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The Beatles — Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite
Album: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Avg rating:
7.8

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1096









Released: 1967
Length: 2:34
Plays (last 30 days): 1
For the benefit of Mr. Kite
There will be a show tonight
On trampoline
The Hendersons will all be there
Late of Pablo Fanque's fair
What a scene
Over men and horses hoops and garters
Lastly through a hogshead of real fire
In this way Mr. K. will challenge the world

The celebrated Mr. K.
Performs his feat on Saturday
At Bishopsgate
The Hendersons will dance and sing
As Mr. Kite flies through the ring
Don't be late
Messrs. K. and H. assure the public
Their production will be second to none
And of course Henry the Horse dances the waltz

The band begins at ten to six
When Mr. K. performs his tricks
Without a sound
And Mr. H. will demonstrate
Ten somersets he'll undertake
On solid ground
Having been some days in preparation
A splendid time is guaranteed for all
And tonight Mr. Kite is topping the bill
Comments (165)add comment
Happy birthday, John!
Oct. 9, 2019
I've tried for years to get into the Beatles, but there's only a few songs that I enjoy (Like Strawberry fields, Come Together, ) this is not one of them. 
Love this crazy song. A good companion is my favorite Bruce Springsteen song, Wild Billy's Circus Story.
 thewiseking wrote:
Beatles catalog has not aged well
 
Ummmmmmmmmmm. Wrong.
Great seeing Macca do this the other night in Vancouver! 
Because it's the Fabs, I can be kind and listen. Anyone else, maybe not so much. Not that I'm biased -- it fits into the Beatles greater body of work and it's off one of the most important music and cultural milestones -- but if it was XYZtles I might hit the magic psd button.  Of itself, out of context, this track doesn't have a lot of there there. 
Still captures the essence.
{#Arrowd}  Yes, the song was inspired by a circus poster!
Mr Kite
 Inamorato wrote:
More calliope!
 


{#Sunny}
very strange song..like so many other of their production.. bút full of thought..
 kojiroh wrote:
Is this the greatest Beatles song or what?
 
What.
fantabulous.. {#Cheers}
This track wouldn't ever happen today. Bless the sixties
 
If you ever get to Vegas, see the Love show....it all starts to make sense then.
Beatles catalog has not aged well
 xtalman wrote:

First album I bought as a wee lad.  Still love it.



 
+1, Great lyrics. Even better now that I comprehend them fully...
 Your Mother should know..vandal wrote:

I yield to you sir; my mother warned me against getting into pissing matches with a skunk. . . 
 

 


I love the outro of this song on the Love CD...She's so heavy theme blends well with this song
This, and A Day In The Life save Sgt Peppers from being a meh album. 
Makes me sick...4
Interesting - for me it's the second best moment on Sgt Pepper's after A Day In The Life. 

Ahnyer_Keester wrote:
Alas, not one of the Beatles best...

 


 snitramc wrote:
My favorite story about recording this song...

"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, Martin instructed recording engineer Geoff Emerick to chop the tape into pieces with scissors, throw them up in the air, and re-assemble them at random."

 
And my favorite story about the whole album is that it has been recorded in some sort of 3 tracks and a half. If you haven't yet, I recommend you read Geoff Emerick's memory book , it's packed with these kinds of technical anecdotes I'm particularly hungry for.
i love that RP plays this song. such a cool little oddity. how about bruce's "wild billy's circus story" next? another little stellar oddity...
 johnjconn wrote:
This song is so racist.

Examples:
Bishops Gate - anti Catholic reference
Mr Kite - anti Jewish reference
Hendersons - anti Black reference
Horse - anti animal reference
Circus sounds - rasist against circus workers
Mr. H - racist against those with a H in their last name

Hmmm , I wonder if I'm reading too much into the Beatles songs?

 
And let us not forget:

"Beatles" - anti-Beat generation, AND anti-beetle reference.

In one swell foop.


 jocelynsart wrote:
just.....eww....but I know I am in the minority big time on not liking this band
 

 
It's fine. Not every band stikes a chord in every heart. The beatles for some of us were the anti-Perry Comos. They saved us from a lot of crap and so we give them a wide berth. Your opinion is in no way wrong. It's just not mine and isn't that the best thing ever? 
Alas, not one of the Beatles best...
 johnjconn wrote:
This song is so racist.

