Sexy Sadie

Album: The White Album (1968)
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  • John Lennon wrote this song about Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, The Beatles' Indian guru. The group took an interest in Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation (TM) after attending one of his lectures in August 1967. In February 1968, they went to India to study TM at his camp, but left early when they began to fear he was more of a cult leader than an enlightened being. Specifically, they thought he was using his status to lure women.

    Lennon wrote the song as "Maharishi," but changed the title to "Sexy Sadie" to keep from getting sued. The opening lines make Lennon's sentiment perfectly clear:

    Sexy Sadie, what have you done
    You made a fool of everyone
  • Lennon dubbed the Maharishi "sexy" after hearing he hit on the actress Mia Farrow, who was also at the camp. Farrow's sister, Prudence, was there as well, and her experience led Lennon to write "Dear Prudence."

    By the time George Harrison and John Lennon caught wind of Maharishi's discretions, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr had already left, but they had planned to leave early. According to Lennon, when he and Harrison confronted Maharishi to tell them they were leaving, Maharishi asked why, and Lennon said, "If you're so cosmic, you'll know why."

    This was the end of The Beatles' association with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, but they did continue to explore meditation and Eastern philosophy. Harrison, in particular, delved much deeper into his teachings and came to believe in reincarnation.

    As for the Maharishi, it's not clear if he did anything wrong at the camp, as Lennon may have gotten bad information from those trying to curry favor. This song though, sullied Maharishi's reputation and derailed the Transcendental Meditation movement.
  • 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." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Breanna - Henderson, NV

Comments: 52

  • Steven from Boise, IdahoI believe that most Beatle's fans thought is was about Prudence Farrow, because alot of the people that were there, were sure Yogi was messing around with Mia's sister. John wrote a great song about the whole matter. I'm sort of glad she didn't write a book about the incident. From what I've read she got very much out of his teachings. GREAT meditation can be very productive, for your soul.
  • Veki from SerbiaDr Chopra said of the rumor that the guru had misbehaved with Farrow, who was part of the entourage: "There was never any truth to stories about the maharishi's womanising. When he was sick in the UK, he wouldn't even allow any female nurses near him.

    "As for the stuff about Mia Farrow, that was complete nonsense. I met her years later and she asked me to tell the maharishi that she still loved him," he said.

    Dr Chopra said Harrison later apologised to the maharishi during a visit to his meditation centre at Vlodrop in Holland
  • Rizki Kidut from Indonesianassalamualaikum
    Ok sebelum nya Saya Rizki Kidut Dari Bandung

    Saya Sangat Cinta Sama The Beatles Lagunya Sangat Masuk Pada jiwa Dan hati saya,Saya Tau Band The Beatles Ini dari Bapak saya.Pada waktu saya kecil umur 9 Thn saya Liat Bapak saya Sering sekali Denger lagu The Beatles Di Radio,di Kaset,Bahkan Di Television.Awal nya saya acuh aja karna Saya gk tau Itu lagu apa karna Saya dulu masih kecil,tapi setelah saya dengarkan Lagu the beatles itu secara gk sengaja Kok rasanya Enak aja.Setelah Denger lagu The beatles sekilas saya nangih dan terus Setiap hari Pasti selalu Minta Kebapak saya Di putar Lagu The Beatles itu,Ranjak dewasa saya sering Bernyanyi sambil di iringin gitar,Saat aku smp Saya ajak teman teman yang Suka dengan Band the beatles saya ajak sharing tentang lagu dan dunia permusikan.tidak sampai di situ saya Merencanakan Untuk Cover tribute lagu The beatles Buat Pentas seni dan kelulusan Sekolah ku,kami pun Latihan Bersama sama Sambil menyewa Studio musik dulu sih Harga Sewa 1 jam nya 20rb (kalo gk salah).kami pun Saling sharing dan senang karna Kita sehobi.
    Berjalan nya waktu kami pun tampil di pentas seni di sekolah Dan kami pun membawakan Lagu the beatles (sexy sadie,happiness is a warm gun dan obladi oblada).Dan kami pun juara 1 di smp.
    Kami pun giat berlatih dan Kami pun bikin band dengan Nama "The Sahabat".
    kami pun bikin 2 lagu buat pentas di kelulusan sekolah judul nya "Jauh sekali dan Marsya Sayang"
    (marsya itu mantan ku:v).
    Dan pas kelulusan Ku Saya bawakan lagu (Baby's in black,I want to hold your hand,dan lagu ku marsya sayang) *lupa tahun berapa Nanti kalo inget saya edit
    sedih rasaya Saat perpisahan sekolah tapi mau gimana kita bubar karna Teman teman saya Bersekolah di Luar Kota sedangkan saya masih tetep di bandung hanya ada anggota drumer yang Masih Satu sekolah.

    saya sudahi dulu cerita nya

    oh iya lupa saya juga Sampai sekarang sering Latihan Band Bareng bapak saya di rumah hehe


