Monday, January 22, 2024

Sexy Sadie


Who was ‘Sexy Sadie’ in The Beatles song?

Lucy Harbron

Far Out magazine

Sat 20 January 2024 20:15, UK

There have been a few instances in history where a song has proved dangerous, even deathly. But none have had as strange or as chilling of a legacy as ‘Sexy Sadie’, The Beatles’ track that has become forever tied to abuse and murder.

Sitting on the band’s 1968 The White Album, the song seems utterly harmless on the surface. “Sexy Sadie, the greatest of them all,” John Lennon sings on the track, with lyrics that could easily just be about an attractive ex-partner. Even the more cutting or critical lyrics could sit well within the realm of songs from scorned loves. However, the truth of the track is far darker than a bad breaker.

“However big you think you are / Sexy Sadie, ooh, you’ll get yours yet,” is perhaps the most telling lyric on the track. It sounds like a pointed finger or the band glaring someone down. Like the Liverpudlian quartet are calling upon karma to come after this person. 

That’s exactly what they’re doing. When the story of the song is revealed, ‘Sexy Sadie’ turns into a genuine threat. “We know the truth, we know what you did,” the band seem to be saying as they talk directly to a famous figure.

Who was ‘Sexy Sadie’?

‘Sexy Sadie’ was written after the band’s infamous trip to India to study the Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation. Part of the wave of 1960s counterculture figures fostering a new interest in hallucinogens, meditation and reality broadening, the whole band took off to the retreat along with other figures like actress Mia Farrow. 

However, they quickly felt uneasy. During their retreat, the band began to suspect that the Maharishi might not be an angelic spiritual figure guiding them to enlightenment but might simply be a crook. His followers began to feel like cult leaders, utterly controlled by the yogi who didn’t seem to practice what he preached. 

What went down on the trip inspired several songs on the record. At one point, Prudence Farrow heard that the supposedly celibate yogi had hit on and assaulted Mia Farrow, and that his advances were a common occurrence at the retreat.

It burst their bubble on the whole experience, suddenly looking at the Maharishi with mistrust and anger. To deal with the situation, Lennon picked up his pen. He said of the song, “That was inspired by Maharishi. I wrote it when we had our bags packed and were leaving.” Initially writing, “Maharishi, what have you done / You made a fool of everyone,” the name in the track was changed to stop the band from getting sued. But the pointed remarks maintain their target.

The Charles Manson connection to ‘Sexy Sadie’

If that story of deceit and abuse wasn’t enough to taint the track, the song’s dark history only got worse upon release.

The strange connection between cult leader Charles Manson and The Beatles is well documented. Manson seemed to think that the Liverpudlian band were communicating with him through secret messages throughout The White Album. He believed they were warning him of an upcoming race war that would end in an apocalypse that would make Manson and his followers the leaders and founders of a new world; he called this theory ‘Helter Skelter’. 

Manson found connections to almost every song. He believed ‘Honey Pie’ was telling him to write an album, and that that album would trigger the war. He thought ‘Piggies’’ was a warning to prepare for Black men overthrowing the establishment, to not trust the police and to take matters into his own hands. In ‘Revolution 9’, he heard warnings of an apocalypse, instructing him to dig a big hole and hide in it to emerge as the new world leader. 

But ‘Sexy Sadie’ was perhaps the track that pushed Manson’s entire theory over the edge. While the other songs were cryptic and nonspecific, leading to doubt from his followers about Manson’s message, this one felt direct and pointed. It seemed to mention one ‘family member’ by name.

Who was Susan Atkins?

Susan Atkins was one of the main members of Charles Manson’s ‘family’. She met Charles Manson in 1967 and quickly fell into his fold, where Manson would routinely drug and abuse his followers, whipping them into violent rages that he’d later use for murders.

Nicknamed Sadie Mae Glutz by Manson, upon hearing ‘Sexy Sadie’, they believed the track was directly about Atkins. Tex Watson, another member of the family, said that the lyrics fit Atkins so perfectly “that it made us all sure [the Beatles] had to be singing directly to us.” It was the final push Manson needed to enact the plot he believed the band was telling him.

In 1969, Susan Atkins, along with six other Manson family members, carried out the infamous murders of Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, and Wojciech Frykowski, along with Steven Parent, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. 

Atkins, despite being rehabilitated and making statements of repentance for her crimes later in her life, served a full life sentence. At the time of her death, she was the longest-serving female prisoner in California, with the record only being surpassed by her two fellow Manson family members, Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel. They claimed they were being held as political prisoners, receiving extended punishment due to the Manson family’s anti-establishment beliefs.

Original Article

Sexy Sadie lyrics

Yeah, it's getting better all the time

Is that right?

How fast John?

However you like, feel it

Sexy Sadie, what have you done

You made a fool of everyone

You made a fool of everyone

Sexy Sadie, ooh, what have you done

Sexy Sadie, you broke the rules

You laid it down for all to see

You laid it down for all to see

Sexy Sadie, ooh, you broke the rules

One sunny day the world was waiting for a lover

She came along to turn on everyone

Sexy Sadie, the greatest of them all

Sexy Sadie, how did you know?

The world was waiting just for you

The world was waiting just for you

Sexy Sadie, ooh, how did you know

Sexy Sadie, you'll get yours yet

However big you think you are

However big you think you are

Sexy Sadie, ooh, you'll get yours yet

We gave her everything we owned just to sit at her table

Just a smile would lighten everything

Sexy Sadie, the greatest of them all