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Sexy Sadie

by

The Beatles



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

John Lennon wrote this about the Maharishi while he was leaving India in 1968. After attending his Transcendental Meditation camp with the other Beatles, Lennon thought The Maharishi was a crock.
The song describes Lennon's total dissatisfaction with the Maharishi. While at his retreat, it has been said that the Maharishi attempted to rape Mia Farrow. Once The Beatles learned of this, they immediately went to the Maharishi, and Lennon announced they were all leaving. The Maharishi asked why? Lennon said, "If you're so cosmic, you'll know why." As originally written, some of its lyrics were considered obscene, and had to be refined. Lennon had used the Maharishi's name, but had to change it for fear of being sued. But, Sexy Sadie is the Maharishi. Needless to say, that was the end of the Maharishi and The Beatles relationship. (thanks, Dominic - Pittsburgh, PA)
Lennon dubbed the Maharishi "sexy" after he hit on Mia Farrow. Farrow's sister, Prudence, was also there, and her experience led Lennon to write "Dear Prudence."
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was born January 12, 1917. The founder of the Transcendental Meditation Movement, the Beatles spent time with the Maharishi in 1967-68; they were visiting him when they learned of the death of their manager Brian Epstein. John was disenchanted with the Maharishi and thought he was a hoax, and left abruptly convincing the others he was using the girls The Beatles had brought him.
This song required 52 takes and a full day-and-a-half of studio time. Lennon spent much of time cussing his way through the sessions, deeply hurt after coming to the conclusion that the Maharishi was not as holy as he'd hoped.
The song confirmed Charles Manson's belief that the Beatles were talking directly to him, by virtue of one of his followers, Susan Atkins, having already been nicknamed Sadie Mae Glutz. Many of the tracks from The White Album ("Piggies" for example) were interpreted by Manson as messages directed to him.
In the Anthology book when The Beatles were talking about Manson, John Lennon was quoted as saying, "All the other fellows had some 'influence' on Manson, but not me I didn't do nothing," but Sadie was the nickname for Susan Atkins (Sadie Mae Glutz) which did contribute to Manson's belief that the Beatles were singing about him and his "Family." (thanks, Breanna - Henderson, NV)
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Comments (47):

