|Song by the Beatles from the album The Beatles|
|Released||22 November 1968|
|Recorded||19 and 24 July 13 and 21 August 1968, EMI Studios, London|
|The Beatles track listing|
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 towards Mia Farrow attending the course the Maharishi was teaching at his ashram. (Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Cynthia Lennon later said that they thought the story, which had come from Alexis Mardas, 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". The recorded version changed only after Harrison insisted that if the song were used he wanted the name changed and persuaded Lennon to change the title to "Sexy Sadie". Harrison recounts the event in the director's cut of the Anthology film. Derek Taylor remembered Lennon's fiddling about scratching the wood in the Apple offices. The wood ended up in the possession of Maureen Starkey and was ultimately sold to a Beatles collector.
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 fade-out was originally longer and featured a breakdown based around the middle eight. This was edited out prior to mixing.
In a 1969 interview, Lennon stated one of his favourite songs was "I've Been Good To You" by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. The Miracles song begins with the line Look what you've done / You made a fool out of someone, compared to Sexy Sadie's What have you done? / You made a fool of everyone.
- As described in Vincent Bugliosi's Helter Skelter, Charles Manson took the title of this song as a reference to Manson Family member Susan Atkins, who was nicknamed Sadie Mae Glutz, prior to the release of the White Album.
- Ringo Starr referenced the song in the lyrics of both "Devil Woman" (from 1973's Ringo) and "Drumming is My Madness" (from 1981's Stop and Smell the Roses).
- George Harrison also referenced the song in "Simply Shady", from his 1974 album Dark Horse.
- The song inspired one of the characters' names in the 2007 Beatles-themed film Across the Universe, Sadie (played by Dana Fuchs).
- The band Sexy Sadie took their name from this song.
- Jet's song "Look What You've Done" contains the line, "Look what you've done/You've made a fool of everyone."
- The main piano riff in the Radiohead song "Karma Police" is inspired by the piano part in this song.
When Mojo released The White Album Recovered in 2008, part of a continuing series of CDs of Beatles albums covered track-by-track by modern artists, the track was covered by Rachel Unthank and the Winterset. The disc also featured a bonus track of the same song performed by Paul Weller.
- John Lennon – lead and harmony vocals, rhythm guitar, Hammond organ
- George Harrison – lead guitar, backing vocals
- Paul McCartney – leslie piano, bass guitar, backing vocals
- Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine
- Harry, Bill (1985). The Book of Beatle Lists. Javelin. ISBN 0-7137-1521-9.
- Wenner, Jann (2000) . Lennon Remembers. Verso, W.W. Norton & Co. p. 27. ISBN 1-85984-376-X. "Yeah, there was a big hullabaloo about him trying to rape Mia Farrow or trying to get off with Mia Farrow and a few other women, things like that."
- Brown, Peter; Gaines, Steven (2002). The Love You Make: An Insider's Story of The Beatles. New York: New American Library. p. 264. ISBN 0-451-20735-1.
- Spitz, Bob (2005). The Beatles: The Biography. Boston: Little, Brown. pp. 755–757. ISBN 0-316-80352-9.
- Lennon, Cynthia (1978). A Twist of Lennon. Avon. pp. 174–176.
- The Beatles (2000). The Beatles Anthology. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. pp. 285–286. ISBN 0-8118-2684-8.
- Miles, Barry (1997). Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now. New York: Henry Holt and Company. p. 429. ISBN 0-8050-5249-6.
- Sheff, David (2000). All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Macmillan. p. 191. ISBN 0-312-25464-4.
- "93 – 'Sexy Sadie'". 100 Greatest Beatles Songs. Rolling Stone.
- Webb, Robert (15 September 2006). "Story of the Song: 'Karma Police' Radiohead (1997)". The Independent. Accessed on 15 October 2008.