Sexy Sadie

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the The Beatles (Mono) LP.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1968

Master album


Related articles


The Beatles in India

February 19 to March 26, 1968

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

“Sexy Sadie” is a song by the English rock group the Beatles from their 1968 double album The Beatles (also known as “the White Album”). The song was written by John Lennon in India and credited to Lennon–McCartney. Lennon wrote the song during the Beatles’ stay in India in response to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s alleged sexual advance on actress Mia Farrow. The song has been considered an early example of a diss track.

Composition

Lennon originally wanted to title the song “Maharishi”, but changed the title to “Sexy Sadie” at George Harrison’s request. Lennon was disillusioned after Maharishi Mahesh Yogi had allegedly made a sexual advance on Mia Farrow, who was attending a course the Maharishi was teaching at his ashram in Rishikesh, India. Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Cynthia Lennon later said that they thought the story, which had come from Alexis Mardas, a.k.a. Magic Alex, had been fabricated. Lennon once said of the song: “That was inspired by Maharishi. I wrote it when we had our bags packed and were leaving. It was the last piece I wrote before I left India. I just called him ‘Sexy Sadie’ instead of (sings) ‘Maharishi what have you done, you made a fool…’ I was just using the situation to write a song, rather calculatingly but also to express what I felt. I was leaving the Maharishi with a bad taste. You know, it seems that my partings are always not as nice as I’d like them to be.” He told Rolling Stone that when the Maharishi asked why he was leaving, he replied, “Well, if you’re so cosmic, you’ll know why.”

After returning from India, Lennon scratched the lyrics into a piece of wood, with the original title “Maharishi”. According to Harrison’s account in the director’s cut of the Beatles Anthology documentary, the recorded version changed only after Harrison insisted that if the song was used its name must be changed and persuaded Lennon to retitle it “Sexy Sadie”. Derek Taylor remembered Lennon’s scratching the wood in the Apple offices. The wood ended up in Maureen Starkey’s possession and was ultimately sold to a Beatles collector.[citation needed]

According to Mark Lewisohn’s The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, an early outtake of “Sexy Sadie” features Lennon demonstrating the song’s original working lyrics to the rest of the band: “Maharishi, you little twat/Who the fuck do you think you are?/Who the fuck do you think you are?/Oh, you cunt.”

The song’s instrumental fadeout was originally longer and featured a breakdown based around the middle eight. This was edited out before mixing.

In a 1968 Rolling Stone interview, Lennon complimented the song “I’ve Been Good to You” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. The Miracles song begins with the lines “Look what you’ve done/You made a fool out of someone”, echoing “Sexy Sadie”‘s “What have you done?/You made a fool of everyone”. […]

Paul McCartney in "Many Years From Now", by Barry Miles:

It was a big scandal. Maharishi had tried to get off with one of the chicks. I said, ‘Tell me what happened?’ John said, ‘Remember that blonde American girl with the short hair? Like a Mia Farrow lookalike. She was called Pat or something.’ I said, ‘Yeah’. He said, ‘Well, Maharishi made a pass at her.’ So I said, ‘Yes? What’s wrong with that?’ ‘He said, ‘Well, you know, he’s just a bloody old letch just like everybody else. What the fuck, we can’t go following that!’

They were scandalised. And I was quite shocked at them; I said, ‘But he never said he was a god. In fact very much the opposite. He said, “Don’t treat me like a god, I’m just a meditation teacher.” There was no deal about you mustn’t touch women, was there? There was no vow of chastity involved.’ So I didn’t think it was enough cause to leave the whole meditation centre.

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

[a] mono 21 Aug 1968.
UK: Apple PMC 7068 white album 1968.

[b] stereo 14 Oct 1968.
UK: Apple PCS 7068 white album 1968.
US: Apple SWBO 101 white album 1968.
CD: EMI CDP 7 46443 2 white album 1987.

Stereo [b] has an extra tap at the start. Mono [a] lacks bass until the vocal starts.

Last updated on May 27, 2021

Lyrics

Sexy Sadie, what have you done?
You made a fool of everyone
You made a fool of everyone
Sexy Sadie, oh, what have you done?

Sexy Sadie, you broke the rules
You laid it down for all to see
You laid it down for all to see
Sexy Sadie, oh, you broke the rules

One sunny day the world was waiting for the lover
She came along to turn on everyone
Sexy Sadie, the greatest of them all

Sexy Sadie, how did you know?
The world was waiting just for you
The world was waiting just for you
Sexy Sadie, oh, how did you know?

