Exactly 46 years ago, The Beatles started recording what would become one of their most enduring songs. Find out who Prudence was in this “Today in History” installment.
Having developed interest in Indian faith and culture, all four *Beatles* members and their entourage consisting of their partners, assistants, and reporters traveled to Rishikesh, India in February 1968 to attend a Transcendental Meditation session under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Aside from meditating, the band was said to have also composed a number songs which were later on included in future albums and solo projects, among them was “Dear Prudence.”
“Dear Prudence” was about Prudence Farrow, the younger sister of Hollywood actress Mia. Apart from the Beatles, 60 more participants were reportedly at the camp, including Prudence. Lennon himself had related in an interview that Farrow became too engrossed, almost fanatic, with her meditation that she had decided to lock herself in her house for three weeks.
Dear Prudence is me. Written in India. A song about Mia Farrow’s sister, who seemed to go slightly barmy, meditating too long, and couldn’t come out of the little hut that we were livin’ in. They selected me and George to try and bring her out because she would trust us. If she’d been in the West, they would have put her away.
We got her out of the house. She’d been locked in for three weeks and wouldn’t come out, trying to reach God quicker than anybody else. That was the competition in Maharishi’s camp: who was going to get cosmic first. What I didn’t know was I was already cosmic. [Laughs.] – John Lennon on “All We Are Saying” by David Sheff (via)
The younger Farrow was flattered by this, saying, “It was a beautiful thing to have done.” “Dear Prudence” was recorded (sans Ringo Starr, who had by then temporarily left following arguments and tensions within the band) during a three-day session at the Trident Studios in London beginning on August 28. Credited under Lennon-McCartney, the song was released in November the same year as part of the “White Album”.