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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"I'm So Tired"

Sleep was a recurring theme in the life of John Lennon. The future Bed-In for Peace co-founder paid homage to somnolence with the Revolver track "I'm Only Sleeping," but the lack of it at Maharishi's ashram led to "I'm So Tired," the unhappy follow up. "I couldn't sleep," Lennon recalled of the unsettled time in 1980. "I'd been meditating all day and then I couldn't sleep at night. We were not supposed to leave the room because of this thing about staying in one room for five days. So I was so tired I couldn't get to sleep." Meditation probably wasn't the only thing keeping him up at night. His marriage to wife Cynthia all but over, he found his thoughts returning to Yoko Ono, who fueled his imagination by sending him a constant stream of poetic postcards. Lennon had briefly considered inviting her along on the sojourn before quickly thinking better of it ("I lost me nerve because I was going to take me wife and Yoko and I didn't know how to work it," he admitted to Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner in 1970), but the tortured lyrics to "I'm So Tired" make it fairly obvious that she was never far from his thoughts: "My mind is set on you. I wonder, should I call you, but I know what you would do. You'd say I'm putting you on ..."

The version of "I'm So Tired" recorded at Esher is notably longer than the official release. The first verse gets a repeat after the third, before the song downshifts into an instrumental unheard on the final version. Lennon delivers an ad-libbed spoken interlude, channeling his best Elvis Presley to match chords copped from innumerable Fifties ballads. "When I hold you in your arms, when you show each one of your charms," he croons, "I wonder should I get up and go to the funny farm?" The melody and portions of the words would find their way into another song of the period, "Happiness Is a Warm Gun." He signs off with five increasingly desperate howls of "I'd give you everything I've got for a little peace of mind," before uttering "I'll give you all I've got, Derek!" – possibly a reference to the Beatles' press officer and friend, Derek Taylor, who may have been in attendance.

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