We’re dipping back into the Far Out Magazine archives to deliver some more dreamy harmonies from The Beatles by revisiting one of their most iconic songs, the stand-out underwater track of 1969, ‘Octopus’s Garden’.
The track, written and performed by Ringo Starr, was featured on the band’s eleventh studio album Abbey Road. The album has gone down in history and was a marked turning point for the drummer who, for the first time, was finally given the creative freedom he deserved.
“‘Octopus’s Garden’ is Ringo’s song,” George Harrison once said. “It’s only the second song Ringo has ever written, mind you, and it’s lovely.” It was the mark of a band starting to fully explore their creativity.
When detailing why the song is so loved by Beatles fans, Harrison added: “Because it’s so peaceful. I suppose Ringo is writing cosmic songs these days without even realising it.” It’s hard to argue, the “peace and love” man is the archetypal Zen master of drums.
Hilariously, the song was inspired by the time Starr was on a boat belonging to comedian Peter Sellers, floating around Sardinia in 1968, and when he ordered fish and chips, he actually received squid instead. It was enough to be the spark for one of the Fab Four’s most well-known songs.
Having never eaten the animal prior, Starr was taken aback by his surprise meal which kickstarted a conversation with the boat’s captain. The captain would tell a story about how “octopuses travel along the sea bed picking up stones and shiny objects with which to build a garden.” It delighted Starr, stirring his creative juices, and the song was born. With the Beatles’ thrust of musical creativity, it was given the space it desired.
With Paul McCartney and George Harrison on backing vocals, Starr took the lead. It saw the drummer become a new voice for the band, a relatively unknown quantity, and he later admitted that the gurgling sound mid-song was produced when he decided to blow through a straw into a glass of milk.
For now, though, stripping away the two electric guitars, enjoy some isolated vocals of Ringo Starr that highlights the power of his songwriting skill.