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When we left off yesterday, Geoff Emerick and his assistant were polishing off the bottle of scotch Paul had given them. According to Emerick’s book Here, There and Everywhere, they proceeded to drunkenly smash every cup and saucer in the studio, then clean up the evidence. Picking up the story from there:

At the very next session John surprised us all with the unveiling of his lush ballad “Good Night.” Like “Across the Universe,” the song showed his softer side, a stark contrast to the screamer he had belted out just the night before. It ably demonstrated the depth of his abilities as both a songwriter and a performer, which was really quite astonishing. John Lennon wasn’t just a rock’n’roller; he had a lot of facets to him….

Do you feel a little whiplash? Just yesterday Emerick was super-critical of John and “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey”; today it’s all sunshine and compliments. I guess John could have that effect on people. Emerick continues:

There was another surprise: John had decided to have Ringo sing the lead vocal. We were all totally caught off guard by that because we’d already recorded what we presumed was going to be the sole Ringo song on the album. It’s hard to imagine that John actually thought Ringo could do a better job on it than he could – he knew as well as anyone that Ringo was no singer. Perhaps it was that he was embarrassed at singing such a gentle lullaby – maybe it wasn’t macho enough for him – or perhaps he made the decision just to keep Ringo happy because he sensed some disquiet in the usually placid drummer.

I have my own theory: Since “Good Night” is a lullaby, John decided that Ringo’s childlike voice would be the best fit. According to Steve Turner’s A Hard Day’s Write, it was originally intended as a bedtime song for Julian Lennon; but because John and Cynthia were splitting up at the time, Julian was unaware of this until many years later. Anyway:

John had made a demo for Ringo to take home and practice to, and it was played back a couple of times that night…. It’s a shame that this particular tape has been lost to the world, and that nobody will ever hear the gorgeous way John sang his tender little song.

Yeah, it is a shame, ya bastid. “Oh, look at me, I’m Geoff Emerick, I was The Beatles’ engineer, I’ve heard things you never will….”

Sorry, just had to vent for a second there. The closest the rest of us will ever get is probably the rehearsal take that appears on Anthology 3, but it’s Ringo singing on that one, too. Well, we can dream. Good Night everybody….

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