John Lennon and Paul McCartney Wrote Songs Based on the Same Lecture

A guru gave a lecture that inspired John Lennon and Paul McCartney to write songs. Paul’s song appeared on ‘The White Album’ while John’s became a hit for another artist.

The Beatles knew how to derive inspiration from the most unlikely places. A guru gave a lecture that inspired John Lennon and Paul McCartney to write songs. Paul’s song appeared on The White Album while John’s became one of his most notable solo ballads.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney initially wrote songs with similar names

During a 1980 interview from the book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, John discussed his feelings about the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, his former guru. “Listen, if somebody’s gonna impress me, whether it be a Maharishi or a Yoko Ono, there comes a point when the emperor has no clothes,” he said. “There comes a point where I will see. So for all you folks out there who think that I’m having the wool pulled over my eyes — well, that’s an insult to me. Not that you think less of Yoko, because that’s your problem; what I think of her is what counts!” Yoko went on to joke that John spent two months with the Maharishi with she had been with her husband for 13 years.

John was asked about the origin of The Beatles’ “Mother Nature’s Son.” “Paul,” he said. “That was from a lecture of Maharishi where he was talking about nature, and I had a piece called ‘I’m Just a Child of Nature,’ which turned into ‘Jealous Guy’ years later. Both inspired from the same lecture of Maharishi.”

‘Jealous Guy’ is a really honest song

During the same time, John discussed the meaning of “Jealous Guy.” “My song, melody written in India,” he said. “The lyrics explain themselves clearly: I was a very jealous, possessive guy. Toward everything. A very insecure male. A guy who wants to put his woman in a little box.”

While “Mother Nature’s Son” and “Jealous Guy” have the same roots, they couldn’t be more different. The former is a folk ditty while the latter is a pop ballad with lush strings. While John had plenty to say about the meaning of “Jealous Guy,” he never discussed why he transformed it from a song about nature into a song about his insecurities.

John Lennon’s song eclipsed Paul McCartney’s

Unlike other songs from The White Album, “Mother Nature’s Son” had mostly been forgotten. Considering how long the record is, it’s easy for certain tracks to get lost in the frey. Perhaps the most notable cover of “Mother Nature’s Son” was Harry Nilsson’s from his 1969 album Harry. The “Coconut” singer would go on to work with both John and Ringo Starr during the 1970s.

“Jealous Guy,” on the other hand, inspired a famous rendition by Roxy Music. The Official Charts Company says that cover reached No. 1 in the United Kingdom. Other notable acts who tackled “Jealous Guy” include The Weeknd, Donny Hathaway, Florence + The Machine, Elliott Smith, and Kevin Parker of Tame Impala. Aside from “Imagine,” “Jealous Guy” might be the most famous ballad from John’s career as a solo artist.

Even if one eclipsed the other, “Mother Nature’s Son” and “Jealous Guy” have interesting backstories.

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