What's The New Mary Jane

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Anthology 3 Official album.

Master album


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Song facts

What’s the New Mary Jane” is one of the rare Beatles song without any involvement from Paul McCartney. Written by John Lennon, it is still credited to “Lennon – McCartney”.

That was me, Yoko, and George sitting on the floor at EMI fooling around. Pretty good, huh?

John Lennon

From Wikipedia:

What’s the New Mary Jane” is a song written by John Lennon (credited to Lennon–McCartney) and performed by the English rock band the Beatles. It was recorded in 1968 during sessions for the double album The Beatles (also known as “the White Album”), but did not appear on that album.

Recording

An early acoustic demo of “What’s the New Mary Jane” was recorded in late May 1968, at George Harrison’s Esher home. It featured Lennon singing an octave higher than the final cut, placing the chorus at the very beginning as well as throughout, and switching the words “cooking” and “groovy” in the second verse:

She liked to be married to yeti, he cooking such groovy spaghetti.

As opposed to:

She liked to be married with yeti, he grooving such kooky spaghetti.

Another member of the Beatles can also be heard shouting “What’s the new Mary Jane? Oh, my goodness!” near the end of the demo. This variation is notably shorter than the released version, clocking in at around 2:40.

The final version of this song was recorded on 14 August 1968 during the recording sessions for the Beatles tenth album The Beatles (aka “The White Album”), with Lennon and Harrison being the only band members playing on the track. Four takes were recorded with the final being marked as the best. It was later mixed in mono on 26 September with “Glass Onion“, “Happiness Is a Warm Gun“, and “I Will” and in stereo on 14 October before being added to the shortlist for the new album. However, during the album’s final mixing stage, it was dropped due to time constraints, bringing the album down to 30 songs.

During an interview, Lennon commented on “What’s the New Mary Jane”, saying, “That was me, Yoko, and George sitting on the floor at EMI fooling around. Pretty good, huh?”

Release

After the release of The Beatles, Lennon was still adamant about releasing the song. On 26 November 1969, he and his wife Yoko Ono recorded further overdubs with plans for it to be issued as a single by the Plastic Ono Band alongside another unreleased song at the time, “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)“, which was eventually issued as the B-side of the Beatles’ “Let It Be” single in 1970. When the other Beatles heard of his plans to release a Beatle track under his own band’s name, however, the single was pulled. The song was remixed for inclusion on the album Sessions in 1985, but the album was never released due to objections by the surviving Beatles. The song, more than six minutes long, was not made available until 1996, on Anthology 3. The much shorter first take of the song, without the sound effects added by Lennon and Ono, was later included on the 50th anniversary reissue of The Beatles in 2018, along with the May 1968 demo.

Song structure

The song has three verses and a chorus (“What a shame, Mary Jane had a pain at the party”) and then about 3 minutes consisting of avant garde sound effects. The track ends with a comment from Lennon: “That’s it, before we get taken away”. (Part of the word “away” is cut off.)

Magic Alex

In a 1969 interview with NME, Lennon credited head of Apple Electronics and friend Magic Alex with writing half of the song, though this credit was later revoked without explanation. […]

Last updated on August 25, 2021

Lyrics

She looks as an African Queen
She eating twelve chapattis and cream
She tastes as Mongolian lamb
She coming from out of Bahran

What a shame Mary Jane had a pain at the party
What a shame Mary Jane what a shame Mary Jane had a pain at the party

She like to be married with Yetti
He grooving such cookie spaghetti
She jumping as Mexican bean
To make that her body morphine

What a shame Mary Jane had a pain at the party
What a shame Mary Jane what a shame Mary Jane had a pain at the party

She catch Patagonian pancake
With that one and gin party makes
She having always good contact
She making with Apple and contract

What a shame Mary Jane had a pain at the party
What a shame Mary Jane what a shame Mary Jane had a pain at the party
All together now

