Song facts: Birthday
On September 18th 1968, the Beatles recorded Birthday for the White Album.
Paul arrived early in the morning at Abbey Road to work on a guitar piece; then the other Beatles arrived later and started jamming with Paul and the track just grew out of that.
"We thought, Why not make something up? So we got a riff going and arranged it around this riff. So that is 50-50 John and me, made up on the spot and recorded all in the same evening."
"Birthday was written in the studio; just made up on the spot. I think Paul wanted to write a song like 'Happy Birthday Baby', the old fifties hit. But it was sort of made up in the studio. It was a piece of garbage."
20 takes of the song were recorded, with take 19 chosen as the best. Pattie Boyd and Yoko Ono sang backing vocals and Beatles' friend and road manager Mal Evans joined in providing hand claps.
Birthday appears as the opening track on side 2 of the Beatles' White Album and is an ode to their early rock and roll roots, with its sparse production values and simple rock structure.
- Paul McCartney – lead vocal, piano, lead guitar, handclaps
- John Lennon – lead and backing vocals, rhythm guitar, handclaps
- George Harrison – six-string bass, handclaps, backing vocals (sporadically)
- Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine, handclaps
- Pattie Harrison – backing vocal, handclaps
- Yoko Ono – backing vocal, handclaps
- Mal Evans – handclaps