Examples:
Bishops Gate - anti Catholic reference
Mr Kite - anti Jewish reference
Hendersons - anti Black reference
Horse - anti animal reference
Circus sounds - rasist against circus workers
Mr. H - racist against those with a H in their last name

Hmmm , I wonder if I'm reading too much into the Beatles songs?



 
You should hear it backwards! Terrible terrible messages.
Prefer the version from LOVE, mixed with "She's So Heavy"
Faul. 

Those that know, know. Those that don't, well, never mind - nothing to see here, move along.  
 gjr wrote:
dude - he took it almost VERBATIM from a carnival poster......read up on your beatle history juuuuust a bit.  if it was/is in any way shape or form - racist (??   WTF?) it was the person/persons that wrote the poster.  . . .
 
I'm preeety sure jjc was joking.
 johnjconn wrote:
This song is so racist.

Examples:
Bishops Gate - anti Catholic reference
Mr Kite - anti Jewish reference
Hendersons - anti Black reference
Horse - anti animal reference
Circus sounds - rasist against circus workers
Mr. H - racist against those with a H in their last name

Hmmm , I wonder if I'm reading too much into the Beatles songs?



 
dude - he took it almost VERBATIM from a carnival poster......read up on your beatle history juuuuust a bit.  if it was/is in any way shape or form - racist (??   WTF?) it was the person/persons that wrote the poster.  

you want a more direct thing to kvetch about?  how about:
"man, i was mean to my woman. i beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved."
 there's NO mistaking misogyny there.  
My favorite story about recording this song...

"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, Martin instructed recording engineer Geoff Emerick to chop the tape into pieces with scissors, throw them up in the air, and re-assemble them at random."
just.....eww....but I know I am in the minority big time on not liking this band
 


What a brilliantly absurd song...  love it...

from the very best album ever...

when Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released, it was really revolutionary the way it had all the lyrics posted like poems on the back of the sleeve...  it was like a book of poems...  it elevated rock music into the realm of high literature...
 
What a vivid word picture this song creates and I can see all the action in what's left of my minds eye!     {#Bananapiano}{#Boohoo}{#Dancingbanana}{#Drummer}{#Bananajam}{#Bananasplit}{#Daisy}

First album I bought as a wee lad.  Still love it.


 kojiroh wrote:
Is this the greatest Beatles song or what?
 
Off this album alone, I think "A Day in A Life" is much "greater". However, everyone has a favourite Beatles tune, so much variety and so many to choose from!
Is this the greatest Beatles song or what?

bingo by jingo...  love this song...  love this album forever...



Life is such a circus...  love this song...

 
I love the haunting ethereal texture of this song. Beautiful.
THE BEST ALBUM OF ALL TIME

LOL!!!!
 

 Carl wrote:

Hate to break you two up, but I agree with RT's opinion on this one.
 
Thank you...  everybody in my hotel room loves this song about the existential absurdity of existence...

 
 johnjconn wrote:
This song is so racist.

Examples:
Bishops Gate - anti Catholic reference
Mr Kite - anti Jewish reference
Hendersons - anti Black reference
Horse - anti animal reference
Circus sounds - rasist against circus workers
Mr. H - racist against those with a H in their last name

Hmmm , I wonder if I'm reading too much into the Beatles songs?
 
{#Roflol}

 Proclivities wrote:


To me, that dubious honor easily goes to "Within You Without You".  This is one of my favorites from this album - I like the creepiness of it.
 

Couldn't disagree more.  Within You Without You is not only a fantastic song - a wonderful departure, it opened so many eyes in the west to a whole different kind of music, its one of the most important songs on the album.

Huey wrote: I love this album, but this is the worst song on it...

 
Proclivities wrote:


To me, that dubious honor easily goes to "Within You Without You".  This is one of my favorites from this album - I like the creepiness of it.
 

......Can't agree with either one of you...both songs have their place ...
 romeotuma wrote:


This is a brilliant song about the existential absurdity of existence, from the single best album of all time...  this entire album is thematic, and it is as poetically profound as a play by Shakespeare...

love it...

 

 
Hate to break you two up, but I agree with RT's opinion on this one.

