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Sugarplum Fairy!
Sugarplum fairy
184 Posts
4 August 2014 - 8.01am

First post after introductions!  Ever since I heard John sing 'sugarplum fairy' repeatedly at the start of A Day In The Life on the Anthology I've wondered about this.  What do you all think?  When you read about it, they always say he is using it to count himself in but I think he does it because it's on his mind for another reason. 

A few years ago when I first tried that out that song on the guitar I always used to struggle with the strumming pattern of the 5 big C chords (where the piano comes in).  But I suddenly realized after hearing Anthology that if you sing su-gar-plum-fairy it kind of does it for you.

All you gotta do is say my name! 

Mountains of East Tennessee
1097 Posts
4 August 2014 - 2.17pm

I've always felt it was just John goofing around and saying stuff to amuse himself, as he liked to do and as the other Beatles have testified to. Bootleg tapes will unearth even crazier nuggets of wisdom from John. The man liked his wordplay.

"There's no such thing as bad student... only bad teacher."


19087 Posts
4 August 2014 - 2.28pm

Yeah i dont think it was anything more than John having some fun, as he was prone to do with count-in's. I think its on a take of 'Yes It Is' when he counts in "one, two, three, bread".

Running thru the 'Yes It Is' takes reveals it to be take 5 (57 seconds into the clip below).

How on earth you're meant to concentrate when someone says bread during a count-in i dont know.

The following people thank meanmistermustard for this post:

Bulldog, Zig, Sugarplum fairy, Bongo

"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris) 

"Don't make your love suffer insecurities; Trade the baggage of "self" to set another one free" ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)

Sugarplum fairy
184 Posts
5 August 2014 - 9.14am

Interesting stuff.  I know they all did like a bit of a mess about!  If they went on for too long on occasions you can hear George Martin trying to get them to take things more seriously. ('Come on boys' etc) 

 I really did find it a useful trick to get the rhythm of the song.  Listening again, it's the piano rather than the guitar that does the sugar plum fairy thing but it definitely helped me on guitar.  I suppose we'll never really know. 🙂  Listen to the piano on that famous first 13 seconds once again though..

Cedar City, Utah
53 Posts
11 August 2014 - 6.37am

I agree it's John just having a bit of fun. In this case, I think it's a bit sweet since A Day In The Life is such a pretty song but very sad, so John gave it a childlike title to take off the edge. He was about having a bit of fun on his records. Songs like Cry Baby Cry are wonderful, and also the backing vocals of 'tit tit tit tit' during Girl also shows some of his cheekyness. a-hard-days-night-john-1

Favorite Beatle of the moment: Paul McCartney

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