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The Beatles Albums- The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill

The Beatles – The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill

Song Lyrics

The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill”

Hey, Bungalow Bill
What did you kill, Bungalow Bill?
Hey, Bungalow Bill
What did you kill, Bungalow Bill?He went out tiger hunting with his elephant and gun
In case of accidents he always took his mom
He’s the all American bullet-headed Saxon mother’s son
All the children singHey, Bungalow Bill
What did you kill, Bungalow Bill?
Hey, Bungalow Bill
What did you kill, Bungalow Bill?Deep in the jungle where the mighty tiger lies
Bill and his elephants were taken by surprise
So Captain Marvel zapped in right between the eyes, zap!beatles-12
All the children singHey, Bungalow Bill
What did you kill, Bungalow Bill?
Hey, Bungalow Bill
What did you kill, Bungalow Bill?

The children asked him if to kill was not a sin
“Not when he looked so fierce”, his mummy butted in
If looks could kill it would have been us instead of him
All the children sing

Hey, Bungalow Bill
What did you kill, Bungalow Bill?
Hey, Bungalow Bill
What did you kill, Bungalow Bill?

Oh ho!

Hey, Bungalow Bill
What did you kill, Bungalow Bill?
Hey, Bungalow Bill
What did you kill, Bungalow Bill?

Hey, Bungalow Bill
What did you kill, Bungalow Bill?
Hey, Bungalow Bill
What did you kill, Bungalow Bill?

Hey, Bungalow Bill
What did you kill, Bungalow Bill?
Hey, Bungalow Bill
What did you kill, Bungalow Bill?

Song History and Facts
Lennon wrote this about a guy he met at the Maharishi’s camp in India who loved to hunt. The 4 Beatles went on the retreat to study meditation, but were not impressed with the results.
The hunter’s name was Richard A. Cooke and his wife Bronwyn explained in Mojo magazine September 2008 that Richard, “had asked the Maharishi if it was a sin to kill a tiger. John and George were in the room. Maharishi’s response was, ‘Life destruction is Life destruction.’ Rik has not shot anything since. He became a freelance photographer for National Geographic.”

This song mocks the actions of a young American named Richard A. Cooke III, known as Rik, who was visiting his mother, Nancy Cooke de Herrera, at the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Rishikesh at the same time that The Beatles were staying with the Maharishi. According to his mother, both she and her son maintained friendly relations with all of The Beatles except for Lennon, who by Cooke de Herrera’s account was “a genius” but distant and contemptuous of the wealthy American Cooke de Herrera and her clean-cut, college-attending son. According to Nancy’s life account, Beyond Gurus, the genesis of the song occurred when she, Rik, and several others, including guides, set out upon elephants to hunt for a tiger (allegedly presented by their Indian guide as a traditional act). The pack of elephants was attacked by a tiger, which was shot by Rik. Rik was initially proud of his quick reaction and posed for a photograph with his prize. However, Rik’s reaction to the slaying was mixed, as he has not hunted since. Nancy claims that all present recognised the necessity of Rik’s action, but that John Lennon’s reaction was scornful and sarcastic, asking Rik: “But wouldn’t you call that slightly life-destructive?” The song was written by Lennon as mocking what he saw as Rik’s bravado and unenlightened attitude.

Lennon later told his version of the story in a Playboy interview, stating that: “‘Bungalow Bill’ was written about a guy in Maharishi’s meditation camp who took a short break to go shoot a few poor tigers, and then came back to commune with God. There used to be a character called Jungle Jim, and I combined him with Buffalo Bill. It’s sort of a teenage social-comment song and a bit of a joke.” Mia Farrow, who was also at the ashram during the period, supports Lennon’s story in her autobiography; she writes, “Then a self-important, middle-aged American woman arrived, moving a mountain of luggage into the brand-new private bungalow next to Maharishi’s along with her son, a bland young man named Bill. People fled this newcomer, and no one was sorry when she left the ashram after a short time to go tiger hunting, unaware that their presence had inspired a new Beatles’ song – ‘Bungalow Bill.'”  LINK

The song was recorded by the Beatles at Abbey Road on 8 October 1968 and was completed including all overdubs in this one session. They also started and completed the Lennon-composed “I’m So Tired” during the same recording session.

This marks the only occasion in a Beatles song that a woman sings lead vocal, when Yoko Ono sings “Not when he looks so fierce”.

The song was recorded by the Beatles at Abbey Road on 8 October 1968 and was completed including all overdubs in this one session. They also started and completed the Lennon-composed “I’m So Tired” during the same recording session.

This marks the only occasion in a Beatles song that a woman sings lead vocal, when Yoko Ono sings “Not when he looks so fierce”.

 Back to Beatles Main Page

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