 Ag3nt0rang3 wrote:

Just to add to your mother's wisdom, you can never win an argument against someone who uses changing text colour to buttress their circular reasoning.
 
Thanks!  I'll mention that to her.

what a great inventive song !


 vandal wrote:

I yield to you sir; my mother warned me against getting into pissing matches with a skunk. . . 
 
 
Just to add to your mother's wisdom, you can never win an argument against someone who uses changing text colour to buttress their circular reasoning.
 romeotuma wrote:

No, you don't have a clue what you are talking about...  your sarcastic, vacuous comments are nothing more than braggadocio of vandalism...  and once again, at the risk of being double-redundant, you don't have any comment about this song...

I love this song...  it is awesome...
 
I yield to you sir; my mother warned me against getting into pissing matches with a skunk. . . 
 
 vandal wrote:

You again. . . I know a little about existentialism, but I know a bit more about the logical term, "circular reference."  And that would be the description of your phrase I excerpted above.  
 

 


No, you don't have a clue what you are talking about...  your sarcastic, vacuous comments are nothing more than braggadocio of vandalism...  and once again, at the risk of being double-redundant, you don't have any comment about this song...

I love this song...  it is awesome...


 romeotuma wrote:
 vandal wrote:


". . . existential absurdity of existence. . . " 

EXISTENTIAL

1: of, relating to, or affirming existence

Brought to you by romeotuma, from the department of redundancy department. . .

 

You should have kept reading past the first definition—

3: existentialist


Do you have a comment about the song?  Do you know anything about existentialism?  Let me help—


Themes and Ideas in Existentialist Thought

An important component of existentialist philosophy is the portrayal of existence as being fundamentally irrational in nature. Whereas most philosophers have attempted to create philosophical systems that produce a rational account of reality, existentialist philosophers have focused upon the subjective, irrational character of human existence.

 

 
You again. . . I know a little about existentialism, but I know a bit more about the logical term, "circular reference."  And that would be the description of your phrase I excerpted above.  
 

 vandal wrote:


". . . existential absurdity of existence. . . " 

EXISTENTIAL

1: of, relating to, or affirming existence

Brought to you by romeotuma, from the department of redundancy department. . .

 

You should have kept reading past the first definition—

3: existentialist


Do you have a comment about the song?  Do you know anything about existentialism?  Let me help—


Themes and Ideas in Existentialist Thought

An important component of existentialist philosophy is the portrayal of existence as being fundamentally irrational in nature. Whereas most philosophers have attempted to create philosophical systems that produce a rational account of reality, existentialist philosophers have focused upon the subjective, irrational character of human existence.

 




Great song largely written from a poster that Lennon had. Great work by George Martin. Certainly one of the more interesting tracks on the album. Recently read a book written by Martin around the 25th anniversary of the album who lamented the exclusion of Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane from the album. When commenting about what might have been dropped had those two tracks been included he thought it might have been Lovely Rita - he wasn't a particular fan of this song. 
 romeotuma wrote:


This is a brilliant song about the existential absurdity of existence, from the single best album of all time...  this entire album is thematic, and it is as poetically profound as a play by Shakespeare...

love it...

 
 

". . . existential absurdity of existence. . . " 

EXISTENTIAL

1: of, relating to, or affirming existence

Brought to you by romeotuma, from the department of redundancy department. . .



romeotuma wrote:
...poetically profound as a play by Shakespeare...
That's what Henry the Horse said! Nah, I'm with you - Shakespeare was as randy, comical and absurd as anyone up to and including the Dadaists.

I am often called Mr. H at work and it makes me think of this tune


This is a brilliant song about the existential absurdity of existence, from the single best album of all time...  this entire album is thematic, and it is as poetically profound as a play by Shakespeare...

love it...

 

Although Eddie Izzard's version from "Across the Universe" isn't bad, either.
 Huey wrote:
I love this album, but this is the worst song on it...
 

To me, that dubious honor easily goes to "Within You Without You".  This is one of my favorites from this album - I like the creepiness of it.


egads!


 Huey wrote:
I love this album, but this is the worst song on it...
 

I agree that it's not the best song on the album, but interestingly enough, it still rates an average of 8.  Makes you wonder what ended up on the floor of the editing room during the Beatles recording sessions.
 Huey wrote:
I love this album, but this is the worst song on it...
 
