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|
|Genre||Orchestral pop, lullaby|
"Good Night" is a song by the English rock band 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 their 1968 double 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, 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 22 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 orchestra consisted of 12 violins, three violas, three cellos, one harp, three flutes, one clarinet, one horn, one vibraphone, and one string bass, played by 26 musicians. 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.
Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of its release, Jacob Stolworthy of The Independent listed "Good Night" at number 28 in his ranking of the White Album's 30 tracks. He called the track, "a mediocre song sung by Ringo." He continued "Despite a vibrant orchestral arrangement from George Martin, "Good Night" – like all lullabies – might put you to sleep."
Covers and other uses
The song has been covered by several artists, including the Carpenters, Kenny Loggins (feat. Alison Krauss), Linda Ronstadt, and the Manhattan Transfer. Barbra Streisand recorded it in 1969 for her album What About Today?.
- 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
- Sheff 2000, p. 200.
- "Good Night". The Beatles Bible. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
- Stolworthy, Jacob (22 November 2018). "The Beatles' White Album tracks, ranked – from Blackbird to While My Guitar Gently Weeps". The Independent. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
- MacDonald 2005, p. 294.
- MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (Second Revised ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand). ISBN 1-84413-828-3.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Sheff, David (2000). All We Are Saying. New York: St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 0-312-25464-4.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)