This was a strange, interstitial period in Beatle history, during which they recorded sporadically with no particular goal in sight. It was not until later that the idea of making one last “good” Beatles album was broached.

Today’s session began with Paul’s first attempt at a lead vocal for “Oh! Darling.” (The backing track had been recorded back on April 20.) He was not satisfied with the result, though, and would make many more attempts at it in July — searching, in vintage McCartney fashion, for some elusive quality that no one but himself could hear.

After that, the whole band pitched in to try out a new song: Ringo’s “Octopus’s Garden,” written the previous year in Sardinia aboard Peter Sellers’ yacht, during Ringo’s brief exile from The Beatles. According to Steve Turner’s A Hard Day’s Write,

After Ringo had turned down the offer of an octopus lunch, the vessel’s captain started to tell him all he knew about the life of octopuses.

“He told me how they go around the sea bed picking up stones and shiny objects to build gardens with,” said Ringo. “I thought this was fabulous because at the time I just wanted to be under the sea too. I wanted to get out of it for awhile.”

And so what is apparently a rollicking kids’ song carries an undercurrent of anxiety and paranoia. How trés fin-de-Sixties. George Harrison commented,

I find very deep meaning in the lyrics, which Ringo probably doesn’t see, but all the thing like “resting our head on the sea bed” and “We’ll be warm beneath the storm” which is really great, you know. Because it’s like this level is a storm, and if you get sort of deep in your consciousness, it’s very peaceful. So Ringo’s writing his cosmic songs without noticing.

Take 2 of “Octopus’s Garden” was included on Anthology 3. It appears the song was not quite finished at this stage.

That bit at the end is lifted from take 8, which apparently was not so great. But on the whole the vibe was good. George Martin was absent, but had deputized Chris Thomas as producer, telling him something like this:

There will be one Beatle there, fine. Two Beatles, great. Three Beatles fantastic. But the minute the four of them are there that is when the inexplicable charismatic thing happens, the special magic no one has been able to explain. It will be very friendly between you and them but you’ll be aware of this inexplicable presence.

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