The most notable Beatles fact about "Birthday" from the White Album is that there is disagreement where the song was written, and for what occasion. Lennon claimed that the song was written on the spot in the studio by Paul, who intended it to be a classic rock and roll tune reminiscent of the 1950s. Other sources claim that McCartney wrote it in India to celebrate Patti Boyd Harrison's birthday. Chris Thomas, producer for the track, agrees with Lennon, saying that McCartney was already playing the main riff when the other Beatles arrived at the studio, although this does not exclude the possibility that the song was composed at an earlier date, as was the case with so many Lennon-McCartney numbers that were later resurrected. Most sources agree that Lennon had a small hand in the composition.
"Birthday" was recorded on September 18, 1968 at Abbey Road Studios. McCartney played upright piano, Lennon played lead guitar, Harrison played bass and tambourine, and Starr played drums. McCartney sang lead vocal, with Lennon, Yoko Ono, and Patti Harrison providing backing vocals. Lennon assumed lead vocal for a small portion of the song. Some sources claim Starr and Mal Evans performed hand claps and that Linda Eastman also sang backing vocals.
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