Good Night

Album: The White Album (1968)


  • This is the final track on The White Album, which was a double album released in the UK in November 1968. It's a tender ballad written by John Lennon and sung by Ringo Starr, whose voice suited the song's mood perfectly. It was completed with a lush score by Beatles producer George Martin, who also conducted the orchestra of 26 musicians. Along with the Mike Sammes Singers choral overdubs it was all consigned to the oxide particles in a late night session in Studio 1 at Abbey Road on July 22, 1968.
  • Many have thought this was a Paul McCartney song due to its gentle nature, but it does show John could write for the two opposite ends of the spectrum from the rockers like "Revolution" to the gentle "Julia." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    David - Wolverhampton, United Kingdom, for above 2
  • John Lennon wrote this lullaby for his son, Julian, who did not discover this was written for him until 12 years after it's release on The White Album.
  • Ringo sang this accompanied by a 30-piece orchestra and a choir. He is the only Beatle to appear on the song. The Orchestra was scored by Beatles producer George Martin.
  • Paul McCartney recalled in Many Years From Now by Barry Miles: "I think John felt it might not be good for his image for him to sing it but it was fabulous to hear him do it, he sang it great. We heard him sing it in order to teach it to Ringo and he sang it very tenderly. John rarely showed his tender side, but my key memories of John are when he was tender, that's what has remained with me; those moments where he showed himself to be a very generous, loving person. I always cite that song as an example of the John beneath the surface that we only saw occasionally... I don't think John's version was ever recorded."
  • This song demonstrates some similarities between John Lennon and the composer Richard Wagner. The transition from Lennon's chaotic "Revolution 9" to his light "Good Night," sounds very much like the end of "Die Götterdämmerung," where you hear dark and chaotic orchestra music that changes fashion and ends with a little conventional melody.
  • With its long notes, depth and melancholy, this resembles Lennon's "If I Fell." If you sing "If I Fell" very, very slowly, the melody to "Good Night" will appear. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Johan Cavalli, a music historian in Stockholm, for above 2
  • Coldplay played the song at the end of their concerts in 2005 while they waved goodbye and exited the stage. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bri - Chelmsford, MA