Sexy Sadie, you'll get yours yet
However big you think you are
However big you think you are
Sexy Sadie, oh, you'll get yours yet

We gave her everything we owned just to sit at her table
Just a smile would lighten everything
Sexy Sadie, she's the latest and the greatest of them all

She made a fool of everyone
Sexy Sadie

However big you think you are
Sexy Sadie

Variations


A Mono version • From "The Beatles (Mono)"

A2009 2009 mono remaster • From "The Beatles in Mono (2009)"


B Stereo version • From "The Beatles (Stereo)"


C Take 6 • From "Anthology 3"


D 2018 stereo mix • From "The Beatles (50th anniversary boxset)"


Officially appears on


The Beatles (Mono)

LP • Released in 1968

3:15 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Guitar, Hammond organ, Piano
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Backing vocals, Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Lead guitar, Tambourine
George Martin :
Producer
Ken Scott :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Aug 13, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
Aug 21, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Aug 21, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


The Beatles (Stereo)

LP • Released in 1968

3:15 • Studio versionB • Stereo

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Guitar, Hammond organ, Piano
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Backing vocals, Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Lead guitar, Tambourine
George Martin :
Producer
Ken Scott :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Aug 13, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
Aug 21, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 14, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Anthology 3

Official album • Released in 1996

4:06 • OuttakeC • Stereo • Take 6. Recorded a month earlier and at a slower tempo than the master (which was numbered 117, although nowhere near as many takes had been recorded), this is Take 6 of Sexy Sadie, featuring the basic line-up of electric guitar, drums, organ, and a vocal from the composer John Lennon. The recording is faded out at the end because, at this point, the coda had not been finalised.

Paul McCartney :
Organ
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Acoustic guitar, Lead vocal
George Harrison :
Electric guitar
George Martin :
Producer
Ken Scott :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Jul 19, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


The Beatles (Mono - 2009 remaster)

Official album • Released in 2009

3:15 • Studio versionA2009 • Mono • 2009 mono remaster

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Guitar, Hammond organ, Piano
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Backing vocals, Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Lead guitar, Tambourine
George Martin :
Producer
Ken Scott :
Recording engineer
Paul Hicks :
Remastering
Guy Massey :
Remastering
Sean Magee :
Remastering
Allan Rouse :
Project co-ordinator

Session Recording:
Aug 13, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
Aug 21, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Aug 21, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


The Beatles (Stereo - 2009 remaster)

Official album • Released in 2009

3:15 • Studio versionB2009 • Stereo • 2009 stereo remaster

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Guitar, Hammond organ, Piano
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Backing vocals, Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Lead guitar, Tambourine
George Martin :
Producer
Ken Scott :
Recording engineer
Guy Massey :
Remastering
Steve Rooke :
Remastering
Allan Rouse :
Project co-ordinator

Session Recording:
Aug 13, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
Aug 21, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 14, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


The Beatles (Mono - 2014 vinyl)

LP • Released in 2014

3:15 • Studio versionA2014 • Mono • 2014 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Guitar, Hammond organ, Piano
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Backing vocals, Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Lead guitar, Tambourine
George Martin :
Producer
Ken Scott :
Recording engineer
Sean Magee :
Remastering
Steve Berkowitz :
Remastering

Session Recording:
Aug 13, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
Aug 21, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Aug 21, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Anthology 3 (2016 remaster)

Official album • Released in 2016

4:06 • OuttakeC2016 • Stereo • Take 6. Recorded a month earlier and at a slower tempo than the master (which was numbered 117, although nowhere near as many takes had been recorded), this is Take 6 of Sexy Sadie, featuring the basic line-up of electric guitar, drums, organ, and a vocal from the composer John Lennon. The recording is faded out at the end because, at this point, the coda had not been finalised.

Paul McCartney :
Organ
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Acoustic guitar, Lead vocal
George Harrison :
Electric guitar
George Martin :
Producer
Ken Scott :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Jul 19, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


The Beatles (50th anniversary boxset)

Official album • Released in 2018

3:15 • Studio versionD • Stereo • 2018 stereo mix

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Guitar, Hammond organ, Piano
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Backing vocals, Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Lead guitar, Tambourine
George Martin :
Producer
Giles Martin :
Producer
Ken Scott :
Recording engineer
Sam Okell :
Mixing engineer

Session Recording:
Aug 13, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
Aug 21, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
First half of 2018 ?
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road


The Beatles (50th anniversary boxset)

Official album • Released in 2018

2:26 • DemoE • Esher Demo

Paul McCartney :
Bongo (?), Maracas (?), Tambourine (?)
Ringo Starr :
Bongo (?), Maracas (?), Tambourine (?)
John Lennon :
Acoustic guitar, Vocals
George Harrison :
Acoustic guitar (?), Bongo (?), Maracas (?), Tambourine (?)
Giles Martin :
Mixing engineer, Producer

Session Recording:
Late May 1968
Studio :
George Harrison's Home, Kinfauns, Esher, Surrey, UK


The Beatles (50th anniversary boxset)

Official album • Released in 2018

3:08 • OuttakeF • Take 11

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Organ, Piano
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Acoustic guitar, Lead vocal
George Harrison :
Electric guitar
Giles Martin :
Mixing engineer, Producer

Session Recording:
Jul 19, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Bootlegs


Complete Controlroom Monitor Mixes - Volume 1

Unofficial album

1:15 • Studio version • Fuck A Duck -


Complete Controlroom Monitor Mixes - Volume 1

Unofficial album

3:36 • Studio version • Who The Fuck You Think You Are


White Album Sessions Volume 1

Unofficial album

2:28 • Studio version


White Album Sessions Volume 1

Unofficial album

4:03 • Studio version • Take 6 Stereo


White Album Sessions Volume 1

Unofficial album

0:16 • Studio version • Studio Chat Video Mix Stereo


Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.

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