It's disturbing in some way.
I love this album, but this is the worst song on it...
 echasse wrote:
love love love
 


yes yes yes...



 ugly wrote:
this song comforts me for some reason.
 
That's funny - it does the opposite for me. I have always found this song to be somewhat unsettling, from the first time I heard it on my mother's vinyl Sgt. Pepper's album when I was just a wee one. I think it was/is something about the atmosphere evoked by the music. But I do love it!


love love love
this is the shizzle off the kuhzizzle
this song comforts me for some reason.
The back story of the production is as fascinating as the tune.  My jr. high band director had a copy of Sgt. Pepper and loaned it to me - what a great guy.


love it...


 On_The_Beach wrote:

I didn't realize there were 500 Rick Astley CDs.
 

Zing!
ever awesome ;)
 Welly wrote:

infinity plus 9! 
 

Yes, I agree!

 romeotuma wrote:


This is one of the fantastic songs from the best album of all infinity...
 
infinity plus 9! 
 romeotuma wrote:

This song is soooo good for the ears...

 
Far out, Catherwood. Roll another bomber and leave it on the sidetable.



This is one of the fantastic songs from the best album of all infinity...


Typesbad wrote:
The whole circus thing can get very tedious but the song is largely redeemed by the fact that the lyrics are in the foreground. The beauty of the lyrics , and what I think maked this song work more than it probably should is John's serious, almost snarling tone and its deep contrast with the supposedly festive subject. That tone seems to bring out the subterranean creepyness that lurks under any circus music. And like any experimental Beatles song, it has its solid place in history. Unfortunately, I think that place is mainly as an invitation for similar loopy psychodelia from a host of other bands without nearly the necessary talent to pull if off. Uh... is that enough opinions for you?

Yes!!!  You've nailed exactly the ominous quality in this song.  It does seem to be a lot darker than just what appears on the surface. Interestingly John especially was going through a lot during the time this album was being done.

A splendid time is guaranteed for all....


This song is soooo good for the ears...


 ObsidianInfinity wrote:
Songs like this are the exact reason that my 500-CD collection on that shelf over there does not have 1 single Beatles album in it.
 
I didn't realize there were 500 Rick Astley CDs.


Cool.    I wonder if I've *ever* heard this with headphones before.  It was a revelation.
 camden_hampden wrote:
I think Tom Waits listened to this song A LOT.
 
{#Lol}



as good as it gets...




This is a fantastic song from the best album of all time...


I think Tom Waits listened to this song A LOT.
Probably my fave Lennon lyrics, mainly because they fit the rhythm so well.
 susanakers wrote:
Such an unusual song—hear something different in it each time.
Geoff Emerick's book "Here, There and Everywhere" is a must-read for those who like behind-the-scenes stuff. It's a great book!
 
Agreed! Geoff aptly describes the effort that went into the steam calliope cacophony, among many other interesting bits. If the image link below is broken, the poster can be viewed here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MrKitePoster.jpg

Also look for a copy of "The Making of SPLHCB," featuring George Martin back at the mixing board, with Macca sometimes providing side-by-side commentary. I believe it originally aired on the Discovery Channel. I have it on VHS, but didn't see it when I checked Netflix. This may be a bootleg version: https://www.fafos.com/dvds.htm

See also: https://beatlesnumber9.com/sgtpepper.html

 leathepea wrote:
I read somewhere that John got the idea for this song from a poster of a circus that he saw. If anyone knows if this is true, let me know. I figured that if anyone would know it would be a radioparadise listener.
 
Here's the poster:

Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite

He picked it up at an antique store during the shooting of a promotional video for Strawberry Fields Forever, according to this web site: https://www.beatlesagain.com/bkite.html.

 hippiechick wrote:
This song has a nice scene in Across the Universe
 

Interesting...


