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Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! (Lennon/McCartney)

One of the most interesting backgrounds of all Beatles songs is Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!. As with Good Morning, Good Morning, John had become so lazy that his songs were about things immediately availible to him in his home, as he hardly ever ventured from there. The lyric was taken almost entirely from an 1843 circus poster John bought after shooting a promotional film for Strawberry Fields Forever.

The Poster

John standing with the original Mr. Kite poster
John standing with the original Mr. Kite poster

Reproduction of the Mr. Kite poster
Reproduction of the Mr. Kite poster

The original poster from which John derived the lyrics reads:

PABLO FANQUE'S CIRCUS ROYAL
TOWN-MEADOWS, ROCHDALE Grandest Night of the Season!
AND POSITIVELY THE
LAST NIGHT BUT THREE!
BEING FOR THE
BENEFIT OF MR.KITE,
(LATE OF WELLS'S CIRCUS) AND
MR. J. HENDERSON,
THE CELEBRATED SOMERSET THROWER!
WIRE DANCER, VAULTER, RIDER, etc.
On TUESDAY Evening, February 14, 1843.

Mssrs. KITE and HENDERSON, in announcing the following Entertainments ensure the Public that this Night's Production will be one of the most splendid ever produced in this Town, having been some days in preparation.

Mr. Kite will, for this night only, introduce the
CELEBRATED
HORSE, ZANTHUS!
Well known to be one of the best Broke Horses
IN THE WORLD!!!

Mr. HENDERSON will undertake the arduous Task of
THROWING TWENTY-ONE SOMERSETS,
ON THE SOLID GROUND.

Mr. KITE will appear, for the first time this season,
On The Tight Rope,
When Two Gentlemen Amateurs of this Town will perform with him.

Mr. HENDERSON will, for the first time in Rochdale,
introduce his extraordinary
TRAMPOLINE LEAPS
AND
SOMERSETS!
Over Men & Horses, through Hoops, over Garters and lastly through a Hogshead of REAL FIRE! In this branch of the profession Mr. H challenges THE WORLD!

For particulars see Bills of the day.

Circus-like sound

George Martin plays harmonium and organ. The February 20 overdubs featured sampled sounds of Sousa marches on calliope tapes, cut up and reassembled at random by Geoff Emerick under direction of George Martin, in order to fulfill John's request that the song have a circus-like sound.

Recording dates

  • February 17, 1967 (7 takes; rhythm track, vocal overdubs, 2 takes; reductions)
  • February 20, 1967 (overdubs)
  • February 28, 1967
  • March 29, 1967 (organ, harmonica, and Feb. 20 tape overdub)
  • March 31, 1967 (organ & glockenspiel overdubs, mono mixing)
  • April 7, 1967 (stereo mixing)

Release history

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