“Golden Slumbers” is a Beatles’ song on their 1969 album, “Abbey Road”.
Recorded: 2nd, 3rd, 30th, 31st July; 15th August 1969
Studio: EMI Studios, London
Genre: Art rock
Track Duration: 1:31
Record Label: Apple Records
Producer: George Martin
Engineers: Geoff Emerick, Phil McDonald
George Harrison: bass guitar
Ringo Starr: drums, timpani
Orchestral Arranger: George Martin
Uncredited: twelve violins, four violas, four cellos, double bass, four horns, three trumpets, trombone, bass trombone
Written by Paul McCartney but credited to the Lennon-McCartney partnership, “Golden Slumbers” is the sixth song in long medley on the famous “Abbey Road” album. The song is based on a poem, “Cradle Song”, by the English writer, dramatist and pamphleteer, Thomas Dekker (1572-1632).
One day, McCartney was at his father’s Liverpool home when he saw sheet music for the poem. This was on a piano which his stepsister, Ruth, was playing previously. However, McCartney was unable to read music, at least not in this format. So, he set about creating his own composition to the words.
“I was playing the piano in Liverpool in my dad’s house, and my stepsister Ruth’s piano book was up on the stand. I was flicking through it and I came to Golden Slumbers [but] I can’t read music and I couldn’t remember the old tune, so I just started playing my own tune to it. I liked the words so I kept them, and it fitted with another bit of song I had.”
In all likelihood, McCartney already had the idea for a lullaby after John Lennon previously wrote “Good Night” in 1968. Therefore it is safe to say that he was easily able to adapt “Cradle Song” to suit his idea.
John Lennon was recovering from a road traffic accident while on holiday in Scotland so he took no part in the recording. However, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr continued recording in his absence.
They recorded 15 takes in Studio Two of the EMI Studios, London, during the 3.00pm-9.30pm session. The final rhythm track came the next day from a composite edit of takes 13 and 15. Paul McCartney recorded his vocals for the overdubbing on the 30th and 31st July. Then on the 15th August, they added the orchestral arrangements from George Martin.
Just to point out that they recorded “Golden Slumbers” together with “Carry That Weight” in one go. Obviously the latter finishes off the long medley of short songs on the “Abbey Road” Album.