Mean Mr. Mustard
|"Mean Mr. Mustard"|
|Song by the Beatles from the album Abbey Road|
|Released||26 September 1969|
|Recorded||24–29 July 1969,
EMI Studios, London
|Abbey Road track listing|
"Mean Mr. Mustard" is a song written by John Lennon (credited to Lennon–McCartney) and performed by the Beatles on their album Abbey Road. The Abbey Road version was recorded with "Sun King" in one continuous piece.
The song was written in India; Lennon said that it was inspired by a newspaper story about a miser who concealed his cash wherever he could in order to prevent people from forcing him to spend it. On reflection, Lennon did not think highly of the composition, describing it in Anthology as "a bit of crap I wrote in India."
A demo version of the song was recorded in May 1968 at Kinfauns, George Harrison's home in Esher. It appears on Anthology 3. In this version, Mustard's sister is named Shirley. Lennon changed it to Pam when he saw the opportunity to ease the segue into the song "Polythene Pam", which follows "Mean Mr. Mustard" on the album. According to Lennon, "In 'Mean Mr. Mustard', I said 'his sister Pam'—originally it was 'his sister Shirley' in the lyric. I changed it to Pam to make it sound like it had something to do with it." Additionally, the original version of the song was a quieter acoustic rendition and was over 4 minutes in length.
As eventually recorded, "Mustard" originally was to end in the chord of D major—this would have led into the next track in the climactic medley, "Her Majesty". However, since the latter song was moved to the end of the album, "Mustard" instead hard-edits into "Polythene Pam", and thus the final note of "Mustard" would open "Her Majesty" as a stand-alone track at the album's conclusion. The complete version of "Mustard" (with its original clean ending) can be heard on The Beatles: Rock Band video game.
The version in the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band film was performed by Mean Mr. Mustard (played by Frankie Howerd) and his evil robot companions, the Computerettes. As with the performance of "She's Leaving Home" (also in the film), the computerised singing of the Computerettes was performed by the Bee Gees.
When Mojo released Abbey Road Now! in 2009, part of a continuing series of CDs of Beatles albums covered track-by-track by modern artists, "Mean Mr. Mustard" was covered by Cornershop alongside "Polythene Pam".
- John Lennon – lead and harmony vocals, piano, maracas
- Paul McCartney – harmony vocals, fuzz bass guitar
- George Harrison – lead guitar
- Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine
- The Beatles (2000). The Beatles Anthology. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. ISBN 0-8118-2684-8.
- Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York: Harmony Books. ISBN 0-517-57066-1.
- Lewisohn, Mark (1996). Anthology 3 (booklet). The Beatles. London: Apple Records. 34451.
- Turner, Steve (2005). A Hard Day's Write: The Stories Behind Every Beatles Song (3rd ed.). New York: Harper Paperbacks. ISBN 0-06-084409-4.