“Mother Nature’s Son” is a Beatles’ song from their 1968 “White Album”. However, “take 2” makes an appearance on their “Anthology 3” album.
Recorded: 9th & 20th August, 1968
Track Duration: 2:48
Record Label: Apple Records
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Ken Scott
Mother Nature’s Son
Written mostly by Paul McCartney, credit goes to the songwriting partnership of Lennon-McCartney, of course. Although only Paul McCartney and George Martin record the song together with Martin arranging the brass section. The inspiration behind the song came from a lecture by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi while the Beatles were in India.
Although the speech from the Maharishi was a key factor, so was the Nat King Cole’s song “Nature Boy”.
“I seem to remember writing Mother Nature’s Son at my dad’s house in Liverpool. I often used to do that if I’d gone up to see him. Visiting my family I’d feel in a good mood, so it was often a good occasion to write songs. So this was me doing my mother nature’s son bit.
I’ve always loved the song called Nature Boy [by Nat King Cole]: ‘There was a boy, a very strange and gentle boy…’ He loves nature, and Mother Nature’s Son was inspired by that song. I’d always loved nature, and when Linda and I got together we discovered we had this deep love of nature in common. There might have been a little help from John with some of the verses.”
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles
Apart from his double-tracked vocals, McCartney also played the acoustic guitars, timpani and bass drum.
This song comes from “White Album” era so it’s at a time when tensions within the band were running high. In fact, they worked alone independently for a lot of the time.
Paul McCartney mostly worked on the track alone, although he needed help from George Martin for the brass arrangement. There was 25 takes on the 9th August, 1968, in Studio Two at the EMI Studios in London, during the 7.30pm-2.00am session. Take 24 was suitable for the overdubbing. However, take 2 is available on the 1996 album, Anthology 3.
On the 20th August, in the same studio, during the 8.00pm-4.00am sessions, McCartney added the instrumentations to complete the track. To achieve a bongo-like staccato sound, the drums were in a corridor which had no carpet and the microphones were at the far side.
To highlight the tensions during this often fractious period in time there was an incident during the recording of “Mother Nature’s Son”:
“Paul was downstairs going through the arrangement with George and the brass players. Everything was great, everyone was in great spirits. It felt really good. Suddenly, halfway through, John and Ringo walked in and you could cut the atmosphere with a knife. An instant change. It was like that for 10 minutes and then as soon as they left it felt great again. It was very bizarre.”
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn
Of course, what we get with the “White Album” is possibly their best ever studio recordings despite the problems.