Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!

Happy #SongLyricsSunday! It is the first one for the new year! I hope you had a wonderful New Year’s Day. I celebrated it by being in Osaka and then on a train for five hours as there was a house fire next to the train tracks, preventing my train from continuing on for three hours. But, in lighter spirits, let’s talk about today’s #SLS prompt suggested by Melanie B Cee of Sparks From A Combustible Mind. I had to find a song with “Entertainment”, “Circus”, or “Show” in the title or lyrics. Since it’s January, which my mom was born in, I decided to pick a Beatles song for her. I choose “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!”.

There Will Be a Show Tonight With Mr. Kite

“Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” was released on the 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. John Lennon found his inspiration for the song from a 19th-century poster for Pablo Fanque’s Circus Royal that he bought in an antique shop. “Everything from the song is from that poster,” Lennon said in one of his final interviews, “except the horse wasn’t called Henry.”[1] The song mentions William Kite, an employee for Fanque. It also mentions Mr. John Hendson who was a wire-walker, equestrian, trampoline artist, and clown that performed across Europe with his wife Anges in the 19th century.

The credits for “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” lists both Lennon and McCartney as lyricists. But, Lennon has said that he wrote the whole song by himself. But Pau has stated in his 1997 memoir that he co-wrote the song. Whatever the case, John has stated that this 1967 song with a carnival atmosphere was one song that he wasn’t proud of. Yet, I like this song with its story of a circus performance. Also, I really like the odd but satisfying instrumental break in the middle with the mixture of fairground organs and calliope music. It is cool and gives off a sort of haunting avant-garde rock vibe.

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