Cover of the song's sheet music
|Song by the Beatles|
|from the album Abbey Road|
|Released||26 September 1969|
|Recorded||2–4, 30–31 July and 15 August 1969|
|Studio||EMI Studios, London|
"Golden Slumbers" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles from their 1969 album Abbey Road. Written by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon–McCartney, it is the sixth song of the album's climactic B-side medley. The song is followed by "Carry That Weight" and begins the progression that leads to the end of the album. The two songs were recorded together as a single piece, and both contain strings and brass arranged and scored by producer George Martin.
"Golden Slumbers" is based on the poem "Cradle Song", a lullaby by the dramatist Thomas Dekker. The poem appears in Dekker's 1603 comedy Patient Grissel. McCartney saw sheet music for "Cradle Song" at his father's home in Liverpool, left on a piano by his stepsister Ruth. Unable to read music, he created his own music. McCartney uses the first stanza of the original poem, with minor word changes, adding to it a single lyric line repeated with minor variation. In the 1885 collection "St Nicholas Songs", p. 177, is W J Henderson's music set to the poem, titled "Golden Slumbers Kiss Your Eyes". Abbey Road does not credit Dekker with the stanza or with the title. Thomas Dekker's poem was set to music by W J Henderson in 1885, Peter Warlock in 1918, also by Charles Villiers Stanford and Alfredo Casella.
McCartney was the lead vocalist. He begins the song in a soft tone appropriate for a lullaby, with piano, bass guitar, and string section accompaniment. The drums come in on the line "Golden slumbers fill your eyes", and McCartney switches to a stronger tone, both of which emphasise the switch to the refrain. McCartney said, "I remember trying to get a very strong vocal on it, because it was such a gentle theme, so I worked on the strength of the vocal on it, and ended up quite pleased with it."
The main recording session for "Golden Slumbers"/"Carry That Weight" was on 2 July 1969. John Lennon was not present, as he had been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Scotland on 1 July, and was hospitalised there until 6 July.
Drums, timpani, and additional vocals were added in an overdub session on 31 July, the same day the first trial edit of the side two medley was created, with Lennon participating in the session. On 15 August, orchestral overdubs that marked 30 musicians altogether were added to "Golden Slumbers" and five other songs on Abbey Road.
- Paul McCartney – lead vocals, piano
- George Harrison – 6-string bass guitar
- Ringo Starr – drums, timpani
- Uncredited – twelve violins, four violas, four cellos, double bass, four horns, three trumpets, trombone, bass trombone
- Dekker, Thomas; Chettle, Henry; Haughton, William (1603). The Pleasant Comodie of Patient Grissill. Google Books.
- Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York: Harmony Books. ISBN 0-517-57066-1.
- MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (Second Revised ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand). ISBN 1-84413-828-3.
- Miles, Barry (1997). Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now. New York: Henry Holt & Company. ISBN 0-8050-5249-6.
- Sheff, David (2000). All We Are Saying. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-25464-4.
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