Good Morning Good Morning

Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album artworkWritten by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 8, 16 February; 13, 28, 29 March 1967
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Geoff Emerick

Released: 1 June 1967 (UK), 2 June 1967 (US)

John Lennon: vocals, rhythm guitar
Paul McCartney: backing vocals, lead guitar, bass
George Harrison: backing vocals, lead guitar
Ringo Starr: drums, tambourine
Barrie Cameron, David Glyde, Alan Holmes: saxophone
John Lee, unknown: trombone
Tom (surname unknown): French horn

Available on:
Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Anthology 2

Born of John Lennon's post-touring retreat into suburban daydreaming, Good Morning Good Morning was inspired by a Kellogg's commercial he heard while working with the television playing in the background.

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Good Morning is mine. It's a throwaway, a piece of garbage, I always thought. The 'Good morning, good morning' was from a Kellogg's cereal commercial. I always had the TV on very low in the background when I Was writing and it came over and then I wrote the song.
John Lennon
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

The Kellogg's jingle went:

Good morning, good morning
The best to you each morning.
Sunshine breakfast, Kellogg's Corn Flakes
Crisp and full of fun.

With time signatures varying almost from bar-to-bar, Good Morning Good Morning's unruly meter was a result of Lennon's tendency to write words first before fitting the music around them.

John was feeling trapped in suburbia and was going through some problems with Cynthia. It was about his boring life at the time - there's a reference in the lyrics to 'nothing to do' and 'meet the wife'; there was an afternoon TV soap called Meet The Wife that John watched, he was that bored, but I think he was also starting to get alarm bells.
Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

The sound effects at the end of the song were taken from the Abbey Road sound effects tapes: Volume 35: Animals and Bees and Volume 57: Fox-hunt, and were used in a particular order at Lennon's insistence.

John said to me during one of the breaks that he wanted to have the sound of animals escaping and that each successive animal should be capable of frightening or devouring its predecessor! So those are not just random effects, there was actually a lot of thought put into all that.

Starting with a cock crowing, Good Morning Good Morning later features a cat, dogs barking, horses, sheep, lions, elephants, a fox being chased by dogs with hunters' horns being blown, then a cow and finally a hen.

The song was also adorned with brass, courtesy of session musicians from Sounds Inc, an instrumental group who had first met The Beatles at the Star-Club in Hamburg in April 1962.

In the studio

The Beatles began recording Good Morning Good Morning on 8 February 1967. They recorded eight takes, the final of which was considered best.

On 16 February vocals and bass guitar were added. The somewhat chaotic recording as it stood at this stage can be heard on the Anthology 2 collection, with a different vocal but minus the various overdubs that were later added.

The song was then left until 13 March, when the brass overdubs were recorded.

They spent a long time doing the overdub, about three hours or maybe longer, but John Lennon thought it sounded too straight. So we ended up flanging, limiting and compressing it, anything to make it sound unlike brass playing. It was typical John Lennon - he just wanted it to sound weird.
Richard Lush, tape operator
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

On 28 March Lennon recorded new lead vocals, and Paul McCartney performed the song's guitar solo. Lennon and McCartney then taped backing vocals. The animal sound effects were also assembled, although they weren't added until the next day.

32 responses on “Good Morning Good Morning

  1. brian

    Interesting that both the guitar solo on this song and the one on “Taxman”, both among the best recorded ones they ever did, were done by Paul. One has to remember though that in the very early days when Stu Sutcliffe played bass for them, both George and Paul played guitar on stage so Paul was fully capable of excellent guitar work.

    1. George

      Perhaps in the early days, but come 1966-67, paul’s style of guitar playing provided the perfect backdrop for Sgt. Pepper as well as a number of other songs where he provides some of the leads. I think his approach to songs is more aggressive when it comes to solos, i.e, Taxman, Good Morning, etc.

  2. Colonel Salt

    This song gets short shrift by many critics. The horns in this are terrifyingly brittle…they remind me of how annoying my alarm clock sounds to me in the morning. Very interesting track.

  3. Ray Sumby

    I heard a version of just the backing vocals on a show called “Breakfast with the Beatles” where they weren’t saying Good Morning at all, but something odd, like Good Morbing, or Good Mornink, can’t remember what exactly. Anyone know what I’m talking about?

