“Cry Baby Cry” is a Beatles’ song from their 1968 release, the “White Album” but there’s a version on the “Anthology 3” as well. The track also ends with “Can You Take Me Back?”
Recorded: 15th, 16th and 18th July, 1968
Studio: EMI Studios, London
Track Duration: 3:03
Record Label: Apple Records
Producer: George Martin
Engineers: Geoff Emerick, Ken Scott
Cry Baby Cry
Written by John Lennon, “Cry Baby Cry” came from influences such as a TV advert and a nursery rhyme. In 1967, Lennon wrote another song inspired by a TV commercial for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, “Good Morning Good Morning“.
“I’ve got another one here, a few words, I think I got them from an advert – ‘Cry baby cry, make your mother buy'”.
The Beatles, Hunter Davies
Of course, that television advert disappeared from our screens a long time ago. However, the “Sing a Song of Sixpence” nursery rhyme is a classic which dates back to at least the 1700s and Lennon loosely based his song on that as well.
Credited to the Lennon-McCartney partnership, the song, or at least a variant of it goes back to late 1967. We know this because of some early home piano demos from John Lennon. A lot of material comes from their time in India so it’s clear that this track outdates that.
The band began recording “Cry Baby Cry” properly on the 15th July, 1968, in Studio Two of the EMI Studios, London, during the 3.30pm-3.00am session. However, they deleted those rehearsal takes and the next day they recorded 10 others.
The version on their 1996 album, “Anthology 3” is take 1 while take 10 became the master rhythm track suitable for overdubbing. The track was complete on the 18th July after a little further tweaking, in particular the addition of new lead vocals, some piano pieces and extra percussion instrumentation.
The album track that we are so familiar with has another song attached to the end, “Can You Take Me Back?“. Although sung by Paul McCartney, it is a separate song and it does actually compliment Lennon’s song.
Sing a Song of Sixpence Nursery Rhyme
Some people may not know the children’s nursery rhyme to which John Lennon took inspiration from, so we show this below. Obviously it’s easy to see just how Lennon adapted the lyrics to suit his song.
Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye.
Four and twenty blackbirds,
Baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened
The birds began to sing;
Wasn’t that a dainty dish,
To set before the king.
The king was in his counting house,
Counting out his money;
The queen was in the parlour,
Eating bread and honey.
The maid was in the garden,
Hanging out the clothes,
When down came a blackbird
And pecked off her nose.
In some cases, one of the following two verses becomes an addition to the nursery rhyme.
who sewed it on again;
He sewed it on so neatly,
the seam was never seen.
that little Jenny wren
Flew down into the garden,
and put it back again.