Mean Mr Mustard

“Mean Mr Mustard”, is indeed another song by The Beatles from their long Abbey Road medley on side 2. In short, John Lennon says that inspiration for the song come from a newspaper article about a miser. However, he also says that it was a “bit of crap” he wrote while in India!

In Detail

Albums

Release Date: 26th September, 1969
Recorded: 24th, 25th, 29th July, 1969
Studio: EMI Studios, London
Genre: Rock
Track Duration: 1:06
Record Label: Apple
Songwriters: Lennon-McCartney
Producer: George Martin
Engineers: Geoff Emerick, Phil McDonald

Performers

John Lennon: lead and harmony vocals, rhythm guitar, piano, maracas
Paul McCartney: harmony vocals, fuzz bass
George Harrison: lead guitar
Ringo Starr: drums, tambourine

Track Sources

Abbey Road
Anthology 3

Mean Mr Mustard

Mean Mr Mustard is a Beatles' song from their Abbey Road album
Abbey Road (1969)
Mean Mr Mustard is a Beatles' song which is also on their
Anthology 3 Album (1996)

Written by John Lennon during his stay at Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Ashram in India while studying Transcendental Meditation, he says inspiration for the song came about from a newspaper article. That story was about a Scrooge who didn’t want to spend his money so he would hide it. However, Lennon didn’t see it as anything special:

“That’s me, writing a piece of garbage. I’d read somewhere in the newspaper about this mean guy who hid five-pound notes, not up his nose but somewhere else. No, it had nothing to do with cocaine”.

John Lennon
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

When the Beatles returned to the UK from India, they had a stack of songs to finish and record. Many of these ended up as demo versions from Kinfauns which was George Harrison’s home in Esher, Surrey. One of these demos is a copy of “Mean Mr Mustard” and that version is on their 1996 album, “Anthology 3”

The original lyrics had Shirley as the sister of Mean Mr Mustard but Lennon changed it to Pam because the next song on the long medley was “Polythene Pam“.

“In Mean Mr Mustard I said ‘his sister Pam’ – originally it was ‘his sister Shirley’ in the lyric. I changed it to Pam to make it sound like it had something to do with it [the next song on the medley]. They are only finished bits of crap that I wrote in India”.

John Lennon
Anthology

Recording Studio

With Abbey Road taking shape, “Her Majesty” was originally going to be the next track after “Mean Mr Mustard”. However, Paul McCartney decided that this combination didn’t quite work but “Polythene Pam” would.

The end chord of “Mean Mr Mustard” would perfectly segue into “Her Majesty”. However, because of the reordering of the tracks there’s a hard edit that leads into “Polythene Pam”. As a result, the end chord from “Mustard” makes up the beginning chord of “Her Majesty”. There is a full version of this song, complete with the clean ending in the The Beatles: Rock Band video game.

The Beatles began recording the song on the 24 July, 1969, together with “Sun King“. This took place in Studio Two of the EMI Studios in London during the 2.30pm-10.30pm sessions. There were 35 takes that day with the last one being suitable for the Rhythm track.

Overdubbing and further tweaking took place on the next day and on the 29th July in order to complete the song.

Author: Bobby

I have been a Beatles fan since the early 1960s so I speak from my heart and soul. It was a pleasure to accept the role of Admin on The Beatles Forum when we left our old site. If you feel that something needs correcting with the information I provide, please contact me.

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