Mother Nature's Son
|"Mother Nature's Son"|
Cover of the song's sheet music
|Song by the Beatles|
|from the album The Beatles|
|Released||22 November 1968|
|Recorded||9 & 20 August 1968|
|Studio||EMI Studios, London|
"Mother Nature's Son"
"Mother Nature's Son" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles from their 1968 double album The Beatles (also known as "the White Album"). The song was written primarily by Paul McCartney, and credited to Lennon–McCartney. It was inspired by a lecture given by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi while the Beatles were in India. The same lecture inspired Lennon's song "Child of Nature", the tune of which he later re-used for "Jealous Guy". Although credited to the group, the song was performed by McCartney alone (with a brass arrangement by George Martin), while the other Beatles were working on other "White Album" songs.
McCartney recorded the song during the height of the tensions that marred the sessions for the White Album. On 9 August 1968, he recorded 25 takes singing and playing acoustic guitar simultaneously. Take 24 was perceived to be the best (take 2 later appeared on Anthology 3). McCartney recorded overdubs of timpani, another guitar, and drums on 20 August, when George Martin's orchestral contributions were also added. The drums were put halfway down an uncarpeted corridor with the microphones at the far end, resulting in a bongo-like staccato sound. John Lennon did not play on the recording, but McCartney said he contributed some words to the song in India. When Lennon (who hated it whenever McCartney recorded without the rest of the band) and Ringo Starr walked into the studio after McCartney had finished, "you could have cut the atmosphere with a knife", recalled engineer Ken Scott.
Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of its release, Jacob Stolworthy of The Independent listed "Mother Nature's Son" at number 15 in his ranking of the White Album's 30 tracks. He praised McCartney's vocals, writing "the anguish [in them] alone makes this one of the album's most emotional songs."
- Paul McCartney – double-tracked vocal, acoustic guitars, timpani, bass drum
- George Martin – brass arrangement
Covers and mashups
- Jack White covered the song at the White House when McCartney was being given the Gershwin Prize on 2 June 2010.
- Ramsey Lewis covered the song and used it as the title of his 1968 album Mother Nature's Son. The album includes other songs from The Beatles.
- Harry Nilsson covered the song in 1969 for his album Harry.
- John Denver covered the song on his Grammy winning An Evening with John Denver album, it was also on his 1972 album Rocky Mountain High, and after his death it became the title of a biography of Denver by John Collis.
- Gryphon covered the song in 1974 on the album Raindance.
- Sheryl Crow covered it for the movie I Am Sam.
- Danger Mouse included a sample of the song in his "mashup" version of the Jay-Z song "December 4th" for his The Grey Album.
- DJ Reset used it along with Slick Rick's "La-Di-Da-Di" for the "mashup" song "Mother Nature's Rick".
- Brad Mehldau covered the song in a medley on his album Largo and also on the album Don't Explain with tenor saxophonist Joel Frahm.
- Phish covered the song on 31 October 1994 as part of a full set covering the entire White Album. It can be found on Live Phish Volume 13.
- Carlin 2009, p. 172.
- Miles 1997, pp. 423, 490.
- Sheff 2000, p. 200.
- In The Life of...The Beatles (8 July 2018), Paul McCartney Explains "Mother Nature's Son" – Unreleased Oobu Joobu Part 6, retrieved 28 July 2018
- The Beatles Bible 2009.
- Morin 1998.
- "80 – 'Mother Nature's Son'". Rolling Stone. 100 Greatest Beatles Songs. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
- 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. 305.
- "Live Phish, Vol. 13: 10/31/94, Glens Falls Civic Center, Glens Falls, NY – Phish". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
- "Mother Nature's Son". The Beatles Bible. 2009. Retrieved 14 April 2009.
- Miles, Barry (1997). Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now. New York: Henry Holt & Company. ISBN 0-8050-5249-6.
- Morin, Cari (1998). The Evolution of Beatles' Recording Technology.
- Sheff, David (2000). All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-25464-4.
- Carlin, Peter (2009). Paul McCartney: A Life. ISBN 1-4165-6209-5.