Lady Madonna

Lady Madonna

Infobox Single
Name = Lady Madonna

Artist = The Beatles
B-side = "The Inner Light"
Released = 15 March 1968 (UK) 18 March 1968 (US)
Format = 7" single
Recorded = Abbey Road Studios,
3 February-6 February 1968
Genre = Rock and roll
Length = 2:16
Writer = Lennon/McCartney
Label = Parlophone (UK) Capitol Records (US)
Producer = George Martin
Chart position =
* #1 (UK Singles Chart)
* #1 (CAN CHUM Chart)
* #4 (US Billboard Hot 100)
Last single = "Hello, Goodbye"
This single = "Lady Madonna"
Next single = "Hey Jude"

"Lady Madonna" is a song by The Beatles, written mostly by Paul McCartney and 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 Studios during sessions on 3 February and 6 February 1968 before the Beatles left for India. This single was the last release by the band on Parlophone in the UK, where it reached #1, and Capitol Records in 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 EMI distribution, 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 Lennon helped 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").

axophone solo

The saxophone solo 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 2 and Love feature a more prominent use of Ronnie's solo, at the end of the song. In a recent BBC documentary, 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.

Other releases

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
*"1967-1970", 1973
*"20 Greatest Hits", 1982
*"Past Masters, Volume Two", 1988
*"Anthology 2", 1996 (takes 3 and 4)
*"1", 2000
*"Love", 2006

"LOVE" version

A remixed version of this song was featured in the Cirque de Soleil show "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 Organ solo 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.

Cover versions

*Fats Domino covered the song in 1968. McCartney says he may have told record producer Richard Perry that 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 Electrecord studios didn't trust the sales success of the band's own songs ("Vremuri" and "Canarul"). This was a common practice in communist countries and 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 Punkles did a Punk cover of this song on their second album "Punk!".

*Aretha Franklin covered the song, and her version served as the theme song to "Grace Under Fire" from 1993-1997.

*Beatallica has 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 Nylons covered the song on their 1996 album "Run For Cover"

*Covered by Finnish a capella band Rajaton.

*Earl Scruggs performed a bluegrass version of the song live on July 14, 2008 at Benaroya Hall in Seattle.

Cultural references

* 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.


External links

* [ Alan W. Pollack's Notes on "Lady Madonna"]

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