I first heard "Sexy Sadie" in 1968 when my brother bought the White Album LP. The production is eerie with the echoy piano which makes the song all the more compelling. Then later when the background of the song was known (the incident with the Maharishi), it gave the song a kind of urban legend quality. When many of the Beatles' albums were reissued a few years back, I bought the White Album. Still enjoy listening to this track. Lennon was truly a great composer. He is still truly missed by many.
- BubblesK, Memphis, TN
So did the Maharashi hit on the woman or attempt to rape her? Cause that's a pretty huge f--king difference....
- Ian, Columbus, OH
I'm probably going to sound silly, but this is a song that "bites" my heart... I actually *feel* something biting me (very gently) in the heart when I hear this track. Honest...
- Cecile, Châteaubourg, France
This story is told on The Beatles Anthology, The Directors Cut. You can hear is straight from the guys about how it all went down. Its on YouTube.
- MiMi, San Diego, CA
Deana, you're wrong, Susan Atkins had had the nick name 'Sadie Mae Glutz' for about 3 years before the song came out, so what Charlie interperted this as was that the Beatles were singing about the Family and that they wanted to join him, weird cowinsidence but yet Charlie was a bit messed up in the head.
- Breanna, Henderson, NV
I had a Guatemalan girlfriend named Sadie, this was her song. I used to sing it to her. i told her i wrote it for her..LOL!!..I came clean later..We are not together anymore, but still friends.
- Jim, Long Beach, CA
Why is everyone considering that John hated the Marharishi Yogi? .. Did not John write the song , "Instant Karma"? ..People have to realize that in India back then , people condidered the Maharishi as a Holy Man (so did the so - called Hare Krishna groups ,who hanged around the guy).
- Chomper, Franjkin County, PA
the line was" maharishi mahesh yogi" changed for a variety of reason....
- bag, a little yellow island, Neutral Zone
Paul has said that he considered his trip to India as a positive experience, he said he never had any ill will to the Maharishi and still practices meditation from time to time. He visited the Maharishi in India a few years prior to the Maharishi's death in early 2008. Paul said the only reason he left India after a month was because he had commitments back in England, not because of any bad feelings.
- Ken, Louisville, KY
George said he was the one who talked John out of using the word "Maharishi", and suggested "Sexy Sadie" instead, because it scanned the same.
- Ken, Louisville, KY
Katrinka from Canada; John Lennon did a two-part interview in Rolling Stone magazine in the early seventies which was published as a book called "Lennon Remembers". In it he says during a sit-in with the Maharishi (and tons of media) he just wasn't buying the whole thing and when he got up to leave the Maharishi asked why and Lennon said "If you're so damn cosmic why don't you tell ME!" The Maharishi looked "daggers" at him as if to say "this MY moment; don't spoil it for me!". It was then he KNEW the Maharishi was a crock and only in it for the money and publicity. You can substitute Maharishi for Sexy Sadie because that's who the song is about. Yes, he wanted to avoid a lawsuit. Also in the book he says his song "How Do You Sleep" is about Paul McCartney. By the way...Deepak Chopra is a crock too!
- R.H., Pauls Valley, OK
I actually thought this was Jet's "Look What You've Done" lol
- Amanda, Shreveport, LA
I can never get sick of this song. One of Lennon's best!
- Hannah, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
Many times Lennon songs have been misunderstood.I myself think that this is just a opinion from a master song writer that the word may never really understand.Peace and Love.
- Art, St Louis, MO
I read in an interview with John Lennon before he died that quoted him saying that he did know why he said those things about Maharishi and that Maharishi was a very nice man. Paul McCartney, Cynthia Lennon, George Harrison, and more have written and said that the story about Mia Farrow and Maharishi is not true. Deepak Chopra says also that from from conversations with George before his death that he knows this story is not true snd gives details how the story got started. George Harrison and his family continued to practise Maharishi's meditation and I heard in an interview that Ringo Starr continues to practise TM. APrudence Farrow has continued as a student of Maharishi all these years, which I cannot imagine she would do if this story about her sister, Mia, had merit.
Katrina, Calgary, AB
- katrinka, calgary, Canada
Apparently he's saying he believes Paul is dead again. No, he is not.
- Peter Griffin, Quahog, RI
Peter, could you explain the meaning of the word "smokescreen"? 'Couse I don't know what the hell is "more jewish smokescreen" that Steeve wrote.
- Jose, São Paulo, Brazil
Steve-Jewish smokescreen? What? Wait a minute, aren't you the same Steve who tells people that all Led Zeppelin songs are calls to move to Chicago or else you will die?
- Peter Griffin, Quahog, RI
Well I don't care what the real story is behind this song. To me it is about a woman who uses men for sex. She made a fool of everyone because they made the mistake of falling in love with her when she had no intention of reciprocating. She broke the rules and laid it down for all to see is a polite way of calling her a slut. The end of the song either suggests that this behavior will eventually be punished or that Sadie might one day change. "However big you think you are. Sexy Sadie, you'll get yours yet."
- yawg, Westbrook, CT
I am an American and I'm not gonna lie, most are very stupidly crazy, so youre right Brittanie. But I cant belive the Maharishi would do that?!?!
- Willam, La Mirada, CA
The Beatles acctually left the Maharashis camp when they found out he was secretly having sex with one of his students. When the Maharishi asked why? Lennon said, "If you're so cosmic, you'll know why."
- oliver, Rye, NH
Well i was reading in my White Album book and it said that Sadie Mae Glutz was a member of the Manson family and she would stip to this song.
- Alisa, Franklin, WI
were do you get charles manson from this...hes that guy who watches tv in jail isnt he?
- billy, chicago, IL
A superbly intelligent track that has possibly the best intro I have ever heard. The vocal backing, the piano, the lyrics... its all great. Typical Lennon genius.
- Paul, Potters Bar, England
I love dancing ot this song! lol!
- Monica, San Francisco, CA
I like the instrumentation of this song. The distorted guitar blends with the piano in a cool way. The "wow wow's" are cool, plus John's falsetto wail at the end, making an overall Cmaj7 chord, that fit perfectly into the song
- Austin, Granville, OH
The song would be better if they said "Maharishi"
- Linus, Hamilton, ON, Canada
I agree Bill, I hear SADIST too, maybe it was an intentional jibe at the Maharishi.
Great Song though, love the intro
- Stuart, London, England
who cares if its about the maharishi the song is so cool
- zach, philly, KS
You're thinking of "Sexy Sadie", Justin
- Linus, Hamilton, ON, Canada
One of my favorites on the album. I love the lyrics and the double meanings. Lennon could cut to chase better than anyone. I always found the "Ahhhhhhhhhhh" at the end a little disturbing as it fades. All in all, one of the "keepers!"
- Mike, Newark, ND
These are appearently the original lyrics. I know that swearing is not allowed on this site, but I post this only for the historical reference.

