Beatles – Baby You’re A Rich Man

We have here a Stones- Beatles collaboration…a slight one with Mick Jagger is said to be singing backups to this song.The John and Paul returned the favor on the Stones song We Love You.

I first heard this on the Magical Mystery Tour album. I love the bass sound that Paul got on this song.

The cool sounding instrument on this song is the the Clavioline which John plays. It was a forerunner to the synthesizer.

The Story Of The Clavioline

John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote parts of this separately and combined it to make one song… something they would repeat on “A Day In The Life.” At one point, the song was called “One Of The Beautiful People.”

On August 7th, 1967, just three weeks after the single was released in the US, George Harrison and entourage decided to make a brief visit to the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, California, to visit the highly publicized “beautiful people” of the area and played the song on an acoustic after one was produced from a growing crowd. George didn’t stay too long.

Near the end of the song legend has it that John sings “Baby, you’re a rich f*g jew” as a reference to Brian Epstein toward the end of the song. Whether it is…it’s hard to tell. Whatever is in your head when you listen…it can become that. I’ve never read where John admitted it…and if he would have done that…I don’t see him shying away from admitting it.

Eddie Kramer…future producer for the Jimi Hendrix played the vibraphone.

From Songfacts

This song is about how everybody can have the things that matter, and it has nothing to do with material possessions. The Beatles were rich, but they claimed that money was not that important to them.

It was rumored that The Beatles sang “Baby you’re a rich fag Jew” as a slur to their manager, Brian Epstein. He was rich, gay and Jewish, but The Beatles never said this was about him. Epstein died later in that year when he overdosed on sleeping pills.

The Beatles started working on this song with the intention of using it on the Yellow Submarine soundtrack. It was used in the 1968 movie, but didn’t appear on the soundtrack.

Mick Jagger sang backup. McCartney and Lennon returned the favor by singing on The Stones’ “We Love You.”

Brian Jones, the guitarist from The Rolling Stones, played an oboe on this. A few years earlier, Lennon and McCartney gave The Stones a song called “I Wanna Be Your Man,” which was one of their first hits, and helped convince Mick Jagger and Keith Richards that they should write their own songs.

This was released as the B-side of “All You Need Is Love.”

Lennon played clavioline and piano on the song and George Harrison played tambourine. There is actually no guitar on this song at all. Paul played bass and piano as well.

This was released in mono, but in 1971 it was remixed in stereo along with several other tracks for a German version of Magical Mystery Tour. The stereo version is the one that is now the most common. 

The comedy rap trio The Fat Boys performed this song in their 1987 movie Disorderlies.

In 2010, this song was used at the end of the movie The Social Network to punctuate the raging financial success of the guys who invented Facebook. It was one of the few Beatles songs licensed to a movie in its original form, meaning the Beatles version was used. Apple Corp. is very particular about where Beatles songs are used.

At one point in this song, The Beatles ask, “How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people?” The phrase “beautiful people” was used a lot in 1967 as a derisive way to describe the social elite. A popular book by Marilyn Bender was published that year called The Beautiful People: a Candid Examination of a Cultural Phenomenon – the Marriage of Fashion and Society in the ’60s.

Baby You’re A Rich Man

How does it feel to be
One of the beautiful people
Now that you know who you are
What do you want to be
And have you traveled very far?
Far as the eye can see

How does it feel to be
One of the beautiful people
How often have you been there
Often enough to know
What did you see when you were there
Nothing that doesn’t show

Baby you’re a rich man
Baby you’re a rich man
Baby you’re a rich man, too
You keep all your money in a big brown bag
Inside a zoo, what a thing to do
Baby you’re a rich man
Baby you’re a rich man
Baby you’re a rich man, too

How does it feel to be
One of the beautiful people
Tuned to a natural E
Happy to be that way
Now that you’ve found another key
What are you going to play

Baby you’re a rich man
Baby you’re a rich man
Baby you’re a rich man, too
You keep all your money in a big brown bag
Inside a zoo, what a thing to do
Baby, baby, you’re a rich man
Baby you’re a rich man
Baby you’re a rich man, too, oh
Baby you’re a rich man
Baby you’re a rich man (baby)
Baby you’re a rich man, too
Baby you’re a rich man
Baby you’re a rich man
Baby you’re a rich man, too

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

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

18 thoughts on “Beatles – Baby You’re A Rich Man”

    1. The slur is something that if it’s in your head I think you just hear it. I think where people hear it or think they do is around 2:47…I’ve read about it all my life but I don’t think they say it…songfacts claim it is. I don’t think Lennon ever admitted it…and if he did it…he would have said something I believe…he didn’t shy away from that.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. This one wasn’t love at first listen…it grew on me hard though. I thought it was some Indian instrument when I heard it.

      Like

  1. I always thought that John had a good relationship with Brian Epstein, but I think he got mad when somebody accused them of having sex together. I love that last verse, “How does it feel to be One of the beautiful people Tuned to a natural E Happy to be that way Now that you’ve found another key What are you going to play”, because it is brilliant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. John did have a good relationship with him…from what I read…at that time (early 60s to early 70s) he would find a weakness and exploit it in someone. From what I’ve read and heard he probably missed Brian more than any of them when he died…It wasn’t right by any means and he seemed to grow up and mature and was much kinder to people.

      No excuse but I guess losing his Uncle George, his Mom, and Stuart Sutcliff at such an early age scarred him…he was mad at the world. Scream therapy helped.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes he is on that one…they thought he would bring a guitar but he brought a saxophone…oh also Yellow Submarine…he does some backing vocals and “clinking glasses” lol..

      You may already know this site and forgive me if I gave you the site before but it’s my goto for Beatle songs…really in-depth. http://www.beatlesebooks.com/

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought it was an Indian instrument of George’s so it surprises me. Yeah if you listen to it it’s hard to tell… but I seriously doubt it…but that is the rumor… just like Paul is dead

      Like

  2. John was pretty rough on Brian Epstein like that…

    If I remember the story, George was kind of freaked out by the people in Haight-Ashbury, accounting for his brief stay there.

    I seem to remember that Mick Jagger also sang on “All You Need is Love.”

    Al Kooper used to play an instrument called an ondioline that sounds a lot like the Clavioline. They kind of looked alike, too…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea John would find something that bothered you and keep at it. I don’t know though if they sang that.

      Yea Mick did on All You Need Is Love and a lot of them. Tomorrow I have the Stones song that Lennon and McCartney was on.

      I love that sound…I thought it was one of George’s Indian instruments.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: