Beatles – Sexy Sadie

This song has an excellent melody and John’s voice is great. It’s always been a favorite of mine. When I first got the White Album I zeroed in on Dear Prudence, Helter Skelter and this one at first.

John wrote this song about the Maharishi after John decided he wasn’t going to be the spiritual leader John thought. The song was called “Maharishi” but George convinced him to change the name of the song to Sexy Sadie. Personally, I think the Maharishi was good for them at the time. They cut down on the drugs and wrote some great songs without being pestered by the public or reporters.

George said this about John’s disillusionment of the Maharishi:  “Someone started the nasty rumor about Maharishi, a rumor that swept the media for years…This whole piece of bullsh*t was invented.  It’s probably even in the history books that Maharishi ‘tried to attack Mai Farrow‘ – but it’s bullsh*t, total bullsh*t.  Just go ask Mia Farrow.  There were a lot of flakes there; the whole place was full of flaky people.  Some of them were us.”

“The story stirred up a situation.  John had wanted to leave anyway, so that forced him into the position of thinking: ‘OK, now we’ve got a good reason to get out of here.’  We went to Maharishi, and I said, ‘Look, I told you I was going’…He couldn’t really accept that we were leaving, and he said, ‘What’s wrong?’  That’s when John said something like:  ‘Well, you’re supposed to be the mystic, you should know.’  We took some cars that had been driven up there…We drove for hours.  John had a song he had started to write which he was singing:  ‘Maharishi, what have you done?’ and I said, ‘You can’t say that it’s ridiculous.’  I came up with the title of ‘Sexy Sadie’ and John changed ‘Maharishi’ to ‘Sexy Sadie.’


From Songfacts

John Lennon wrote this about the Maharishi while he was leaving India in 1968. After attending his Transcendental Meditation camp with the other Beatles, Lennon thought The Maharishi was a crock.

The song describes Lennon’s total dissatisfaction with the Maharishi. While at his retreat, it has been said that the Maharishi attempted to rape Mia Farrow. Once The Beatles learned of this, they immediately went to the Maharishi, and Lennon announced they were all leaving. The Maharishi asked why? Lennon said, “If you’re so cosmic, you’ll know why.” As originally written, some of its lyrics were considered obscene and had to be refined. Lennon had used the Maharishi’s name but had to change it for fear of being sued. But, Sexy Sadie is the Maharishi. Needless to say, that was the end of the Maharishi and The Beatles relationship. 

Lennon dubbed the Maharishi “sexy” after he hit on Mia Farrow. Farrow’s sister, Prudence, was also there, and her experience led Lennon to write “Dear Prudence.”

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was born on January 12, 1917. The founder of the Transcendental Meditation Movement, the Beatles spent time with the Maharishi in 1967-68; they were visiting him when they learned of the death of their manager Brian Epstein. John was disenchanted with the Maharishi and thought he was a hoax, and left abruptly convincing the others he was using the girls The Beatles had brought him.

This song required 52 takes and a full day-and-a-half of studio time. Lennon spent much of time cussing his way through the sessions, deeply hurt after coming to the conclusion that the Maharishi was not as holy as he’d hoped.

The song confirmed Charles Manson’s belief that the Beatles were talking directly to him, by virtue of one of his followers, Susan Atkins, having already been nicknamed Sadie Mae Glutz. Many of the tracks from The White Album (“Piggies” for example) were interpreted by Manson as messages directed to him.

In the Anthology book when The Beatles were talking about Manson, John Lennon was quoted as saying, “All the other fellows had some ‘influence’ on Manson, but not me I didn’t do nothing,” but Sadie was the nickname for Susan Atkins (Sadie Mae Glutz) which did contribute to Manson’s belief that the Beatles were singing about him and his “Family.” 

Sexy Sadie

Sexy Sadie, what have you done
You made a fool of everyone
You made a fool of everyone
Sexy Sadie, ooh, what have you done

Sexy Sadie, you broke the rules
You laid it down for all to see
You laid it down for all to see
Sexy Sadie, ooh, you broke the rules

One sunny day the world was waiting for a lover
She came along and turned on everyone
Sexy Sadie, the greatest of them all

Sexy Sadie, how did you know
The world was waiting just for you
The world was waiting just for you
Sexy Sadie, ooh, how did you know

Sexy Sadie, you’ll get yours yet
However big you think you are
However big you think you are
Sexy Sadie, ooh, you’ll get yours yet

We gave her everything we owned just to sit at her table
Just a smile would lighten everything
Sexy Sadie, she’s the latest and the greatest of them all

She made a fool of everyone
Sexy Sadie

However big you think you are
Sexy Sadie

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

11 thoughts on “Beatles – Sexy Sadie”

  1. Yep another great song. Maybe the reason they left India was because Mike Love was there too- I know that would probably make me want to go… I think the White Album has overtaken Sgt. Pepper in my rankings..

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Not trying to discredit a possible victim of the Maharishi, but Mia Farrow is a flaming flake. I think if a person (i.e. The Maharishi) can convince others he is worthy of worship, it would take a big person not to exploit that worship. I think the course of The Beatles was meant to flow there for a time, so they could create the music they did by that time’s influence. Thank you for the background info on a good song.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No I think it was made up. I think even Mia has said it didn’t happen. I don’t like Mia either.
      It was more of a meditation I think as far as what he offered. I think John WANTED to worship somebody…he just had an eastern philosophy but I think John wanted more. …. Before the Maharishi passed…he came to Nashville…I wish I would have gone.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Now that is interesting about John. I thought George was more the one seeking a path to peace through eastern ways/religions. John seemed more like a skeptic to me. Have you ever heard the expression, “If you meet Buddha on the road, kill him?” To me that expression means if it is too good to be true — cult leader or contract — watch out. I don’t know much about the Maharishi at all, but…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. George was more grounded I believe. John was so spontaneous and jumped before the thought. He was a cynic though…he spent his life searching….Paul, Maharishi, Yoko, Primal Scream Therapy, New York radicals…

        I know what you are talking about. It amazes me with people like Jim Jones… how people fall for it over and over….When do the flags start coming up to some people?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Max, it is more about what’s within the person and what they are searching for. If they feel it is outside of themselves they might be taken in by a person who can see the emptiness within the person and exploit it…


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