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Another friendly and productive day in Pepperland. Today The Beatles, with Paul as ringleader, wrote, recorded, and mixed the song that would end up leading off the second LP of the White Album:

If it sounds like it was thrown together in two short sessions sandwiched around a trip to Paul’s house to watch The Girl Can’t Help It, that’s because it was. I actually quite like its loose, spontaneous feel; I know not everyone agrees, and I suspect that when George Martin talked about some of the White Album material not being up to snuff, this may have been one of the songs he had in mind.1

Paul claimed that “Birthday” wasn’t written for anyone’s birthday in particular — though it’s worth noting that Linda Eastman, due to arrive in the UK imminently, was born on September 26 — telling writer Barry Miles,

If you have a song that refers to Christmas or a birthday, it adds to the life of the song … because people will pull it out on birthday shows, so I think there was a little bit of that at the back of our minds.

Which is just so Paul, isn’t it? Memo to Mr. McCartney: You’re the fucking Beatles, you don’t need to come up with gimmicks to get people to play your songs. But you have to admire his relentless drive to market his music, which continues to this day. If I get one more tweet about Egypt Station I’m going to unfollow his ass. But I digress.

“Birthday” was a true group effort, with Paul and John working together on the lyrics — possibly the last time that happened. (I think that all future Lennon/McCartney collaborations, such as “I’ve Got a Feeling,” were actually two separate songs pasted together. But I’m not for sure on that, so don’t quote me.) Even Yoko and Pattie Harrison got into the act, contributing backing vocals and handclaps.

It seems to have been quite the party. Says The Beatles Bible:

At around 4.30 am “Birthday” was mixed in mono. John Lennon used the studio control room microphone to announce: “This is Ken MacIntosh and the roving remixers. Take farty-one.”