When was it recorded? Jan. 14, 1969
When was it first released, and on which album? Umm…
Who wrote it? Lennon (with noteworthy contribution from McCartney and Starkey)
Have I heard this song before? No
What my research dug up:
I’ve mentioned “Watching Rainbows” in passing twice before (Days 39: “Come Together” and 137: “I’ve Got a Feeling”) because it was basically just a jam session that evolved into parts of those previously-covered songs. It was recorded Jan. 14, 1969, during the Get Back sessions. At this time, George had temporarily quit the Beatles, so it’s just John, Paul, and Ringo here.
John began “Watching Rainbows” while improvising during a run-through of two of his other songs, “Madman” (which the Beatles didn’t release, obviously) and “Mean Mr. Mustard” (which appeared on “Abbey Road”). Here’s how else “Watching Rainbows” fits into the Beatles catalogue.
- Structurally similar to “I’ve Got a Feeling” (off “Let It Be”)
- Contains the lyrics “Standing in the garden, waiting for the sun to shine,” which were cribbed from “I Am the Walrus” (“Magical Mystery Tour”)
- Contains the “Shoot me” section later heard at the start of “Come Together” (“Abbey Road”)
While never officially released, “Watching Rainbows” has been circulating on bootlegs for ages. According to Wikipedia, the ‘real’ version is about four minutes long.
I like this one though, with the smattering of studio chatter.
While digging for this demo, I found a slew of other curiosities. Looks like I’ll have to do another, ‘unofficial’ go-round after I’m done with my real list of Beatles tunes. I’m sure I’ll be ready for another adventure by then (after a break, of course).