Classic Rock



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”.

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