A Guide to 12 Acoustic Guitar-Based Tracks on The Beatles' 'White Album'
Guitar World takes a look at the acoustic guitar-based songs on the "White Album" -- how they were written and the process they went through to become finished tracks.
"CRY BABY CRY"
Recorded July 16 & 18, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
In a conversation with Beatles biographer Hunter Davies in 1967, John Lennon speculated on the source of the lyrics to a song he'd written. "I think I got them from an advert -- 'Cry baby cry, make your mother buy:" Lennon, who changed the word "buy" to "cry" in the song's infectious refrain, transformed a crass bit of advertising copy into a charming song full of nursery-rhyme imagery about the King of Marigold, the Duchess of Kirkcaldy and a séance in the dark.
"Cry Baby Cry" shows Lennon striking a balance between the nonsensical wordplay of "I Am the Walrus," from 1967's Magical Mystery Tour EP, and the mawkish sentimentality of "Good Night," the closing track on the "White Album."
On July 16, the group recorded ten takes of the song, the final version of which features Lennon's vocal and acoustic guitar (flanged in remixing), bass, drums and organ. Added to the mix on the evening of the 16th was a harmonium played by George Martin and a piano part played by Lennon. The song was completed two days later with the recording of a new Lennon vocal, backing vocals, a new harmonium track, a tambourine and sound effects.
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