Mean Mr. Mustard

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"Mean Mr. Mustard"
Song by the Beatles from the album Abbey Road
Released 26 September 1969
Recorded 24–29 July 1969,
EMI Studios, London
Length 1:06
Label Apple
Writer(s) Lennon–McCartney
Producer(s) George Martin

"Mean Mr. Mustard" is a song written by John Lennon[1] (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.[1]


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, dismissing it in Anthology as "a bit of crap I wrote in India."[2]

A demo version of the song was recorded in May 1968 at Kinfauns, George Harrison's home in Esher. It appears on Anthology 3.[3] In this version, Mustard's sister is named Shirley.[4] 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."[4]

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.


Cover versions[edit]

  • Booker T. & the MGs covered the track on their 1970 album McLemore Avenue.
  • Lazlo Bane's cover of the song was added as the Japanes exclusive bonus track to the 11 Transistor album.
  • 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".[5]
  • Beatallica did a version that was originally titled "Mean Mr. Mustaine" in reference to former Metallica guitarist and Megadeth founder Dave Mustaine, before their label forced to use the original lyrics.[6] The music is based on "The Four Horsemen", a track Mustaine helped write under the title "Mechanix" and recorded the way he had composed with Megadeth.[7]