Song facts: Dear Prudence

On August 28th 1968, The Beatles recorded Dear Prudence at Trident Studios, London. John Lennon wrote the song about Mia Farrow's sister Prudence while The Beatles were on retreat in India.

"Dear Prudence is me. Written in India. A song about Mia Farrow's sister, who seemed to go slightly barmy, meditating too long, and couldn't come out of the little hut that we were livin' in. They selected me and George to try and bring her out because she would trust us. If she'd been in the West, they would have put her away.
We got her out of the house. She'd been locked in for three weeks and wouldn't come out, trying to reach God quicker than anybody else. That was the competition in Maharishi's camp: who was going to get cosmic first. What I didn't know was I was already cosmic." - John Lennon

Mia Farrow and her sister Prudence joined The Beatles when they traveled to India in February of 1968, along with Mike Love of The Beach Boys and Scottish folk troubadour Donovan Leitch. They were there to study transcendental meditation under the tutelage of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, having met the spiritual guru the previous year in England.

Prudence Farrow got into the meditation in a big way, locking herself away in her room for days at a time. The others were worried about her seclusion and this is what inspired John to write Dear Prudence.

"Being on that course was more important to me than anything in the world. I was very focused on getting in as much meditation as possible, so that I could gain enough experience to teach it myself. I knew that i must have stuck out because I would always rush straight back to my room after lectures and meals so that I could meditate. John, George and Paul would all want to sit around jamming and having a good time and I'd be flying into my room. They were all serious about what they were doing but they just weren't as fanatical as me...
At the end of the course, just as they were leaving, George mentioned that they had written a song about me but I didn't hear it until it came out on the album. I was flattered. It was a beautiful thing to have done." - Prudence Farrow

Donovan reportedly helped John with the fingerpicking style of Dear Prudence; which was released on The Beatles' White Album on November 22nd, 1968.

Personnel

  • John Lennon – double-tracked vocal, backing vocal, electric rhythm guitar
  • Paul McCartney – backing vocal, drums, bass, piano, flügelhorn, tambourine, cowbell, handclaps
  • George Harrison – backing vocal, lead guitar, handclaps
  • Mal Evans – backing vocal, handclaps
  • Jackie Lomax – backing vocal, handclaps
George Harrison, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Donovan Leitch and Jenny Boyd in India, 1968.

George Harrison, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Donovan Leitch and Jenny Boyd in India, 1968.