- John Lennon revealed one song from The Beatles’ The White Album was improvised.
- He said the song was possibly inspired by a hit from the 1950s.
- The White Album became a massive international hit.
John Lennon said a 1950s hit might have inspired one of the songs from The Beatles’ The White Album. John revealed he was not a fan of the track. Subsequently, Paul McCartney explained what The Beatles were trying to accomplish when they wrote the song.
John Lennon had a theory about what Paul McCartney was thinking when he wrote 1 song from The Beatles’ ‘The White Album’
According to the book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, John was asked about The Beatles’ “Birthday” in 1980. “‘Birthday’ was written in the studio,” he recalled. “Just made up on the spot.”
John said a hit song might have inspired “Birthday.” “I think Paul wanted to write a song like ‘Happy Birthday Baby,’ the old ’50s hit,” he said. “But it was sort of made up in the studio. It was a piece of garbage.”
Paul McCartney explained why The Beatles’ ‘Birthday’ is about a birthday
In the 1997 book Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, Paul remembered the origin of “Birthday.” “‘Why not make something up?'” he said. “So we got a riff going and arranged it around this riff. We said, ‘We’ll go to there for a few bars, then we’ll do this for a few bars.'”
Paul elaborated on how the song came together in the studio. “We added some lyrics, then we got the friends who were there to join in on the chorus,” he recalled. “So that is 50-50 John and me, made up on the spot and recorded all on the same evening.”
Paul explained why the song is about a birthday. “I don’t recall it being anybody’s birthday in particular but it might have been, but the other reason for doing it is that, if you have a song that refers to Christmas or a birthday, it adds to the life of the song,” he said.
How ‘Birthday’ and ‘The White Album’ performed on the charts in the United States and the United Kingdom
The Fab Four’s “Birthday” was never a single, so it did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100. The track appeared on The Beatles’ The White Album. The album was No. 1 for nine weeks, spending 215 weeks on the Billboard 200 in total.
The Beatles’ “Birthday” was never a single in the United Kingdom either, so The Official Charts Company reports it didn’t chart there. Meanwhile, The White Album became a huge hit in the U.K. It peaked at No. 1 for eight weeks, spending 38 weeks on the chart altogether.
John wasn’t a fan of “Birthday” but it appeared on one of the Fab Four’s most iconic albums.