  • Bruce from CaliformiaWhen I first heard this when the album was released I thought he was singing about Christine Keeler and John Profumo.
  • Judith from SwedenSexy Sadie is indeed Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. I knew Maharishi personally since we actually had a love affair, yes, physical and have written a book about it called Robes of Silk Feet of Clay. There is a lot of confusion on the web about the history behind this song. I can contribute some information on the subject. Maharishi did make a pass at Mia according to her own book. He did not try to rape her, according to what she writes there. Rape does not line up with what I know about him. It was more a question of making inappropriate advances as a celibate monk and seducing young western devotees of which I was one. Also, Mia was not the actual woman that stimulated John's anger and disappointment with Maharishi. It was another devotee, a young teacher from the USA. I have spoken with her personally about this as well as others who were on the Beatles course. Here I can recommend a book called The Secret of the Mantras written by Richard Blakely who wrote a daily journal while on the course. Any remarks made by the Beatles during later years are in my mind an attempt to make up for leaving the ashram in anger, but I believe what the woman involved told me, especially in view of my own experiences with Maharishi. Even Richard Blakely's book is confirmation of the antics going on during the Beatles course in India.
  • Bubblesk from Memphis, TnI 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.
  • Ian from Columbus, OhSo did the Maharashi hit on the woman or attempt to rape her? Cause that's a pretty huge f--king difference....
  • Cecile from Châteaubourg, FranceI'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...
  • Mimi from San Diego, CaThis 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.
  • Breanna from Henderson, NvDeana, 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.
  • Jim from Long Beach, CaI 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.
  • Chomper from Franjkin County, PaWhy 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).
  • Bag from A Little Yellow Island, Neutral Zonethe line was" maharishi mahesh yogi" changed for a variety of reason....
  • Ken from Louisville, KyPaul 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 from Louisville, KyGeorge said he was the one who talked John out of using the word "Maharishi", and suggested "Sexy Sadie" instead, because it scanned the same.
  • R.h. from Pauls Valley, OkKatrinka 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!
  • Amanda from Shreveport, LaI actually thought this was Jet's "Look What You've Done" lol
  • Hannah from Hampshire, England, United KingdomI can never get sick of this song. One of Lennon's best!
  • Art from St Louis, MoMany 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.
  • Katrinka from Calgary, CanadaI 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
  • Peter Griffin from Quahog, RiApparently he's saying he believes Paul is dead again. No, he is not.
  • Jose from São Paulo, BrazilPeter, could you explain the meaning of the word "smokescreen"? 'Couse I don't know what the hell is "more jewish smokescreen" that Steeve wrote.
  • Peter Griffin from Quahog, RiSteve-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?
  • Yawg from Westbrook, CtWell 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."
  • Willam from La Mirada, CaI 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?!?!
  • Oliver from Rye, NhThe 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."
  • Alisa from Franklin, WiWell 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.
  • Billy from Chicago, Ilwere do you get charles manson from this...hes that guy who watches tv in jail isnt he?
  • Paul from Potters Bar, EnglandA 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.
  • Monica from San Francisco, CaI love dancing ot this song! lol!
  • Austin from Granville, OhI 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
  • Linus from Hamilton, On, CanadaThe song would be better if they said "Maharishi"
  • Stuart from London, EnglandI agree Bill, I hear SADIST too, maybe it was an intentional jibe at the Maharishi.
    Great Song though, love the intro
  • Zach from Philly, Kswho cares if its about the maharishi the song is so cool
  • Linus from Hamilton, On, CanadaYou're thinking of "Sexy Sadie", Justin
  • Mike from Newark, NdOne 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!"
  • Justin from Florence, ScThese 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?

  • Z from Montreal, CanadaPaul 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.
  • Nelle from Lima, PeruThe Anthology 3 version is so sexy it makes you completely forget is about the Maharishi..
  • Bill from Southeastern Part Of, FlLet 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.
  • Nathan from Defiance, OhIvonne, I think Jet was probably paying homage to the Beatles. Their versoin isn't that bad, not nearly as good as Sexy Sadie though.
  • Harry from Cornwall, EnglandThis song was about Maharishi and how he attempted to rape Mia Farrow i know this because i am Mia story i do belive is true though as i have heard it lots of times.
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScPaula. I'm pretty sure it's about the Maharishi. I read the same thing at another website, and it's in the songfacts.
  • Steve from Liverpool, EnglandI 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.
  • Paula-mersey from TÃ?mperley, ArgentinaIt´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.
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScJohn Lennon wrote this about the Maharishi? How odd, and what an odd way to write a song. I guess the original lyrics were different..
  • Ivonne from Los Angeles, Ca 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... :(
  • Paulo from New York, NyI'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.
  • Brittanie from Liverpool, EnglandAnother 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.
  • Don from Rapid City, Sd"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.
  • Deana from Indianapolis, InSadie became her nickname only after te release of this. She's still in prison
  • Dan from Fort Collins, CoAnother song Charles Manson thought the Beatles were using to speak to him. "Sadie" was a female member of the Manson family.
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