Good Night (Beatles song)
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Cover of the song's sheet music
|Song by the Beatles|
|from the album The Beatles|
|Released||22 November 1968|
|Recorded||28 June, 2, 22 July 1968|
EMI Studios, London
|Genre||Orchestral pop, lullaby|
"Good Night" is a song by the Beatles, composed by John Lennon, but credited to Lennon–McCartney. It is sung by Ringo Starr, the only Beatle to appear on the track. The music was provided by an orchestra arranged and conducted by George Martin. It is the last song on the Beatles' 1968 album The Beatles (also known as the "White Album").
Composition and Recording
The original version of "Good Night" featured George Harrison and John Lennon playing the melody on guitars with them and Paul McCartney singing the harmony and Ringo taking the lead vocal. Take 10 with a guitar part from take 5 was released on the 2018 50th Anniversary Box Set of The Beatles. A fragment of a rehearsal and take 34 of the song, along with an overdub of the orchestra from the close of the released version is heard on the 1996 Beatles compilation album, Anthology 3.
George Martin's arrangement is lush, and intentionally so. Lennon is said to have wanted the song to sound "real cheesy", like a Gordon Jenkins-esque Old Hollywood production number. The musicians play the following instruments: 12 violins, three violas, three cellos, one harp, three flutes, one clarinet, one horn, one vibraphone, and one string bass, which marked 26 musicians altogether. The Mike Sammes Singers also took part in the recording, providing backing vocals.
Starr became the third member of the group (after Paul McCartney and George Harrison) to record a song credited to the group without the other members performing (Lennon was the fourth with "Julia"). The song ends with Starr whispering the words: "Good night... Good night, everybody... Everybody, everywhere... Good night."
The song makes three appearances on the Beatles' soundtrack to the Cirque du Soleil production of Love. It is used as a transition between "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "Octopus's Garden". It can be heard a minor third lower than originally recorded. After the orchestral intro to the third verse of "Good Night", the same orchestral accompaniment is played over a sample of Starr freely, slowly singing the opening words to "Octopus's Garden". Later, at the end of the show, after the strains of "All You Need Is Love" have faded out, the orchestral coda of "Good Night", in its original key, G major (as well as the last bits of dialogue in the Beatles' fan club-exclusive Christmas album) brings the album to a close.
Covers and other uses
The song has been covered by several artists, including Jarvis Cocker, Pedro Aznar, the Carpenters, Ramsey Lewis, Kenny Loggins, Kidsongs, Linda Ronstadt, Cyril Stapleton, the Manhattan Transfer, Matthew Sweet, and Monkees drummer Micky Dolenz and the "Forces Sweetheart" Vera Lynn who released it as a single and performed it on a BBC TV variety show. Barbra Streisand recorded it in 1969 for her album What About Today? It was also chosen by the British band Coldplay to play out after the band had left the stage at concerts on their 2005–2006 Twisted Logic Tour.
A one-second clip of the song is heard on the Paul McCartney album Liverpool Sound Collage at 3:38 on the track "Plastic Beetle".
- Ringo Starr – lead vocal
- George Martin – celesta, orchestral arrangements
- The Mike Sammes Singers – backing vocals
- Orchestra – twelve violins, three violas, three cellos, three flutes, clarinet, horn, vibraphone, double bass, harp
- MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (Second Revised ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand). ISBN 1-84413-828-3.
- Sheff, David (2000). All We Are Saying. New York: St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 0-312-25464-4.