The Paul McCartney Project

Octopus's Garden

Written by Ringo Starr

Album This song officially appears on the Abbey Road Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1969
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

Octopus’s Garden” is a song by The Beatles written and sung by Ringo Starr (credited to his real name Richard Starkey) from The Beatles’ 1969 album Abbey Road. George Harrison, who assisted Starr with the song, commented: “‘Octopus’s Garden’ is Ringo’s song. It’s only the second song Ringo has ever written, mind you, and it’s lovely.” He added that the song gets very deep into your consciousness “…because it’s so peaceful. I suppose Ringo is writing cosmic songs these days without even realising it.” It was the last song released by the Beatles featuring Starr on lead vocals.

Conception

The idea for the song came about when Starr was on a boat belonging to comedian Peter Sellers in Sardinia in 1968. He ordered fish and chips for lunch, but instead of fish he got squid (it was the first time he’d eaten squid, and he said, “It was OK. A bit rubbery. Tasted like chicken.“) The boat’s captain then told Starr about how octopuses travel along the sea bed picking up stones and shiny objects with which to build gardens. Starr’s songwriting was further inspired by his desire to escape mounting hostility among the Beatles; he would later admit that he had “just wanted to be under the sea, too.” Uncredited assistance in developing the song’s chord changes was provided by Harrison, who can be seen helping Starr work the song out on piano in the Let It Be documentary.

The song, which contains the lyrics “Oh what joy for every girl and boy/Knowing they’re happy and they’re safe,” is sometimes thought of as being a song for children, like “Yellow Submarine” or “All Together Now“. It has also been performed by the Muppets several times in various episodes of their shows.

Recording

The basic instrumental track was recorded 26 April 1969, with the Beatles lineup of two electric guitars (Harrison and Lennon, the latter using his fingerstyle technique as on “Julia“, “Dear Prudence“, etc.), bass guitar (McCartney) and drums (Starr). Starr also provided a temporary guide vocal. (Take 2 of the recording, featuring this guide vocal, Starr singing the first verse three times, is track 14 on disc 2 of Anthology 3.) In the absence of George Martin, the Beatles themselves were listed as producer, with Martin’s apprentice Chris Thomas present in the control room to assist. Thirty-two takes were required before the Beatles were satisfied with the track.

The backing vocals by McCartney and Harrison during the guitar solo were put through compressors and limiters to create a gurgling sound. Harrison added the sound of bubbles being blown into a glass of milk using a straw.

Re-release

The song was re-released in 2006 on the Beatles album Love, which contained remixes of classic Beatles songs. […]

FromĀ The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

[a] stereo 18 Jul 1969.
UK: Apple PCS 7088 Abbey Road 1969, Apple PCSP 718 The Beatles 1967-1970 1973.
US: Apple SO-383 Abbey Road 1969, Apple SKBO-3404 The Beatles 1967-1970 1973.
CD: EMI CDP 7 46446 2 Abbey Road 1987, EMI CDP 7 97039 2 The Beatles 1967-1970 1993.

Last updated on November 30, 2016

Lyrics

I'd like to be under the sea
In an octopus' garden in the shade
He'd let us in, knows where we've been
In his octopus' garden in the shade

I'd ask my friends to come and see
An octopus' garden with me
I'd like to be under the sea
In an octopus' garden in the shade.

We would be warm below the storm
In our little hideaway beneath the waves
Resting our head on the sea bed
In an octopus' garden near a cave

We would sing and dance around
Because we know we can't be found
I'd like to be under the sea
In an octopus' garden in the shade

We would shout and swim about
The coral that lies beneath the waves
(Lies beneath the ocean waves)
Oh what joy for every girl and boy
Knowing they're happy and they're safe
(Happy and they're safe)

We would be so happy you and me
No one there to tell us what to do
I'd like to be under the sea
In an octopus' garden with you.

Officially appears on


Abbey Road

Official album • Released in 1969

2:51 • Studio versionA • Stereo

Paul McCartney:
Backing vocals, Bass, Piano
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Effects, Percussion, Vocals
John Lennon:
Guitar
George Harrison:
Backing vocals, Lead guitar, Synthesiser
George Martin:
Producer
Phil McDonald:
Engineer
Chris Thomas:
Producer
Jeff Jarratt:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Apr 26, 1969
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs & mixing:
Apr 29, 1969
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs & mixing:
Jul 18, 1969
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road


Anthology 3

Official album • Released in 1996

2:49 • OuttakeB • Stereo • Takes 2 and 8. In August 1968, two months after recording his first solo song composition Don't Pass Me By, Ringo took a break from the White Album sessions and, while on holiday, was inspired to begin writing a second number, Octopus's Garden. The piece developed over the next few months and, in April 1969, the Beatles recorded the basic track for Abbey Road. Knowing that he would re-record his vocal as an overdub, Ringo sang a guide while playing the drums, with Paul contributing bass and John and George guitars. The master, Take 32, was brimful of added sound effects and backing vocals, but this Anthology selection is Take 2, concluding with a humorously ironic statement from the end of Take 8.

Jeff Jarratt:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Apr 26, 1969
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Love

Official album • Released in 2006

3:18 • Studio versionC • This track contains the string arrangement from "Good Night", sound effects and vocal elements from "Yellow Submarine" and elements from "Lovely Rita" and "Helter Skelter".

George Martin:
Producer
Giles Martin:
Producer
Paul Hicks:
Remix engineer
Sam Okell:
Remix engineer assistant
Chris Bolster:
Remix engineer assistant
Mirek Stiles:
Remix engineer assistant

Session Mixing:
Circa 2004-2006
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road


Abbey Road (2019)

Official album • Released in 2019

2:51 • Studio versionA2019 • Stereo • 2019 Stereo Mix

Paul McCartney:
Backing vocals, Bass, Piano
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Effects, Percussion, Vocals
John Lennon:
Guitar
George Harrison:
Backing vocals, Lead guitar, Synthesiser
George Martin:
Producer
Phil McDonald:
Engineer
Chris Thomas:
Producer
Jeff Jarratt:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Apr 26, 1969
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs & mixing:
Apr 29, 1969
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs & mixing:
Jul 18, 1969
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road


Abbey Road (2019)

Official album • Released in 2019

Alternate takeD • Take 9

Session Recording:
Apr 26, 1969
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Bootlegs


Abbey Road Sessions

Unofficial album

2:49 • Outtake • Take 2 Stereo


Abbey Road Sessions

Unofficial album

0:50 • Outtake • Unknown Takes Stereo Mono


Abbey Road Sessions

Unofficial album

2:47 • Outtake • Take 32 Mono


Abbey Road Sessions

Unofficial album

2:51 • Outtake • Take 10 Vocal Only Mono


Abbey Road Sessions

Unofficial album

2:50 • Outtake • Take 10 Stereo


Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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