100 Greatest Beatles Songs

From 'Helter Skelter' to 'Sgt. Pepper's,' ranking of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison's output

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'Sexy Sadie'
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93. 'Sexy Sadie'

Main Writer: Lennon
Recorded: July 19 and 24, August 13 and 21, 1968
Released: November 25, 1968
Not released as a single

Lennon left India abruptly after hearing stories about the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's sexual impropriety with female students. While he and Harrison were waiting for a ride out of Rishikesh, Lennon composed this biting denunciation of his guru. He later told Rolling Stone that when the Maharishi asked why the pair were leaving, he replied, "Well, if you're so cosmic, you'll know why."

The initial version of "Maharishi," as the song was originally called, was even nastier ("You little twat/Who the fuck do you think you are?"); at Harrison's suggestion, Lennon changed the title to "Sexy Sadie." The other Beatles were nowhere near as vehement about repudiating the Maharishi. "It's really funny, John's reaction to this sexual thing," McCartney said. "It seemed a little prudish to me." Harrison, who swore the gossip about the Maharishi's sexual misconduct was not true, was even more sanguine: "There were a lot of flakes [in Rishikesh]. Some of them were us."

Appears On: The Beatles

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