March 3, 2010

Mr. Kite

I don't know why but lately I've been listening to a lot of Beatles music. It started when I heard 'Being For the Benefit of Mr Kite!' on the radio.

It's from the 1967 Sgt Pepper album. Lennon wrote the song taking inspiration from a nineteenth century circus poster for Pablo Fanque's circus which he purchased in an antique shop shortly before recording the album. Mr. Kite is believed to be William Kite, who worked for Pablo Fanque from 1843 to 1845.

One of the most musically complex songs on Sgt. Pepper, Lennon wanted the track to have a "carnival atmosphere", and told producer George Martin that he wanted "to smell the sawdust on the floor." In the middle eight bars, multiple recordings of fairground organs and calliope music were spliced together to attempt to produce this request; after a great deal of unsuccessful experimentation, Martin instructed Geoff Emerick to chop the tape into pieces with scissors, throw them up in the air, and re-assemble them at random.


  1. The Beatles, much as with Elvis, were certainly popular with general audiences (the mass market) but I can't recall - at the time - buying or listening to their music. The early stuff was popcorn and the later mostly hinted at becoming good. They did good tunes but most were lightweight. They were sort of middle of the road and on the periphery of drug-tainted music. I much preferred the Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service and the Rolling Stones to a lesser degree. Oh yes, I was in San Francisco many times between 1962 -67. I was There.

  2. I loved that album and actually won a copy from the local record shop! I played it until it was grey. I think I have it on CD too. Have you attended the Memorial week-end Abbey Road festival on the Bellvedere? I heard Nervous Melvin coner "Tomorriw Never Knows" and played it a beat or tow faster than the Beatles. Can I say mind blowing without sounding corny!