- Lady Madonna
Name = Lady Madonna
B-side = "The Inner Light"
15 March 1968(UK) 18 March 1968(US)
Format = 7" single
Abbey Road Studios, 3 February- 6 February 1968
Rock and roll
Length = 2:16
Parlophone(UK) Capitol Records(US)
Chart position =
* #1 (
UK Singles Chart)
* #1 (CAN
* #4 (US
Billboard Hot 100)
Last single = "
This single = "Lady Madonna"
Next single = "
"Lady Madonna" is a song by
The Beatles, written mostly by Paul McCartneyand credited to Lennon/McCartney. In March 1968 it was released as a single, backed by "The Inner Light". The song was recorded at Abbey Road Studiosduring sessions on 3 Februaryand 6 February 1968before the Beatles left for India. This single was the last release by the band on Parlophonein the UK, where it reached #1, and Capitol Recordsin the U.S., where it reached #4. All subsequent releases, starting with " Hey Jude" in August of 1968, were released on their own label Apple Records, under EMIdistribution, until the late 1970s, when Capitol and Parlophone re-released old material.
The piano playing on this song was inspired by 1950s rock/blues pianist,
Fats Domino. McCartney recalled in 1994, "'Lady Madonna' was me sitting down at the piano trying to write a bluesy boogie-woogie thing ... It reminded me of Fats Domino for some reason, so I started singing a Fats Domino impression. It took my voice to a very odd place."cite book |first=Barry |last=Miles |authorlink=Barry Miles |title=Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now |year=1997 |pages=449-450 |publisher=Henry Holt & Company |location=New York |isbn=0-8050-5249-6] Domino himself would cover the song later in 1968, and it would become his most recent U.S. Hot 100 hit (peaking at exactly #100).
The song and in particular the introduction are similar to
Humphrey Lyttelton's " Bad Penny Blues" from 1956.cite book |first=Mark |last=Lewisohn |authorlink=Mark Lewisohn |title=The Beatles Recording Sessions |year=1988 |pages=132 |publisher=Harmony Books |location=New York |isbn=0-517-57066-1] John Lennonhelped write the lyrics.cite book |first=David |last=Sheff |title=All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono |year=2000 |pages=201 |publisher=St. Martin's Press |location=New York |isbn=0-312-25464-4] The line "see how they run" was included after his suggestion (and was a theme that had been used in the previous year's " I Am the Walrus").
saxophonesolo was played by British jazz musician and club owner Ronnie Scott. The mix used in the single had much of Scott's saxophone removed, but the versions on Anthology 2and Love feature a more prominent use of Ronnie's solo, at the end of the song. In a recent BBCdocumentary, Timewatch, McCartney explained the decision behind this saying that at the time, Scott had not been impressed that his music had been hidden behind other instruments, so McCartney had decided to fix it with the most recent mix.
A variation of this song can be heard on McCartney's "
Chaos and Creation at Abbey Road" DVD(PBS Great Performances). McCartney calls it "An Old Lady in New Clothes".
"Lady Madonna" has been a regular staple on various
compilation albums released by Apple Records:
*"Hey Jude", 1970
20 Greatest Hits", 1982
Past Masters, Volume Two", 1988
Anthology 2", 1996 (takes 3 and 4)
A remixed version of this song was featured in the
Cirque de Soleilshow "LOVE". In this form, the saxophone solo is played almost un-accompanied at the very beginning of the song. After the first two verses, it changes to the riff from " Hey Bulldog" in A minor, with a remixed version of the Hammond Organsolo from " I Want You (She's So Heavy)". It then returns to the original form of the song, and at the very end a saxophone solo outro is played.
Fats Dominocovered the song in 1968. McCartney says he may have told record producer Richard Perrythat it was "based on Fats," leading to Domino's version.
*"Lady Madonna" was performed by
Romanian band Phoenix on their first EP, "Vremuri" ("Old times", 1968). The Electrecordstudios didn't trust the sales success of the band's own songs ("Vremuri" and "Canarul"). This was a common practice in communist countriesand the predominant way western music was reaching there officially.
*"Lady Madonna" was covered twice by Norwegian musician
Øystein Sunde, including a bluegrass instrumental version.
The Punklesdid a Punk cover of this song on their second album "Punk!".
Aretha Franklincovered the song, and her version served as the theme song to " Grace Under Fire" from 1993-1997.
Beatallicahas a mashed song named "Leper Madonna" which is a combination between "Lady Madonna" and Metallica's "Leper Messiah". It's included on their album Beatallica, also known as "The Grey Album".
*Canadian a capella group
The Nylonscovered the song on their 1996 album "Run For Cover"
*Covered by Finnish a capella band Rajaton.
Earl Scruggsperformed a bluegrass version of the song live on July 14, 2008 at Benaroya Hallin Seattle.
* This song can be heard in the
arcade game" Bomb Jack", at its second stage.
* It was used as the opening theme song on the
television show" Grace Under Fire" for several seasons.
* [http://www.icce.rug.nl/~soundscapes/DATABASES/AWP/lm.html Alan W. Pollack's Notes on "Lady Madonna"]
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