Original version recorded October 8 1968
Ukulele version recorded November 2009
Written by John Lennon
Credited to Lennon/McCartney
Gannon: Vocal, Homemade Circuit Bent Synthesizers and Drum Machines
David Barratt: Ukulele
Produced by David Barratt at The Abattoir Of Good Taste – Brooklyn from original recordings by Gannon in The Toy Volaco California
For best results play The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill on repeat while reading this essay.
ABOUT THE SONG
The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill, like many songs on The White Album, was written by John Lennon while The Beatles were studying with Maharishi at the foothills of The Himalayas.
The Beatles wrote 48 songs in fewer than eight weeks in India. While this is not one of the best it certainly is an interesting example of Lennon’s work.
The song ridicules the bravado and unenlightened attitude of a young American named Richard A. Cooke III. (shown below)
In an interview in Playboy Lennon described the song thusly. "‘Bungalow Bill’ was written about “A guy in Maharishi’s meditation camp who took a short break to go shoot a few poor tigers, and then came back to commune with God.”
The real Richard Cooke III is a little more interesting than the fictional one created by John.
The incident that inspired the song occurred when Indian tour guide Avi Kohli invited Cooke and his mother to hunt a tiger that had been killing elephants and was a worry to local villagers.
Cooke, and several others, including native guides were in the jungle when the pack of elephants they were riding was attacked by the tiger. Cooke acted calmly and decisively by shooting it.
Cook’s reaction to the slaying was mixed. He has not hunted since. All present recognized the necessity of his action.
For the last forty years he has been a professional photographer often for The National Geographic Society. His work focuses on the beauty of nature. He remained friends with Avi Kohli until his death in April 2009
But Richard Cooke III is just a cover story for what the song is really about. Bungalow Bill decribes John’s burgeon ing romance with Yoko. John often referred to Yoko as “Mother” and as John’s mother she beat the original hands down.
1. She was alive.
2. She was older and had a more cultured upbringing and was a tender and understanding teacher.
3. She would defend him fiercely no matter how badly he behaved.
4. Due to the fact that she wasn’t actually his mother there was nothing icky or embarrassing about wanting to sleep with her.
5. She would give John permission to do whatever he wanted.
On the recording Yoko even plays the part of "The Mother".
She sings the solo line: "Not when he looked so fierce"
The only lead vocal by a non-Beatle in the entire catalog.
The mother in the song follows him everywhere, even on a hunting trip. She will never abandon him and is devoted to the point of delusion. Even when the son kills in cold blood she still supports him.
What more could a little boy want?
Bungalow Bill is for and about little boys. Lennon would have hated the sugar coated, super catchy chorus if Paul had written it but as he was being, ironic, witty and giving it to “The Man" he thought he was pretty cool.
Just like Bungalow Bill.
Our version features inventor, musician and painter Gannon.
Gannon wrote to us several months ago requesting to perform for the project. Unfortunately we could not understand what he wanted due to the fact he had written the letter in an invented language. After sending us a translation we were delighted to let him run riot with what he calls Circuit Bent Synthesizers.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Gannon is Aj Pyatak. Aj is just another person on this earth writing music. He has a true love of creating things… anythings. In February 2009 Aj discovered circuit bending, and has since welcomed its wealth of creation into his heart.
Since 1999 Gannon has released a new album every year. This year brings Toy Volcano. The album is a combination of handcrafted electronic instruments, ukulele, and pop music magique. All of Aj’s work pours directly out of his heart and he appreciates all the support he’s received over the years. He believes in creativity, and the idea that all it takes is a little hard work. Visit the Gannon website for fun, adventure, and music!
AND See Gannon LIVE at Bent Festival 2010 NY