The Beatles thrived on four different personalities. At their peak, they were truly unified, making music cheek-to-cheek, spending long hours – and long nights – in the studio together. Often thought of as being a caustic, rebellious rocker, John Lennon had a tender side – and he gifted one lullaby to Ringo Starr.
Initially penned for his son Julian, ‘Good Night’ shows a different aspect to his personality. Tender and true, initial demos featured Ringo Starr on drums, George Harrison on guitar, and John himself on vocals.
When it came to recording the song, however, ‘Good Night’ had shifted. Inviting producer George Martin to create a lush orchestral part, John Lennon felt the track had evolved into something different entirely.
Speaking in 1968, Ringo commented: “Everybody thinks Paul wrote ‘Goodnight’ for me to sing, but it was John who wrote it for me. He’s got a lot of soul, John has.”
Paul McCartney once mused on the track, discussing it with author Barry Miles in Many Years From Now: “I think John felt it might not be good for his image for him to sing it, but it was fabulous to hear him do it, he sang it great…”
“We heard him sing it in order to teach it to Ringo and he sang it very tenderly. John rarely showed his tender side, but my key memories of John are when he was tender, that’s what has remained with me— those moments where he showed himself to be a very generous, loving person.”
Re-visit ‘Good Night’ below.
‘The White Album’ was re-issued as a lavish box set in 2018 – find the lengthy Clash review in our archive.
Related: Julian Lennon Interviewed