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Octopus's Garden

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"Octopus's Garden"
Cover of the song's sheet music
Song by the Beatles
from the album Abbey Road
Released26 September 1969
Recorded26, 29 April, 17–18 July 1969
StudioEMI, London
Songwriter(s)Richard Starkey
Producer(s)George Martin

"Octopus's Garden" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles, written and sung by Ringo Starr (credited to his real name Richard Starkey), from their 1969 album Abbey Road. George Harrison, who assisted Starr with the song, commented: "'Octopus's Garden' is Ringo's song. It's only the second song Ringo wrote, and it's lovely." He added that the song gets very deep into the listener's consciousness "because it's so peaceful. I suppose Ringo is writing cosmic songs these days without even realising it."[3] It was the last song released by the Beatles featuring Starr on lead vocals.


The idea for the song came about when Starr was on a boat belonging to comedian Peter Sellers in Sardinia in 1968. He ordered fish and chips for lunch, but instead of fish he got squid (it was the first time he had eaten squid, and he said, "It was OK. A bit rubbery. Tasted like chicken.")[4] The boat's captain then told Starr about how octopuses travel along the sea bed picking up stones and shiny objects with which to build gardens.[5] Starr's songwriting was further inspired by his desire to escape mounting hostility among the Beatles; he would later admit that he had "just wanted to be under the sea, too". Uncredited assistance in developing the song's chord changes was provided by Harrison, who can be seen helping Starr work the song out on piano, with John Lennon later joining in with drums, in the documentaries Let It Be (1970)[6] and The Beatles: Get Back (2021), both using the same footage.

The song, which contains the lyrics "Oh what joy for every girl and boy/Knowing they're happy and they're safe,"[7] is sometimes thought of as being a song for children,[8] like "Yellow Submarine" or "All Together Now". It has also been performed by the Muppets several times in various episodes of their shows.[9]


The basic instrumental track was recorded 26 April 1969, with the Beatles lineup of two electric guitars (Harrison and Lennon),[10] bass guitar (McCartney) and drums (Starr). Starr also provided a temporary guide vocal on this date. (Take 2 of the recording, featuring this guide vocal, Starr singing the first verse three times, is track 14 on disc 2 of Anthology 3.) In the absence of George Martin, the Beatles themselves were listed as producer, with Martin's apprentice Chris Thomas present in the control room to assist. Thirty-two takes were required before the Beatles were satisfied with the track.[11]

The backing vocals by McCartney and Harrison during the guitar solo were put through compressors and limiters to create a gurgling sound. At Starr's request, Harrison[12] added the sound of bubbles by blowing through a straw into a glass of milk.[13][14]


According to Kevin Howlett:[15]

Love remix[edit]

The song was remixed in 2006 for the Beatles album Love, which contained remixes of classic Beatles songs. The remix begins with Starr's vocals over the orchestration from "Good Night", then transitions into the original instrumental backing track on the line "I'd ask my friends...", with sound effects from "Yellow Submarine" added in the background. During the guitar solo, the drum track is replaced with that of "Lovely Rita" and ends with the beginning guitar riff from "Sun King".


In 2014, Starr wrote a children's book based on and named after the song. The book, which consists of the song's lyrics, is illustrated by Ben Cort.[16][17] A CD is included with the book, including an introduction by Starr, a 2005 live version of the song,[18] the lyrics spoken as prose, and an instrumental version of the song.

Beatles cover band The Punkles did a punk cover on their fourth album For Sale sung by their drummer Markey Starkey.[19]


  1. ^ J. O'Grady, Terence (1983). The Beatles, a Musical Evolution. Twayne. p. 160. ISBN 9780805794533.
  2. ^ Halpin, Brooke (2017). Experiencing the Beatles: A Listener's Companion. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 104.
  3. ^ Marks, Marvin (23 August 2009). "Abbey Road: The Beatles in Their Own Words". Music by Day. Archived from the original on 4 September 2009. Retrieved 18 September 2009.
  4. ^ Anthology book (2000, p. 312)
  5. ^ "Abbey Road". The Beatles Interview Database. Retrieved 25 September 2009.
  6. ^ Spizer, Bruce (2003). The Beatles on Apple Records. 498 Productions. p. 166.
  7. ^ "The Beatles-"Octopus's Garden" Song Lyrics". Brianhartzog.com. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  8. ^ George Harrison,"Octopus's Garden". beatlesbible.com. 16 March 2008.
  9. ^ Octopus's Garden on Muppet Wiki
  10. ^ The Complete Beatles Chronicle ISBN 978-1-851-52975-9 p. 320
  11. ^ Lewisohn, Mark (2004). The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions. London: Hamlyn. ISBN 0-681-03189-1.
  12. ^ Experiencing the Beatles: A Listener's Companion ISBN 978-1-442-27144-9 p. 104
  13. ^ "DM Beatle's Site: Abbey Road (UK, 1969)". Webcitation.org. Archived from the original on 24 October 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  14. ^ "Abbey Road". upv.es.
  15. ^ Howlett, Kevin (2019). Abbey Road (50th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition) (book). The Beatles. Apple Records. pp. 34–35.
  16. ^ Starr, Ringo; Cort, Ben (4 February 2014). Octopus's Garden. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9781481403627. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  17. ^ Video on YouTube
  18. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-BdGchS0yk&pp=ygUhcmluZ28gc3RhcnIgb2N0b3B1cydzIGdhcmRlbiAyMDA1
  19. ^ "Performance: Octopus's Garden by The Punkles | SecondHandSongs". secondhandsongs.com. Retrieved 12 July 2022.

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