The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill (Lennon/McCartney)
“Bungalow Bill” was actually an American named Richard Cooke, III, who had met the Beatles and was on a tiger hunt with his mother three hours away from Rishikesh, where the Beatles were meditating. Cooke shot a tiger on the when it jumped at him and his mother. When she started talking about the kill to the Maharishi and some of his followers, the Maharishi became visibly disturbed. It was then that Cooke began to think that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea. Maharishi asked, “You had the desire Rik and now you no longer have the desire?” to which John asked, “Don’t you call that slightly life destructive?” Cooke replied, “Well, John, it was either the tiger or us. The tiger was jumping right where we were.” Those words became, “If looks could kill it would’ve been us instead of him”.
Yoko on vocals
The line “Not when he looks so fierce” was sung by Yoko and is the only instance of a female lead vocal on a Beatles recording.
“‘Bungalow Bill’ was written about a guy in Maharishi’s meditation camp who took a short break to go shoot a few poor tigers, and then came back to commune with God. There used to be a character called Jungle Jim, and I combined him with Buffalo Bill. It’s sort of a teenage social-comment song and a bit of a joke.” – John
“Then a self-important, middle-aged American woman arrived, moving a mountain of luggage into the brand-new private bungalow next to Maharishi’s along with her son, a bland young man named Bill. People fled this newcomer, and no one was sorry when she left the ashram after a short time to go tiger hunting, unaware that their presence had inspired a new Beatles’ song – ‘Bungalow Bill.'” – Mia Farrow
“The other Beatles were always real nice to me but John was always aloof. They epitomized the counter-culture and I was the classic good American boy and college athlete.” – Richard Cooke, describing his encounter with the Beatles that immortalized him in a song
- John Lennon – lead vocal, acoustic guitar, organ, Mellotron
- Paul McCartney – backing vocals, bass guitar
- George Harrison – backing vocals, acoustic guitar
- Ringo Starr – backing vocals, drums, tambourine
- Chris Thomas – Mellotron
- Yoko Ono – vocal, backing vocals
- Maureen Starkey and others – backing vocals