“Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” by The Beatles
The best way to present this song is as a historic piece. More specifically it is based on a 19th century poster from a company called Pablo Fanque’s Circus Royal. And said poster is in fact an advertisement. And what it was advertising was primarily a performance by the titular Mr. Kite, who is a historically-verified figure. In other words, William Kite was a performer for the Circus Royal at the time. And he was the headline act of the event which said poster was publicizing.
And according to analysts, this song is pretty much a word-for-word replication of phrases found on the poster itself. In fact there is only one part of the song in which John Lennon is considered to have really altered its wording. And that’s when he refers to the horse at the end of the second verse as “Henry the Horse”.
Henry the Horse
According to the poster itself, the animal’s name was Zanthus. And it has been ultimately concluded that the Beatles changed the name because Henry flows better than Zanthus in a song. But this is in fact the Beatles we’re talking about, one of the most-popular musical acts in the history of mankind. And due to their hippie-like reputations, the powers-that-be were always looking for drug references in their songs. In fact the ever-observant BBC felt that they had found one on this track under the belief that “Henry the Horse” was actually an allegory for an intoxicant. For during this era apparently, both the terms Henry and horse were code words for a certain kind of drug. And under this suspicion they banned the song accordingly.
And it should be noted that there have been other references in Beatles’ songs to drugs which they denied during the 1960s but later admitted were in fact about illicit intoxicants. But this particular case has not been one of them. And why? Due to the fact that its lyrics are verily derived practically wholly from an external, non-Hippie source. So with that in mind we can truly say that Lennon lucked out, so to speak, the day he came across that aforementioned poster in an antique shop. For not only did he find something cool to hang up in his home, but he was also able to extract its wording and make a classic song out of it.
Facts about “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!”
John Lennon is recognized as the main writer behind this track. And in addition to himself, it is also officially credited to Lennon-McCartney (i.e. he and Paul McCartney).
Lennon actually derived the lyrics of this song via a 19th century poster from a company called Pablo Fanque’s Circus Royal. As such, during the recording of the tune he went about finding ways in which to make the song sound as if it was literally in the middle of a “carnival”.
“Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” was produced by the Beatles’ usual producer, George Martin (1926-2016).
This classic can be found on the Beatles’ eighth-studio album, which is entitled “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. And the project, which was published by Parlophone Records on May 26th, 1967, produced a ton of hits. Some of them include the below:
- “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds“
- “With a Little Help from My Friends“
- “Within You Without You“
- “When I’m Sixty-Four“
- “A Day in the Life“
- “Fixing a Hole”