Such an unusual song—hear something different in it each time.
Geoff Emerick's book "Here, There and Everywhere" is a must-read for those who like behind-the-scenes stuff. It's a great book!
Ringo had a hard time drumming in this one.
 hippiechick wrote:
This song has a nice scene in Across the Universe
 
I agree. "Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite" was one of the highlights of that movie, which really would have made more sense if it had been cut up and presented as a series of music videos. Trying to make a story out of it was less than successful, I thought. No fault of the Beatles, of course.
"The Henderson's will all be there" "They'll floss their teeth with pubic hair"
I had heard the same thing. He was in a brain lock groping for new song ideas (after so many I believe it) , saw the poster and there you have it. leathepea wrote:
I read somewhere that John got the idea for this song from a poster of a circus that he saw. If anyone knows if this is true, let me know. I figured that if anyone would know it would be a radioparadise listener.
The song's title comes from a standard 19th century phrase used in advertising testimonial performances in Britain -"Being for the benefit for." John Lennon acknowledged the lyrics were derived almost word for word from the wording of an Victorian circus poster he took from a cafe during the filming of promotional clips for the "Penny Lane"/"Strawberry Fields: record. All-round performer William Kite worked alongside Pablo Fanque and wire-walker/clown/trampolines the Hendersons in 1843. (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England)
I read somewhere that John got the idea for this song from a poster of a circus that he saw. If anyone knows if this is true, let me know. I figured that if anyone would know it would be a radioparadise listener.
Not their greatest.....but certainly not the worst either, gotta go with a 9 on this one.
Carl wrote:
After all these years I still marvel at the versatility of these guys -- true genius. What fantastic output in such a short time, really.
Yeah. Just brilliant.
Inamorato wrote:
More calliope!
More cowbell
The Celebrated Radio Paradise. How cool. The band begins at 10 to 6 ...
'ving been some days in preparation A splendid time is guaranteed for all :clap:
After all these years I still marvel at the versatility of these guys -- true genius. What fantastic output in such a short time, really.
cathenley wrote:
I love Radio Paradise...love the seqways...true genius.
;) you know it
More calliope!
I love Radio Paradise...love the seqways...true genius.
Tee hee, this song entertains me :lol:
This song has a nice scene in Across the Universe
DoctorHooey wrote:
I sooooooo love this song. The production is still spectacular
If you are interested in details of the production as well as insights into the recording process of late 60s Beatles, pick up Geoff Emerick's book "Here, There and Everywhere". It came out in paperback recently. He was the engineer on almost every album from Revolver on. He has some definite opinions on the music that was released.
For some reason this is one of my least fav Beatles songs. In fact I usually mute it. Go figure...
I sooooooo love this song. The production is still spectacular
porgie.. at least you didn't call me bad names like the last person that analyzed my voting habits. keep lovin the rp
dreadpixie wrote:
wow... you managed to play a Beattles song I had yet to rate 1. I thought I had rated them all a 1 by now. That almost made it worth me having to listen to this drivel.
From your profile page: 1 votes: 465 (45%) 10 votes: 446 (44%) You have a tendency towards black/white, and "You're either WITH us, or AGIN us!" thinking, don't you? Could you perhaps give some thought to moderation, and see if it isn't a bit more satisfying? (Oh - and before you accuse me - the Tori Amos aspect of *my* ratings is simply a way for me to keep track of how many of her 'songs' are on the playlist here, at the expense of other, more deserving artists...) :biggrin:
Typesbad wrote:
The whole circus thing can get very tedious but the song is largely redeemed by the fact that the lyrics are in the foreground. The beauty of the lyrics , and what I think maked this song work more than it probably should is John's serious, almost snarling tone and its deep contrast with the supposedly festive subject. That tone seems to bring out the subterranean creepyness that lurks under any circus music. And like any experimental Beatles song, it has its solid place in history. Unfortunately, I think that place is mainly as an invitation for similar loopy psychodelia from a host of other bands without nearly the necessary talent to pull if off. Uh... is that enough opinions for you?
The lyrics are taken directly from a circus poster (with a little tweaking for rhythm and meter, I'm sure), so Lennon really gets no credit for writing them. The snarl is good, though.
dreadpixie wrote:
wow... you managed to play a Beattles song I had yet to rate 1. I thought I had rated them all a 1 by now. That almost made it worth me having to listen to this drivel.
You got something against the Beatles or something? Haha...
Simply unbelievable that it was 40-plus years ago that the Beatles came out with Sgt. Peppers. Talk about sea changes. There was virtually nothing like it at the time.