What a shame Mary Jane had a pain at the party
What a shame what what a shame Mary Jane had a pain at the party
What a shame what a shame what a shame what a shame
Mary Jane had a pain at the party
What a shame what a shame what a shame what a shame
Mary Jane had a pain at the party
What a shame what a shame Mary Jane had a pain at the party
What a shame what a shame what a shame
Mary Jane had a pain at the party
What a shame Mary Jane Mary Jane had a pain at the party
What a shame Mary Jane what a shame Mary Jane had a pain at the party
What a shame Mary Jane what a shame

She looks as an African Queen
She tastes as Mongolian lamb

What a shame Mary Jane what a shame Mary Jane had a pain at the party
All together now
What a shame Mary Jane had a pain at the party
What a shame what what a shame Mary Jane had a pain at the party
What a shame what a shame what a shame what a shame

Officially appears on


Anthology 3

Official album • Released in 1996

6:12 • OuttakeA • Stereo • Take 4. What's The New Mary Jane was in the running for a place on the White Album but fell at the final hurdle - remaining unissued until now. The piece was John's, and, of the four Beatles, only he and George are present. Contrary to its seemingly free-form nature, What's The New Mary Jane had a pre-planned structure, the other takes recorded at this EMI session - and also a demo recorded at Esher three months previously - proving so. The Anthology version is Take 4, the one marked "best" on the tape box at the end of the evening's work in number two studio at Abbey Road, featuring double-tracked piano and vocals (John), double-tracked guitar (George), and multitudinous sound effects contributed by Yoko Ono and the Beatles' assistant Mal Evans.

John Lennon :
Piano, Vocals
George Harrison :
Acoustic guitar
George Martin :
Producer
Mal Evans :
Accordion, Football rattle, Hand bell, Ripping paper percussion, Swanee whistle, Tambourine, Vibraphone
Yoko Ono :
Accordion, Football rattle, Hand bell, Ripping paper percussion, Swanee whistle, Tambourine, Vibraphone, Vocals
Ken Scott :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Aug 14, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Anthology 3 (2016 remaster)

Official album • Released in 2016

6:12 • OuttakeA2016 • Stereo • Take 4. What's The New Mary Jane was in the running for a place on the White Album but fell at the final hurdle - remaining unissued until now. The piece was John's, and, of the four Beatles, only he and George are present. Contrary to its seemingly free-form nature, What's The New Mary Jane had a pre-planned structure, the other takes recorded at this EMI session - and also a demo recorded at Esher three months previously - proving so. The Anthology version is Take 4, the one marked "best" on the tape box at the end of the evening's work in number two studio at Abbey Road, featuring double-tracked piano and vocals (John), double-tracked guitar (George), and multitudinous sound effects contributed by Yoko Ono and the Beatles' assistant Mal Evans.

John Lennon :
Piano, Vocals
George Harrison :
Acoustic guitar
George Martin :
Producer
Mal Evans :
Accordion, Football rattle, Hand bell, Ripping paper percussion, Swanee whistle, Tambourine, Vibraphone
Yoko Ono :
Accordion, Football rattle, Hand bell, Ripping paper percussion, Swanee whistle, Tambourine, Vibraphone, Vocals
Ken Scott :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Aug 14, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


The Beatles (50th anniversary boxset)

Official album • Released in 2018

2:42 • DemoB • Esher Demo

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

2:06 • OuttakeC • Take 1

John Lennon :
Piano, Vocals
George Harrison :
Acoustic guitar
George Martin :
Producer
Giles Martin :
Mixing engineer, Producer
Mal Evans :
Accordion, Football rattle, Hand bell, Ripping paper percussion, Swanee whistle, Tambourine, Vibraphone
Yoko Ono :
Accordion, Football rattle, Hand bell, Ripping paper percussion, Swanee whistle, Tambourine, Vibraphone, Vocals
Ken Scott :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Aug 14, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Bootlegs


Sessions

Unofficial album • Released in 2011

6:06 • Alternate take • What\'s The Mary Jane

Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.

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