The Beatles' White Album – 2018 super deluxe box set with six CDs and Blu-rayWritten by: Lennon
Recorded: May 1968

Released: 9 November 2018

Available on:
The Beatles (White Album) 50th anniversary box set

Personnel

John Lennon: vocals, acoustic guitar
Ringo Starr: shaker

‘Child Of Nature’ was a song written by John Lennon in 1968 in India. The tune eventually resurfaced as ‘Jealous Guy’ – with different lyrics – on Lennon’s 1971 solo album Imagine.

Like Paul McCartney’s ‘Mother Nature’s Son’, the song was inspired by a lecture given by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Rishikesh, India. It is variously known as ‘Child Of Nature’ or ‘I’m Just A Child Of Nature’, after a brief mention given by Lennon in a 1980 interview for Playboy magazine.

[‘Mother Nature’s Son’] was from a lecture of Maharishi where he was talking about nature, and I had a piece called ‘I’m Just A Child Of Nature’, which turned into ‘Jealous Guy’ years later. Both inspired from the same lecture of Maharishi.
John Lennon, 1980
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

Lennon taped a demo of ‘Child Of Nature’ at Kinfauns, George Harrison’s bungalow in Esher, Surrey. The Beatles assembled there in the last week of May 1968 to record demos for the White Album. Lennon double-tracked his vocals and guitar, and a shaker – possibly played by Ringo Starr – was also added.

A number of theories have been put forward as to why The Beatles didn’t record the song for the White Album. Its lyrical similarity to ‘Mother Nature’s Son’ may have been a factor, but it seems just as likely that the innocence and openness of Lennon’s words sat uneasily next to the likes of ‘Sexy Sadie’ and ‘Yer Blues’.

January 1969 recordings

A second version was attempted by Lennon and Harrison on 2 January 1969, the first day of the ill-fated Get Back/Let It Be sessions. This time, Lennon changed the opening line to “On the road to Marrakesh”, perhaps in an attempt to distance the song from the Maharishi. A 25-second extract appeared on the Fly On The Wall bonus disc included with early copies of Let It Be… Naked.

The third version was recorded on 24 January 1969 at Apple Studios, again during the Get Back/Let It Be sessions. This was the only full-band attempt by The Beatles. A final attempt by Lennon was made on 28 January.

The release

‘Child Of Nature’ was one of the few previously widely-bootlegged songs which The Beatles chose not to include on the Anthology collections. The reason is unknown, but it seems likely that its similarity to ‘Jealous Guy’, published as a solo Lennon composition in 1971, may have been a factor.

It was, however, finally given an official release in 2018 as part of the Kinfauns demo recordings, on some formats of the 50th anniversary reissue of the White Album.

Lyrics

On the road to Rishikesh
I was dreaming more or less
And the dream I had was true
Yes, the dream I had was true

I’m just a child of nature
I don’t need much to set me free
I’m just child of nature
I’m one of nature’s children

Sunlight shining in your eyes
As I face the desert skies
And my thoughts return to home
Yes, my thoughts return to home

I’m just a child of nature
I don’t need much to set me free
I’m just a child of nature
I’m one of nature’s children

Underneath the mountain ranges
Where the wind that never changes
Touch the windows of my soul
Touch the windows of my soul

I’m just a child of nature
I don’t need much to set me free
I’m just a child of nature
I’m one of nature’s children