Maharishi, what have you done?
You made a fool of everyone,

Maharishi, you broke the rules,
you laid it down for all to see.

Maharishi, you little twat,
Who the f*ck do you think you are?
Who the f*ck do you think you are?
Oh you c*nt

On another note, anyone notice how Radiohead's "Karma Police" sounds a lot like this song?
- Justin, Florence, SC
Paul Weller did a version of this song. He sounds very much like Eric Clapton. He did a Clapton version of the song, more bluesy than the original Beatles version. The Paul Weller version is done in a Blues Rock style. He increased the Blues sound of the song.
- Z, Montreal, Canada
The Anthology 3 version is so sexy it makes you completely forget is about the Maharishi..
- Nelle, Lima, Peru
Let me know if any of you hear what I hear on this song. At one point in the song, toward the end, Lennon sings SADIE and the backing vocalists sing GREATEST at the same time. When you put SADIE and GREATEST together, you get SADIST. That is what it sounds like to me. Let me know what you think.
- Bill, southeastern part of, FL
Ivonne, I think Jet was probably paying homage to the Beatles. Their versoin isn't that bad, not nearly as good as Sexy Sadie though.
- Nathan, Defiance, OH
This song was about Maharishi and how he attempted to rape Mia Farrow i know this because i am Mia Farrow...lol...not...This story i do belive is true though as i have heard it lots of times.
- Harry, Cornwall, England
Paula. I'm pretty sure it's about the Maharishi. I read the same thing at another website, and it's in the songfacts.
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
I love this song and never get tired of listening to it And I adore the backing vocals. I would love to sing this song live doing the backing vocals. Pity the White Album influenced the warped mind of Manson that led to so much tragedy.
- Steve, Liverpool, England
It´s a great song,maybe it refers to Yoko,are you really sure that´s about the Maharishi???
BEAUTIFUL SONG,as LENNON used to write.
- Paula-Mersey, TÃ?mperley, Argentina
John Lennon wrote this about the Maharishi? How odd, and what an odd way to write a song. I guess the original lyrics were different..
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
This song is among my favorites. It's such a shame that those Jet rip-offs had to ruin it. They composed a song that sounds very similar to "Sexy Sadie". They even stole two lines... :(
- Ivonne, Los Angeles, CA
I'm glad they changed the name of this song and not just for lawsuit reasons. "Maharishi" just doesn't have quite the same ring to it. I also think it would have taken away from the enigma of the song.
- Paulo, New York, NY
Another great song. If the Manson "family" *psh* thought this was to speak to them, they were pretty dense (which I guess they were). Because it even says she'll get hers yet. Hmm...yeah, nice. Crazy Americans.
- Brittanie, Liverpool, England
"Sadie Mae Glutz" was the nickname of Manson family member Suan Atkins well before she went to prison. In the book "Helter Skelter" by Vincent Bugliosi (the prosecutor in the case) other family members referred to her as "Sadie" many times in interviews that took place before the trial even began.
- don, rapid city, SD
Sadie became her nickname only after te release of this. She's still in prison
- Deana, Indianapolis, IN
Another song Charles Manson thought the Beatles were using to speak to him. "Sadie" was a female member of the Manson family.
- Dan, Fort Collins, CO
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