Comments: 47

  • Kavi from TrinidadYes, Marie, it's creepy, found your comment by googling 'beatles goodnight creepy'.................not gonna listen again
  • Trebor from TexasJOHAN-McCartney has only one surface? How can you explain your assertion? You cite Lennon's broad span with Julia to I Am The Walrus. How do you fail to cite Paul's Yesterday/And I Love Her to I'm Down/ Helter Skelter? You state you opinions (Lennon is the best song writer in history) as if they are facts. Your love affair with John Lennon is ridiculous. For an alleged "music historian" your reporting and recording of music history is biased and flawed. Your contributions to this website and others (The Beatles Bible for example) are the nadir of reading and understanding the true greatness of The Beatles. You should be critiquing groups like The Archies or 1910 Fruitgum Company. That would be more your speed, in my opinion.
  • Johan Cavalli from SwedenThe transition from Lennon's Revolution 9 to his Good Night in The White Album is wonderful; from darkness, chaos and not-music, to a light little melody in Good Night. McCartney didn't like Revolution 9, even though he after Lennon's death, wrongly boasted that he was the first with avant-garde music. With Revolution 9 before, Good Night sounds better. Often when I listen to Lennon, I think his music resembles that of Wagner, not exactly the music, but the temperament. In the end of Wagner's Götterdämmerung there is a chaos in the orchestra-music, a chaos which is dissolved in a little light sweet melody. For me very similar with Lennon's.
    Good Night is seemingly a light song, but in reality melancholic. If you listen only to the emphasized notes in Good Night, you will hear If I Fell!
    The greatness with Lennon is his broad span, from Julia to A'm The Walrus. McCartney has only one surface, but Lennon has several surfaces. Lennon has a kind of three dimensions. In the record The Beatles Love (from 2006) behind Ringo's singing Octopus Garden the orchestra plays Good Night. Suddenly the surface kind of went from outside to inside, I was moved to tears. Marvellous. It's difficult to explain. Lennon is one of the greatest composer ever, and the best song writer in History.
  • Ric Mac from Melbourne AustraliaAfter the arty aural assault of Revolution #9, this song elicits a peaceful ending to the album that is so gorgeous one needs to have a mug of hot chocolate in one's hand and a warm blanket nearby. As cheesy as the production is, it is downright cleverly orchestrated and beautifully song by Ringo. (Yes, he can sing. He just doesn't have a rock voice). But I am surprised that nobody has ever mentioned the similarities between this song and "True Love' from "High Society" by Cole Porter. The meter of the verses is near identical. Completely different notes, but I am certain John's song was certainly inspired by Cole's. John frequently borrowed musical ideas from other composers around this time (Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" played backwards became "Because", "Going to a Go Go" became "Daytripper" and the riff from "Just A Little Bit' by Tony Worsley And The Blue Jays became "Birthday"; not to mention "I feel fine', "Good morning" etc), but I am curious as to why this particular inspiration has never been cited before.
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxA radio station I used to listen to played this before it signed off each day. It was a low-wattage station and always signed off at sunset, so this was perfect.
  • Tom from Freiburg, GermanyAccording to Geoff Emerick, there was a beautiful demo version of this song, sung by Lennon himself, which he gave to Ringo to practice the song at home. Unfortunately this copy got lost forever.
  • Jim from West Palm Beach, FlThis is another of those 'weird' Beatle songs that don't fit the album, yet hold their own. Unless you consider it cheeky sarcasm for the White Album.
  • Gene from Gulfport, MsOver the last month or so, a nest of Carolina wrens hatched in my greenhouse just outside my back door. There were five of them, but one died shortly after he hatched, so my girlfriend and I named the survivors John, Paul, George, and Ringo, and belatedly named the one who died Pete. We kept our cat away, but one night when the first to hatch was maybe 10 days old, something else, probably another cat, got them. Now this song will forever remind me of those baby birds.
  • Adam from Middle Of Nowhere, WaThis song is awesome. I listen to it pretty much every night before I go to bed.
  • Norman from Jakarta, IndonesiaI love the whole White Album, even including Wild Honey Pie and Revolution 9, it's an incredible and brilliant album that shows how genius the Beatles are. And Good Night was a perfect song to end the Album just after listening to the depressing Revolution 9. And it was Good Night that made me love the Beatles in addition to just admiring and idolizing them.
  • John from Sydney, AustraliaA tender, delicate song ... a gentle lilting lullaby from a most beautiful man with a most beautiful heart - John Lennon. So simple ... so touching. A beautiful, romantic song filled with love that softly carries you into the world of sweet dreams ....
  • Marie from Charlotte, NcAnyone else find this song sort of creepy? Maybe it's because of the whispers at the end, or because it comes after the horrendous "Rev. 9".
  • Amanda from Gretna, Vtthis first time i heard this knowing it was a beatles song, it sounded do familiar and im still trying to find out where i heard it. i want to say a movie. sounds great, would like to here how john would sound though.
  • Chloe from St. Louis, Moim not sure i like this song...maybe its just because i find the string section a bit much, but its also because i lost a lot of respect for john over his problems with julian. he couldnt drop the 'image' to sing a song for his son? ringo's awesome, but maybe it would have sounded less corny if he had been the one singing.
  • Russell from Rochester, NyRingo does a good job, but I really would like to hear Lennon on this one. While this song is clearly not great, and I rarely ever make it past Revolution 9 so it's not heard very often, it is still better than the likes of Wild Honey Pie and Savoy Truffle.
  • Larry from Coral Springs, FlWhen I 1st heard this song I thought..beautiful..I gotta listen to this again
  • Rebecca from Wichita, KsThe first time I heard the whole song....I'm such a loser...I almost cried! I love it so much! Ringo has such a soothing voice in this song.
  • Kasey from Halifax, NsI adore this song. Every night when I go to sleep I listen to this song, it's perfect as a lullaby.
    It's not that it's dull or anything, like a boring movie that makes one fall asleep. It's more how the melody never rapidly changes, and it's basically the same throughout, which is soothing.
    And I disagree with people who say that the whisper at the end is ugly or creepy, I find it quite comforting. but to each their own.
  • Sara from Silver Spring, MdKenny Loggins my "musical father" covers this on his second "Pooh Corner" album appropiately enough as the last track. Alison Krauss sings with him.
  • Ken from Louisville, KyContrary to popular beilef, it was John, and not George Martin, who insisted on the syrupy orchestration. Martin was just providing what John insisted on. In and interview just before his death, John conceded that it was "possibly overlush".
  • Peter Griffin from Quahog, RiThis is a song meant for John's son and he couldn't even sing it. How wrong is that.
  • Bianca Sanchez from Alburquerque, NmThe whisper is my fave part
  • Bianca Sanchez from Alburquerque, NmLuna, Ringo's my faveorite Beatle too. I know a guy that looks like Ringo, he's cute.
  • Sean from Trenton, Nji like john lennon as much as anyone else, but this is where i lose some respect for him. this is a song about julian, and he can't even sing it. even though ringo does a good job, john should be the one singing this song. he went on to make "beautiful boy" aobut his next son sean. i feel bad for julian man, his dad wasn't there for him as much as with sean...

