In August ’68, following an argument with Paul McCartney over Back In The U.S.S.R.’s drum part, Ringo Starr temporarily ‘left’ The Beatles and went to Sardinia for a family holiday. While bobbing about the Mediterranean on Peter Sellers’s yacht, he ordered fish and chips, but was presented with squid and chips. While tucking in to the cephalopod, the ship’s captain informed him that octopuses collect stones and shells while patrolling the sea bed and construct underwater gardens.
Eager to escape the bickering of his bandmates, Starr found solace in songwriting and delivered Octopus’s Garden (his second solo composition for the band after Don’t Pass Me By, with roots similarly set in country and western).
Octopus’s Garden was refined by Starr alongside George Harrison upon his return to Abbey Road during the Get Back sessions, and perfected (with Chris Thomas engineering in the absence of George Martin), with the entire band reunited and self-producing, in July ’69. An inoffensive nursery ditty that featured a characteristically lugubrious lead vocal from Starr and undersea sound effects from McCartney (bubbling through a straw into a glass of milk),
Octopus’s Garden has been called, accurately if uncharitably, “a poor man’s Yellow Submarine”.