"Dear Prudence" is a song by the English rock group the Beatles from their 1968 album The Beatles (also known as "the White Album"). The song was written by John Lennon, and credited to Lennon–McCartney. Written in India, it was inspired by Prudence Farrow, a sister of actress Mia Farrow, who became obsessive about meditating while practising with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Sheet music for "Dear Prudence"
|Song by the Beatles|
|from the album The Beatles|
|Released||22 November 1968|
|Recorded||28–30 August 1968 at Trident Studios, London|
Farrow became so serious about her meditation that she "turned into a near recluse" and "rarely came out" of the cottage she was living in. John Lennon and George Harrison were asked to "contact her and make sure she came out more often to socialize". As a result, Lennon wrote the song "Dear Prudence". In the song, Lennon asks Farrow to "open up your eyes" and "see the sunny skies", reminding her that she is "part of everything". The song was said to be "a simple plea to a friend to 'snap out of it'".
Dear Prudence is me. Written in India. A song about Mia Farrow's sister, who seemed to go slightly barmy, meditating too long, and couldn't come out of the little hut that we were livin' in. They selected me and George to try and bring her out because she would trust us. If she'd been in the West, they would have put her away. We got her out of the house. She'd been locked in for three weeks and wouldn't come out, trying to reach God quicker than anybody else. That was the competition in Maharishi's camp: who was going to get cosmic first. What I didn't know was I was already cosmic.— John Lennon, All We Are Saying
According to Farrow: "I would always rush straight back to my room after lectures and meals so I could meditate. John, George and Paul would all want to sit around jamming and having a good time and I'd be flying into my room. They were all serious about what they were doing, but they just weren't as fanatical as me."
Lennon did play the song for Farrow while they were in India together. According to Farrow, "I was flattered. It was a beautiful thing to have done." The lyrics of the song are simple and innocent and praise the beauty of nature in the lines: "The sun is up, the sky is blue, it's beautiful, and so are you."
The Beatles recorded the song at Trident Studios in London on 28, 29 and 30 August 1968. Utilising state-of-the-art eight-track recording equipment, the basic track included finger picking guitar performed by Lennon as well as Harrison on lead guitar, plus McCartney playing the drums in place of Ringo Starr, who had temporarily left the Beatles. The next day, McCartney overdubbed the bass track and Lennon recorded additional layers to his vocals. Handclapping, cowbell and tambourine were then added by Harrison and McCartney. On the last day of the recording session, a piano track and, probably because the instrument happened to be lying around in the studio, a track with a very brief snippet of flugelhorn during the bridge of the song (supposedly at 1:42 on the left side), were recorded by McCartney.
On The Beatles album, the song was sequenced as the second track on side one, its introduction cross-faded with the sounds of a jet aircraft landing which conclude the previous track, "Back in the U.S.S.R." The descending chromatic bass-line in the song is similar to that of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds".
The song was first played on the radio in November and December of that year.
Lennon is said to have selected it as one of his favourite songs by the Beatles. In 1987, Lennon's original handwritten lyrics of the song, containing 14 lines and some "doodles" in the margin, sold at auction for US $19,500. The song is playable in The Beatles: Rock Band.
|Single by Siouxsie and the Banshees|
|from the album Hyæna|
|B-side||"Tattoo", "There's a Planet in My Kitchen"|
|Released||23 September 1983|
|Format||7" and 12" vinyl|
|Siouxsie and the Banshees singles chronology|
|Siouxsie singles chronology|
Jerry Garcia, a member of the Grateful Dead, was a fan of the song and is said to have called it "one of his all-time personal favorites". The Jerry Garcia Band covered the song in extended, improvised versions at concerts between 1979 and Garcia's death in 1995. The song was recorded for the 1991 album Jerry Garcia Band.
The song has also been recorded by the following artists:
|1968||Ramsey Lewis||Mother Nature's Son|
|1969||Doug Parkinson in Focus||single|
|1970||The Five Stairsteps||"O-o-h Child" single||Released as a B-side, it reached No. 49 on its own on the Best Selling Soul Singles charts.|
|1974||Katfish||single||Reached No. 53 on the Billboard Hot 100|
|1976||Leslie West||The Leslie West Band|
|1983||Siouxsie and the Banshees||single||See information in box on right|
|1990||Trouble Tribe||Trouble Tribe|
|1991||Sean Lennon||Happy Birthday, John||Released in Japan only; co-produced by YMO member Haruomi Hosono|
|1991||Jaco Pastorius||Live in New York City – Volume Two|
|1991||Jerry Garcia Band||Jerry Garcia Band|
|1991||The Clarks||The Clarks|
|1992||Saigon Kick||The Lizard||Japanese-only bonus track|
|1992||Hiram Bullock||Way Kool||Instrumental|
|2001||Graham Central Station||The Jam: The Larry Graham & Graham Central Station Anthology||Studio outtake recorded in the 1970s|
|2001||Alanis Morissette||Come Together: A Night for John Lennon's Words and Music||Live all-star concert filmed for television|
|2002||Phish||Live Phish 13|
|2006||Songs of Green Pheasant||Aeriel Days|
|2007||Dana Fuchs, Evan Rachel Wood, Jim Sturgess, Joe Anderson and T.V. Carpio||Across the Universe||Soundtrack|
|2009||Lau||Arc Light||Bonus track originally recorded for a Mojo magazine compilation|
|2010||Casey Mecija||Sing Me to Sleep – Indie Lullabies||Recorded for an American Laundromat Records charity compilation|
|2014||The Pretty Reckless||BC 1 Live Lounge||Mash-up with "Champagne Supernova" by Oasis|
- Sheff, David (2000). All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. New York: St. Martin's Press. pp. 198–9. ISBN 0-312-25464-4.
- "Dear Prudence". The Beatles Bible.
- The Pop History Dig, Dear Prudence
- Here, There and Everywhere: the 100 best Beatles songs, Stephen J Spignesi, Michael Lewis, page 252
- Doyle, Jack (27 July 2009). "Dear Prudence, 1967-1968". PopHistoryDig.com. Retrieved 15 May 2010.
- Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York: Harmony Books. p. 152. ISBN 0-517-57066-1.
- Rybaczewski, Dave. "Dear Prudence History". Beatlesebooks.com. Retrieved 19 Dec 2017.
- MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (Second Revised ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand). pp. 310–1. ISBN 1-84413-828-3.
- Rimer, Sara (28 June 1987). "The Beatles and Youth at Auction". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 November 2009.
- The Beatles Rockband Official Website
- "Way Kool overview". AllMusic.com.
- "Hiram Bullock Discography". HiramBullock.com. Archived from the original on 5 September 2012.
- "Midnight overview". AllMusic.com.
- "Midnight – Jeff Lorber". JazzTimes.com.