Dear Prudence - Reviews

Reviewed by Ian MacDonald, in Revolution in the Head:

The circling four-chord sequence and plaintive pentatonic melody of DEAR PRUDENCE depicts the mental dilemma of its subject, Mia Farrow's sister Prudence, who, made hypersensitive by too much meditation, found herself unable to leave her chalet in Rishikesh and had to be coaxed out by Lennon and Harrison. Founded on the finger-picking style [1] of many of The Beatles' songs written in India (see Blackbird), DEAR PRUDENCE uses a descending chromatic sequence akin to those of the verses of LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS and CRY BABY CRY, whose childhood resonances it shares. The lyric, Lennon's gentlest, works on similar nursery-rhyme principles.

Recorded, like HEY JUDE, on the eight-track at Trident Studios, this was the second song the group taped in Starr's absence (after Back In The USSR). Filling in for him, McCartney is unsteady in the first half and his hi-hat work is stiff, but his continuous fill through the last verse/chorus brings the performance to a cathartic climax. The richest ingredient is Harrison's 'Indian' guitar, his first use of this once ubiquitous style since THE INNER LIGHT, recorded six months earlier.

Notes:

  1. As often in The Beatles' finger-picking songs, the D chord is germinal, but with the lower E string dropped to D (See also Blackbird).

Posted: 26 November 2023