Song facts: Octopus's Garden

Originally worked on during the Let It Be/Get Back sessions, the song was written by Ringo Starr, with some assistance from George Harrison. It became track number five on The Beatles' Abbey Road album, and the last song on which Ringo sang lead vocal. 

Ringo wrote Octopus's Garden while holidaying in Sardinia with British comedian Peter Sellers, in 1968. Starr took his family there to get a break from the turmoil in the studio. 

"I wrote Octopus's Garden in Sardinia. Peter Sellers had lent us his yacht and we went out for the day... I stayed out on deck with [the captain] and we talked about octopuses. He told me that they hang out in their caves and they go around the seabed finding shiny stones and tin cans and bottles to put in front of their cave like a garden. I thought this was fabulous, because at the time I just wanted to be under the sea too. A couple of tokes later with the guitar – and we had Octopus's Garden." - Ringo Starr

Recording

The Beatles recorded 32 takes of the rhythm track on April 26th, 1969 at Abbey Road. Paul played bass, Ringo played drums and George and John were on guitars. The second take was included on Anthology 3 in 1996 - on which Ringo sings lead vocal - vocals were later re-recorded by Ringo for the master take. The bubbling effect heard in the song was achieved by Ringo blowing bubbles in a glass of water.  

Personnel

  • Ringo Starr – lead vocal, drums, percussion
  • George Harrison – backing vocal, lead guitar
  • Paul McCartney – backing vocal, bass, piano
  • John Lennon – rhythm guitar
"Octopus's Garden is Ringo's song. It's only the second song Ringo wrote, and it's lovely. Ringo gets bored playing the drums, and at home he plays a bit of piano, but he only knows about three chords. He knows about the same on guitar. I think it's a really great song, because on the surface, it just seems like a daft kids' song, but the lyrics are great. For me, you know, I find very deep meaning in the lyrics, which Ringo probably doesn't see, but all the thing like 'resting our head on the sea bed' and 'We'll be warm beneath the storm' which is really great, you know. Because it's like this level is a storm, and if you get sort of deep in your consciousness, it's very peaceful. So Ringo's writing his cosmic songs without noticing." - George Harrison
 Abbey Road album cover, 1969. 

Abbey Road album cover, 1969. 

 Ringo Starr at Abbey Road Studios, 1969. 

Ringo Starr at Abbey Road Studios, 1969. 

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