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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Golden Slumbers/The Beatles


"Golden Slumbers" is one of the songs and song fragments that make up side two of The Beatles' Abbey Road, the last album they recorded together as a band. Abbey Road was released in 1969, but the lyrics to "Golden Slumbers" date back somewhat earlier--in fact, about 370 years earlier. The song is adapted from a poem by Thomas Dekker, an Elizabethan dramatist, and comes from a play Dekker wrote with Henry Chettle and William Haughton called The Pleasant Comodie of Patient Grissill, first performed in the 1590s and published in 1603 (it is currently available in The Dramatic Works of Thomas Dekker, Volume 1). The original poem reads:

Golden slumbers kisse your eyes,
Smiles awake you when you rise:
Sleepe pretty wantons doe not cry,
And I will sing a lullabie,
Rocke them rocke them lullabie.

Care is heavy therefore sleepe you,
You are care and care must keep you:
Sleepe pretty wantons doe not cry,
And I will sing a lullabie,
Rocke them rocke them lullabie.

Hard to believe the most influential rock band in history would pass up the lyrics Rocke them rocke them lullabie, but they don't appear in Paul McCartney's adaptation. On the album, "Golden Slumbers" is part of a medley that includes "Carry That Weight" and "The End."

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