    hey jules, dont make it bad, take a sad song and make it better!
  • Dan from Indianapolis, InHas anyone else noticed that both "Good Morning Good Morning" and "Good Night" basically appear at the end of their respective albums? Maybe there's symbolism, but my mind is too weak to think about what it could be for.
  • Mike from Santa Barbara, CaI'm surprised at how much I like this song.
  • Sal from Bardonia , NyA John Lennon song who asked for this song to be in this style.Ringo a orchestra and a choir with a long fade in with a spoken ending another example of a Beatles song without rock instruments.
    Sal, Bardonia, NY
  • Lee from Perth, AustraliaSeems like they were just having a laugh when they wrote this. And to prick your ears and discover it's Ringo singing adds to the joke. I struggle to accept that this song was anything more.
  • Cosmo from Las Vegas, NvMeh, I know everybody is entitled to their opinions but "Reveloution 9" is a great track; it is no where near 'crap' as somebody put it. Very experimental and bold on Lennon's part, I'm glad him and Yoko fought to get it on the album. Reminds me of a bad acid trip version of Jefferson Airplane's "A Small Package of Value Will Come to You, Shortly," and the cemetery scene in the 1969 movie 'Easy Rider' where Captain America and Billy are tripping with the girls from the whorehouse... much like that scene the song is very haunting.

    But I'm off topic, to the song at hand; Ringo does a great job with it. I agree "Good Night" is a great song to follow the chaotic "Reveloution 9," and a great way to cap off a classic album.
  • Patrickman from Makati City, Otherwhy do you bash revolution 9 hard? well, it's probably the worst track in the album but it's john experimenting in it and he didn't mean it to be enjoyed by the listeners. he did it because he wanted to. anyway, good night takes you back to earth after being taken to somewhere else by revolution 9. ringo's voice is SO soothing. indeed, a great way to end a great album.
  • Mauricio from Hanford, CaRingo's vocals are awesome here. Great song.
  • Luna from London, EnglandI hate Revolution 9, so after hearing that crap its so soothing to hear Ringo, my fave Beatle, sing a quiet lovely comforting song.
  • Mandy from Calgary, CanadaWas this REALLY sung by Ringo?? REALLY?? Like, seriously???

    Wow. I never knew that. Obviously Ringo has a lovely voice. I didnt know he sounded like that. Wow. Sorry... I am just bewildered. Wow. LOL.

