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Obladi, Oblada By Brian Harris

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"Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" is a song credited to Lennon–McCartney, but written by Paul McCartney, and released by the Beatles on their 1968 album The Beatles (commonly called The White Album). It was released as a single that same year in many countries, but not in the United Kingdom, nor in the United States until 1976. Paul McCartney wrote the song around the time that highlife and reggae were beginning to become popular in Britain. The starting lyric, "Desmond has a barrow in the market-place", was a reference to the first internationally renowned Jamaican ska and reggae performer Desmond Dekker who had just had a successful tour of the UK.[3] The tag line "ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on, bra" was an expression used by Nigerian conga player Jimmy Scott-Emuakpor, an acquaintance of McCartney.[4]

The song is in the key of B flat and written in 4/4. The alternative version on Anthology 3 is in the key of A major. During May 1968, the Beatles gathered at George Harrison's Esher home, in Surrey, to record demos for their upcoming project. "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" was one of the twenty-seven demos recorded there. Paul performed this demo solo, with only an acoustic guitar. He had also double-tracked his vocal, which was not perfectly synchronised, creating an echoing effect.

According to studio engineer Geoff Emerick, John Lennon "openly and vocally detested" the song, calling it Paul's "granny music shit".[5] Lennon left the studio during a recording of the song (after several days and literally dozens of takes of the song, trying different tempos and styles), then returned while under the influence of marijuana, went immediately to the piano and played the opening chords much louder and faster than before. He claimed that was how the song should be played, and that is the version they ended up using.[6]

When singing the vocals for the song, specifically the last verse of the song when sung the second time, McCartney made a slip and said "Desmond stays at home and does his pretty face", rather than Molly, and had Molly letting "the children lend a hand". Reportedly, this mistake was kept in because the other Beatles liked it.[7] George Harrison and Lennon yell "arm" and "leg" during a break in the song; between the lines "...Desmond lets the children lend a hand" and "Molly stays at home..."[8]

The lyrics for "Savoy Truffle", composed by Harrison and also on The Beatles, include the line "We all know ob-la-di-bla-da, but can you show me where you are."[9]

The intro of this song is heard on the Beatles' 1968 Christmas Record.

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