“Good Night” is a Beatles’ song which is on their 1968 “White Album”. In fact, it is fittingly the last song on that double album. But their rehearsal & take 34 appears on their 1996 album, “Anthology 3” as well.
Recorded: 28th June, also the 2nd and 22nd July, 1968
Genre: Orchestral pop, lullaby
Track Duration: 3:11
Record Label: Apple Records
Producer: George Martin
Engineers: Geoff Emerick, Peter Bown, Ken Scott
The Mike Sammes Singers: backing vocals
Orchestra: twelve violins, three violas, three cellos, three flutes, clarinet, horn, vibraphone, double bass, harp
Written by John Lennon but the credit goes to the Lennon-McCartney partnership, of course, “Good Night” is sung by Ringo Starr on the 1968 double album, “The Beatles” aka “The White Album”.
Lennon wrote the song with his five-year-old son, Julian, in mind. Obviously it’s a sort of bedtime lullaby and is a fitting end to one of the best albums ever produced. It is calming song, very relaxing and dreamy, it had to be coming on after “Revolution 9”!
Only Ringo Starr appears on the track while George Martin arranged the lush orchestral accompaniment using 26 musicians in total. Martin also conducted The Mike Sammes Singers for the backing vocals like he did on “I Am The Walrus“. Because Starr performed a Lennon-McCartney song on his own, it means that all band members have this distinction. However, he wasn’t the last to do this, that was John Lennon with “Julia” in November.
The 1996 album, “Anthology 3” has John Lennon playing the piano while Ringo Starr sings the song. This recording is from the 28th June, 1968, when there were 5 takes, but these were basically rehearsals. Part of George Martin’s score also appears at the end of that track.
On the 2nd July, Starr recorded his vocals again (takes 6-15), but it wasn’t until the 22nd July when a final version of the track became suitable. Discarding all previous recordings, they began recording the song again in Studio Two of the EMI Studios during the 7.00pm-4.30am session.
At this recording session, Martin conducted the orchestra and backing singers before Starr recorded his vocals for the overdub. With everyone happy at the outcome, the song was complete and ready for inclusion on the new album.
In the 2006 “Love” album, parts of “Good Night” appear three times. Firstly, there is the transition piece between “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “Octopus’s Garden“. Secondly, on Octopus’s Garden itself, Starr sings slowly over Good Night’s orchestral piece. Thirdly, after the last song on the main album, “All You Need Is Love” we hear the orchestral piece yet again.