Written by Paul McCartney, ‘Mother Nature’s Son’ was inspired by a lecture on nature given by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in India, although the song was mostly completed in Liverpool.

I seem to remember writing ‘Mother Nature’s Son’ at my dad’s house in Liverpool. I often used to do that if I’d gone up to see him. Visiting my family I’d feel in a good mood, so it was often a good occasion to write songs. So this was me doing my mother nature’s son bit. I’ve always loved the [Nat King Cole] song called ‘Nature Boy’: ‘There was a boy, a very strange and gentle boy…’ He loves nature, and ‘Mother Nature’s Son’ was inspired by that song. I’d always loved nature, and when Linda and I got together we discovered we had this deep love of nature in common. There might have been a little help from John with some of the verses.
Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

I was very fascinated by streams, and still am. I just like to see them burrowing their way to the sea, or wherever it is they go. ‘My field of grass’ was a definite nod to marijuana, because at that time we were all smoking pot and, as you may recall, I always enjoyed sticking in any little reference to that. I just incorporated the phrases because I liked having a little in-joke.

By including ‘Mother Nature’s Son’ on the White Album, it was decided that a lyrically similar one by John Lennon should remain unrecorded.

That 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
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

In the studio

‘Mother Nature’s Son’ was recorded during an often fractious period for The Beatles. Paul McCartney worked mostly alone on the song; no other Beatles appear on the recording.

On 9 August 1968 he recorded 25 takes of ‘Mother Nature’s Son’. He recorded his vocals and acoustic guitar simultaneously. Take 24 was judged to be the best attempt. Take two, meanwhile, was released on Anthology 3 in 1996.

Paul McCartney's handwritten lyrics for Mother Nature's Son

The song was completed on 20 August in studio two. Onto take 24 McCartney overdubbed timpani, another acoustic guitar part, and drums – the latter set up in the corridor outside the studio, to give a staccato effect.

McCartney worked with George Martin on the brass arrangement, also recorded on this day. John Lennon and Ringo Starr were working on ‘Yer Blues’ elsewhere in Abbey Road at the time; they did, however, briefly enter studio two.

Paul was downstairs going through the arrangement with George and the brass players. Everything was great, everyone was in great spirits. It felt really good. Suddenly, halfway through, John and Ringo walked in and you could cut the atmosphere with a knife. An instant change. It was like that for 10 minutes and then as soon as they left it felt great again. It was very bizarre.

McCartney also recorded two other songs, ‘Wild Honey Pie’ and ‘Etcetera’, during the 20 August session.

Previous song: ‘Yer Blues’
Next song: ‘Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey’
Published: |