,
Monkberry moon delight.

Know no banana is older than the rest
In my hair is a tangled buretta (re-ta re-ta)
And I would leave my pyjamas to Phyllis Budapest
Don't get the gist of your letter (letter Ooh)

Ketch-up Ketch up
Cats and kittens
Don't get left behind (get left behind)
Behind get left behind
Be left behind

When I rattled the brass I'd awoken
The sinews the nerves and the veins
My piano was boldly out-spoken
Had a chance to repeat its refrain

So I stood with a knot in my stomach
Then I gazed at that terrible sight
What do your stars conceal in a barrel
Sucking Monkberry moon delight

Monkberry moon delight
Monkberry moon delight
Moon delight

Monkberry moon delight
Monkberry moon delight
Monkberry moon delight

Officially appears on


Ram

Official album • Released in 1971

5:28 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Bass, Electric guitar, Piano, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney:
Backing vocals, Producer
Denny Seiwell:
Drums, Tambourine
Hugh McCracken:
Electric guitar
Eirik Wangberg:
Mix engineer
Heather McCartney:
Backing vocals

Session Recording:
Nov 05, 1970
Studio:
CBS Studios, New York City

Overdubs:
March-April, 1971
Studio:
Sound Recorders Studio, Los Angeles

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


Thrillington

Official album • Released in 1977

4:39 • Studio versionC • Instrumental version

Percy "Thrills" Thrillington:
Producer
Richard Hewson:
Arrangements, Orchestration
Tony Clark:
Mixing, Recording
Vic Flick:
Guitar
Clem Cattini:
Drums
Herbie Flowers:
Bass
Steve Gray:
Piano
Roger Coulan:
Organ
Jim Lawless:
Percussion
Alan Parsons:
Second engineer
?:
Alto saxophones, Clarinets, String section, Trombones, Trumpets, Tuba

Session Recording:
Jun 15, 1971
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
Jun 16, 1971
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
Jun 17, 1971
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Jun 18, 1971
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road


Ram (1993)

Official album • Released in 1993

5:28 • Studio versionA

Recording:
October? and Nov 5th, 1970
Studio:
CBS Studios, New York City

Overdubs:
March-April, 1971
Studio:
Sound Recorders Studio, Los Angeles

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


Ram - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2012

5:26 • Studio versionA • Stereo version

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Bass, Electric guitar, Piano, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney:
Backing vocals, Producer
Denny Seiwell:
Drums, Tambourine
Hugh McCracken:
Electric guitar
Eirik Wangberg:
Mix engineer
Heather McCartney:
Backing vocals

Recording:
October? and Nov 5th, 1970
Studio:
CBS Studios, New York City

Recording:
March-April, 1971
Studio:
Sound Recorders Studio, Los Angeles


Ram - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2012

5:26 • Studio versionB • Mono • Mono album: 2012 remaster


Ram - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2012

4:39 • Studio versionC2012 • Thrillington: 2012 remaster

Percy "Thrills" Thrillington:
Producer
Richard Hewson:
Arrangements, Orchestration
Tony Clark:
Mixing, Recording
Vic Flick:
Guitar
Clem Cattini:
Drums
Herbie Flowers:
Bass
Steve Gray:
Piano
Roger Coulan:
Organ
Jim Lawless:
Percussion
Alan Parsons:
Second engineer
?:
Alto saxophones, Clarinets, String section, Trombones, Trumpets, Tuba

Session Recording:
Jun 15, 1971
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
Jun 16, 1971
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
Jun 17, 1971
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Jun 18, 1971
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Bootlegs


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol. 4

Unofficial album • Released in 2004

0:12 • Studio version


The Alternate Ram

Unofficial album • Released in 2004

5:22 • Alternate take • Original mono promo LP, especially made for the American AM stations. All the songs have different mixes


Ram - Ultimate Archive Collection

Unofficial album • Released in 2015

5:26 • Studio version


Ram - Ultimate Archive Collection

Unofficial album • Released in 2015

5:26 • Studio versionB • Mono


Ram - Ultimate Archive Collection

Unofficial album • Released in 2015

4:39 • Studio versionC

Percy "Thrills" Thrillington:
Producer
Richard Hewson:
Arrangements, Orchestration
Tony Clark:
Mixing, Recording
Vic Flick:
Guitar
Clem Cattini:
Drums
Herbie Flowers:
Bass
Steve Gray:
Piano
Roger Coulan:
Organ
Jim Lawless:
Percussion
Alan Parsons:
Second engineer
?:
Alto saxophones, Clarinets, String section, Trombones, Trumpets, Tuba

Session Recording:
Jun 15, 1971
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
Jun 16, 1971
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
Jun 17, 1971
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Jun 18, 1971
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road


Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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b00kface 2 years ago

The mad howlings and ad-libing near the end sound like Hey Bulldog's conclusion.