|Song by the Beatles|
|Recorded||14 January 1969|
"Watching Rainbows" is an unreleased song by the Beatles recorded on 14 January 1969 during the Get Back sessions at Twickenham Studios. It features John Lennon on lead vocal and electric piano, Paul McCartney on electric guitar, and Ringo Starr on drums. No bass guitar was present as McCartney was filling in for the absent George Harrison, who had temporarily left the group at that stage of the sessions. The song is played in two chords and has since been compared to "I Am the Walrus" and "I've Got a Feeling" for the similarities in the song's lyrics and structure.
A riff from the song was integrated into the Plastic Ono Band song "Don't Worry Kyoko (Mummy's Only Looking for Her Hand in the Snow)", which was released later in 1969.
Composition and background
"Watching Rainbows" is an improvised song written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney. It was never released and can only be heard on bootlegs. The track was recorded at Twickenham Studios on 14 January 1969 by producer George Martin during the Get Back sessions. "Mean Mr. Mustard" and the unreleased song "Madman" were also recorded during this session, although the Beatles ultimately abandoned them after a few run-throughs. The song features Paul McCartney on lead guitar because George Harrison had temporarily left the group at this stage of the sessions. The song has a two chord riff.
"Watching Rainbows" is very often associated with two other songs by the Beatles. One is the structurally similar McCartney tune "I've Got a Feeling", which the Beatles released on their final album Let It Be on 8 May 1970. The other one is the single, "I Am the Walrus", which had been released on 24 November 1967, as the B-side of the hit single "Hello Goodbye". "I Am the Walrus" was later released on their EP Magical Mystery Tour on 8 December 1967. One of the most intelligible pieces of lyric in the song is the oft-repeated line "Standing in the garden, waiting for the sun to shine", reminiscent of a line from the earlier Beatles tune, which contains the line "Sitting in an English garden, waiting for the sun." Because of that slight similarity, the song is often interpreted as being derived from, or loosely inspired by, "I Am the Walrus". The lyrics also feature the words "shoot me", which Lennon later reused on his hit single "Come Together". It begins with McCartney playing the lead guitar part from "I've Got a Feeling", while Lennon joins in and improvises three verses from "I Am the Walrus". It leads into a chorus, but then evolves to a jam. Lyrically, the song is about a man suffering from poverty who doesn't just want to watch rainbows, but make his own. There is also a line concerning a relationship with a mother, which is echoed in Lennon's song "Mother", released by him in 1970.
In a negative review, author Richie Unterberger dismissed it as "uninteresting" and "chunky", furthermore calling the track a "throw-away". In a positive review, David Marchese of Vulture called the song "another playful, jammy track from the Let It Be sessions".
- Garcia, Gilbert (27 January 2003). "The Ballad of Paul and Yoko". Salon.com. Retrieved 29 November 2023.
- Womack, Kenneth (2014). The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four. ABC-CLIO. p. 975. ISBN 9780313391729. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
- Sulpy, Doug; Schweighardt, Ray (1999). Get Back: The Unauthorized Chronicle of the Beatles' 'Let It Be' Disaster. New York: St. Martin's Griffin. pp. 201–2. ISBN 978-0-312-19981-4.
- Unterberger, Richie (2006). Unreleased Beatles Music and Film. San Francisco: Backbeat Books. pp. 232, 247–8. ISBN 978-0-87930-892-6.
- Womack, Kenneth (2014). Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four. Greenwood. p. 259. ISBN 9781440844270. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
- Unterberger, Richie (2006). The Unreleased Beatles. Backbeat Books. p. 259. ISBN 9780879308926. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
- Sulpy, Doug (1999). Get Back The Unauthorized Chronicle of the Beatles' " Let It Be" Disaster. St. Martin's Press. p. 201. ISBN 9780312199814. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
- Marchese, David (14 November 2016). "The 15 Best Unreleased Beatles Songs That You Can Listen to Now". Vulture. Retrieved 22 April 2020.