    1. Von Bontee

      Yeah, as they approach the song’s end, John switches to “Guten Morgen” – “Good Morning” in German, for some reason. Pretty hard to hear on the final record with all the animal noises and everything.

  4. Schminking of gin

    Always preferred the Anthology version to the Pepper version. McCartney’s dancing bassline really stands out there, almost by itself at some points.

    And Ringo’s drumming here, along with Rain and I Am the Walrus, ranks as some of his absolute best

  5. Mink

    The solo in this one is rubbish. Paul’s done some flat-out brilliant lead guitar work, but this is not evidence of any of it.

    But I definitely agree that Ringo’s drumming on this, and this entire album (the last three tracks especially!), is completely off the chart!

    1. George Demake

      I Disagree. I think his solo nicely reflects the sort of odd time signatures the horns,trombone and saxes play throughout the song. He also gets some nice sustain from his amp during the middle of the solo.

      1. Happiness is a warm gun

        Yea, as a guitarist, I agree. It’s not the choice I would have made, but I like how Paul just gets into the off-kilter feel of song and runs with it. For the year it was recorded, the sustain, fuzz and fast fingerwork would have been cutting edge and out there. Keep in mind this was recorded, literally, as Jimi Hendrix was recording Are You Experienced? (BTW, AYE? was also recorded in London, which makes one wonder if there was buzz going around London studios that may have prompted Paul to try to do something “on the next level.”)

  6. Mean_Mr_Mustard

    See list: Mojo Magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitar Solos. Both “And your bird can sing” and “Something” made the list. Hmmm… No sign of “Taxman” or “Good Morning Good Morning.”

    1. paulsbass

      I’m sure you’re happy to learn that Paul played one “half” of the “And your bird can sing” solo (btw, NOT one of the 100 greatest guitar solos, imo).

      And I agree with those you praise Paul more for his insane bass-playing on this track and all other songs on Sgt. Peppers.

      1. vonbontee

        I’ve never thought of “And Your Bird…” as even HAVING a solo, not as I define it. Lotsa fine lead guitar(s), sure; but the parts they play are too obviously “composed” to function as a conventional solo per se. Just my opinion…

        Oh, and describing Paul’s “Good Morning” solo as “rubbish” = madness.

  7. Bronx Boy Billy

    paulsbass – right on, dude…the bass is wicked! Not so much difficult, no, just a way cool choice of notes to play. Yeah, man, the solo is sweet but imo no sweeter than the sweet-ass solo in Fixing A Hole.
    The Good Morning solo is faster, `tis all. “Don’t get wooed by speed!” (as my late Uncle Yakov used to say).

  8. Billy Shears

    Strange lyrics. A “Good Morning” greeting about a death. PID folks love this “clue”. Great Lennon stuff. Why put this song near the end of an album?… just before the “…Reprise”. Strange song placement. After all “Goodnight” is at the end of the “White Album”, and “The End” is well… at the end of “Abbey Road”.

  9. Luke

    Solo is pretty similar to Taxman, with the indian-style run down. Pauls guitar work – while aggressive- didnt possess the touch and the variety that we appreciate from George.

  10. ManInTheMac

    Wonderful, underrated. A song with all the Beatle hallmarks: great groove, vocal, production and lots of affectionate humor. I especially love the distorted sound on the brass. Richard Lush’s quote is illuminating. He sounds annoyed at what he views as Lennon’s arbitrary whim to make the bras sound “weird”. But let history be the judge. Was that an awesome decision or what? Straight brass would have brought the song down to earth. Instead it soars. Lennon may not have known what he was looking for but he knew when he heard it. Impeccable taste was one of the Beatle’s great strengths.

  11. SaxonMothersSon

    I always saw this as one of Lennon’s darker songs. Without the brass and animals, the beat is desperate, the words approaching existential. I mean, cmon: “Nothing to do to save his life, call his wife in” isn’t exactly Beatlie pop music. I’ve heard garage bands do this. It’s a pretty tough sounding song.
    PS Ignore 98% of John’s self reviews.

  12. Graham Paterson

    Loved this song from the first time I obtained “Sgt Pepper”. I have the mono version I got for my 12th birthday in 1978 and I love the way the chicken noises lead into “Sgt Pepper” Reprise and McCartney counting down. Well known how John Lennon got the idea from a TV commercial. I for one love the guitar solo on this.

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