In response to “What’s the New Mary Jane,” today Paul brought forward one of his own goofier songs — a countryish number about animals with firearms that he had written on a rooftop in Rishikesh. Somewhat remarkably for 1968-model Beatles, “Rocky Raccoon” was started and finished in one day.

George Harrison seems to have found this nonsense beneath him, and observed the session from the comfort of the control room. John Lennon, surprisingly, was quite a willing participant; he contributed bass, harmonica, and harmonium while Paul played acoustic guitar and sang. George Martin chipped in with a piano solo and of course Ringo played Ringo.

Take 8, which is immortalized on Anthology 3, started promisingly but degenerated somewhat after Paul accidentally changed “stinking of gin” to “sminking”:

It was take 9 that formed the basis for the finished track, which appeared on the White Album to the delight of some and the chagrin of others:

But the best version of “Rocky Raccoon” may be this funky 1970 cover by the Moments:

I’m not quite sure what’s going on with that video, which is quite bizarre and continues for four more minutes after the song is over. But it’s kind of hypnotic. What would Manson have made of it?

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