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Paul McCartney said one song from The BeatlesThe White Album was about his appreciation of nature. He said the tune was partly influenced by his time as a Boy Scout. In addition, Paul thought his life as a Boy Scout would be a prelude to going into the army.

Paul McCartney with a dog during The Beatles' 'The White Album' era
The Beatles’ Paul McCartney | Les Lee / Stringer

Paul McCartney said 1 song from The Beatles’ ‘The White Album’ was about being a ‘child of nature’

In the 1997 book Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, Paul discussed the meaning of one song from The White Album. “This is what I was writing about in ‘Mother Nature’s Son,’ it was basically a heart-felt song about my child-of-nature leanings,” he said.

Paul discussed his time as a Boy Scout. “I was a Boy Scout and I remembered [Scouting Movement founder Robert] Baden-Powell’s saying ‘People never look up,’ so I would go in the woods and sit in a tree and watch people go by underneath,” he said. “I’d be like a super spy, the Silent Observer, the Sniper. It became apparent to me that what I was doing was practicing to be a soldier.”

What The Beatles thought of George Harrison’s brother who joined the army

Paul then discussed his relationship with the military. “National Service was still going and, like everyone else, I fully expected to have to go in the army for two years National Service,” he recalled.

“George Harrison’s elder brother Harry had been to Christmas Island and arrived back with a gorgeous tan in his army uniform and we thought, ‘My God, he’s been made a man of,'” Paul said. “You used to see this quite regularly, people would be made a man of.”


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How ‘Mother Nature’s Son’ and ‘The White Album’ performed on the charts in the United States and the United Kingdom

“Mother Nature’s Son” was never a single, so it did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100. The tune appeared on The White Album. The album topped the Billboard 200 for nine weeks, staying on the chart for 215 weeks.

“Mother Nature’s Son” was not a single in the United Kingdom either so The Official Charts Company reports it did not chart there. Meanwhile, The White Album was a hit there though it was not as popular as it was in the United States. In the U.K., The White Album reached No. 1 for eight weeks and remained on the chart for a total of 37 weeks.

While it was never a single, “Mother Nature’s Son” became something of a standard. Artists such as Sheryl Crowe, John Denver, and Harry Nilsson covered the tune. A cover of the song became the title track of Ramsey Lewis’ Beatles tribute album Mother Nature’s Son.

“Mother Nature’s Son” is a classic track and it might not be the same without the Boy Scouts.