Definitions

reaps the benefit

Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!

"Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" (also known as "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite") is a song from the 1967 Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was composed primarily by John Lennon with input from Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon/McCartney.

Lennon wrote the song taking inspiration from a nineteenth century circus poster for Pablo Fanque's circus which he purchased in an antique shop in January or February 1967, while filming the promotional video for the song "Strawberry Fields Forever" in Kent. Mr. Kite is believed to be William Kite, who worked for Pablo Fanque from 1843 to 1845.

Recording

One of the most musically complex songs on Sgt. Pepper, it was recorded on 17 February 1967 with overdubs on 20 February (organ sound effects), 28 March (harmonica, organ, guitar), 29 March (more organ sound effects), and 31 March. Lennon wanted the track to have a "carnival atmosphere", and told producer George Martin that he wanted "to smell the sawdust on the floor." In the middle eight bars, multiple recordings of fairground organs and calliope music were spliced together to attempt to produce this request; after a great deal of unsuccessful experimentation, George Martin instructed Geoff Emerick to chop the tape into pieces with scissors, throw them up in the air, and re-assemble them at random.

On 17 February, Lennon sings "For the benefit of Mr. Kite" in a joke accent, just before Emerick announces, "For the Benefit of Mr. Kite!, take 1." Lennon immediately responds, "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!", reinforcing his title preference, a phrase lifted intact from the original poster. The exchange is recorded in The Beatles Recording Sessions (slightly misquoted) and audible on track 8 of disc 2 of Anthology 2.

Although Lennon once said of the song that he "wasn't proud of that" and "I was just going through the motions," in 1980 he described it as "pure, like a painting, a pure watercolour."

It was one of three songs from the Sgt. Pepper album that was banned from playing on the BBC, supposedly because the phrase "Henry the Horse" combined two words that were individually known as slang for heroin. Lennon denied that the song had anything to do with heroin.

Personnel

Covers and influence

Notes

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