    I guess you learn something new every-day.

    Wow. Go Ringo.

    Ringo is my fav beatle, by the way.
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScIt's a great song, but as Paul said most people turn the album off after "Revolution 9." It's definitely relaxing... especially after you've listened to "Revolution 9" and been freaked out.
  • Paul from Flagstaff, AzVery good song. A great way to ease your building insanity after listening to revolution #9. Relaxing song that closes out the album very well. It should of come before revolution #9 because everybody that listened to that song just turned off the album because the song sucked so much.
  • David from Ann Arbor,, MiThe version on Anthology 3, I believe, has John's original piano-based track. I much prefer this version.
  • Nessie from Sapporo, JapanIt's one of their worst songs ever, in my opinion. A low low on an album where the highs are high and the lows are low.
  • Kristen from Aurora, IlI think Ringo does a great job on this. I love the whisper at the end too. It is a really relaxing song and I often put it on when I am trying to fall asleep.
  • Robert from Lutherville, MdWhen I first heard this song, I was certain Paul had written it. It's a reminder that John could write as melodic a tune as Paul when he wanted to. - Rob, Baltimore, MD.
  • Elliott from Douglassville, PaI like this song - a very unlike-the-Beatles Beatles song, which I guess they'd always been going for throughout their career. The only thing is, if you listen closely, on the third verse, the chorus sings the "Now it's time to say goodnight" verse, while Ringo sings the "Close your eyes and I'll close mine" verse - or vice versa, I don't have the song here with me.
  • Josh from Coral Springs, FlThis sounds kinda stupid but like this reminds me of a Christmas song, I mean you can picture snowing hard in the country, trying to get to sleep. Thats what I make.
  • Will from Roswell, GaI think that Ringo's whisper at the end is very comforting. A great way to end The White Album. I listen to this often when I'm trying to go to sleep. The whisper at the end totally makes me feel at ease after a rough day.
  • Scott Baldwin from Edmonton, CanadaBrittanie,I agree.The day i got the white album c.d. my family listened to the whole album (except WILD HONY PIE and REVOLUTION NUMBER 9) and I jumped at that part!It was creepy.
  • Jeff from Barrington, IlThere's nothing more comforting than Ringo's voice in this song after you make the mistake of listening to the entire Revolution 9.
  • Brittanie from Liverpool, EnglandI'm not a big fan of this song. If makes me jump everytime at the end when he whispers. That part isn't very relaxing. It sounds pretty ugly, that whisper at the end.
  • Steve from San Jose, CaI find the music strangely beautiful -- one of my favorite "second tier" Beatle songs.
  • Paul from Tulsa, OkJohn Lennon was going to sing this song, but thought it was too soft and would not "fit his hard image", so he gave it to Ringo to sing. It was the last song on the Beatles White Album.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Ed Roland of Collective Soul

Ed Roland of Collective SoulSongwriter Interviews

The stories behind "Shine," "December," "The World I Know" and other Collective Soul hits.

Stan Ridgway

Stan RidgwaySongwriter Interviews

Go beyond the Wall of Voodoo with this cinematic songwriter.

Amy Lee of Evanescence

Amy Lee of EvanescenceSongwriter Interviews

The Evanescence frontwoman on the songs that have shifted meaning and her foray into kids' music.

Don Brewer of Grand Funk

Don Brewer of Grand FunkSongwriter Interviews

The drummer and one of the primary songwriters in Grand Funk talks rock stardom and Todd Rundgren.

80s Video Director Jay Dubin

80s Video Director Jay DubinSong Writing

Billy Joel and Hall & Oates hated making videos, so they chose a director with similar contempt for the medium. That was Jay Dubin, and he has a lot to say on the subject.

Scott Stapp

Scott StappSongwriter Interviews

The Creed lead singer reveals the "ego and self-fulfillment" he now sees in one of the band's biggest hits.