The Beatles' Revelatory White Album Demos: A Complete Guide

We delve deep into the 1968 home recordings that planted the seeds for the band's classic self-titled double LP

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"Dear Prudence"

It's well known in Beatle lore that the Prudence addressed in the song is Mia Farrow's sister, the band's classmate at the Maharishi's retreat. The young woman threw herself into meditation with a pathological intensity that frightened others at the course. "Being on that course was more important to me than anything in the world," she later told Steve Turner. "I was very focused on getting in as much meditation as possible, so that I could gain enough experience to teach it myself. I knew that I must have stuck out because I would always rush straight back to my room after lectures and meals so that I could meditate." Lennon and Harrison were enlisted to help coax her out of seclusion, and together they strummed a tune intended to soothe.

Lennon can be heard giving his own (less-than-charitable) depiction of Prudence in a brief narration at the end of the Kinfauns demo. "No one was to know that sooner or later she was to go completely berserk in the care of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi," he says, barely stifling a chuckle. "All the people around were very worried about the girl, because she was going insane. So we sang to her." The monologue is certainly the highlight of this early version of "Dear Prudence," fingerpicked and double-tracked seemingly by Lennon alone. In the third verse he sings of a "sleeping child" rather than the more familiar "little child." He also sneaks in an additional "look around, round" bridge just before the final verse, which shifts into a hard-strummed double time – complete with lyrical flub, resulting in a hilarious "Whoops!"

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