Prudence and the Penis: A Mystery

Dear Prudence drum track isolated

We know who wrote it. But who is on the Dear Prudence drum track?

DEVIN McKINNEY  •  Mike’s Facebook posting of isolated tracks from “Hey Bulldog” led me to seek out other examples of stripped-down Beatlesongs. This is among the more interesting, for both the music and the controversy.

The mystery of the Dear Prudence drum track

Did Ringo play the outro drums on “Dear Prudence”? One tends to forget that Paul is credited with drumming this track (recorded during Ringo’s brief angry White Album hiatus), because its climactic passage is so utterly Ringoesque. (Plus, recordings like “The Ballad of John and Yoko,” “Come and Get It,” and the McCartney album, recorded a year or two later, suggest Paul was not yet near this level of mastery.)

Listen to the excerpt and read the comments. The pro-Paul faction quotes received knowledge as if it could never be in error, while the Ringo contingent makes a convincing argument that this is an overdub, and an example of Ringo’s invisible brilliance: Not only did he play these drums, he realized the song needed such a wallop to push it home.

P.S. The post title is a twist on Prudence and the Pill, a trendy 1968 British comedy, with “penis” inspired by a funny albeit unfair dig at Paul in the comments.

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8 Comments

  1. Avatar Anonymous wrote:

    I think it’s Paul. The whole pattern is similar to Paul’s more flashy drumming style than Ringo’s. Plus, Come and Get it was demo Paul did in less than an hour; he wasn’t exactly doing multiple takes so of course it’s a bit messy. And Ballad of John and Yoko was also a rush job (because John wanted it out quickly).

    I have no trouble believing it’s Paul as he had plenty of takes to perfect Dear Prudence and, as I say, the flashy style is his characteristic — not Ringo’s.

    — drew

  2. Avatar Anonymous wrote:

    Completely agree with everything Drew said. Not sure why you’re attempting to knock Paul’s drumming skills here.

    -Craig

  3. Avatar Anonymous wrote:

    “One tends to forget that Paul is credited with drumming this track (recorded during Ringo’s brief angry White Album hiatus)”

    Really? What knowledgeable fan ever forgets that??

    Paul is the drummer here and he was quite a good if not great drummer. You cite his drumming on a demo as poor form? And the amazingly quick paced recording process of Ballad as another time when he wasn’t up to par? Please

  4. “What knowledgeable fan ever forgets that??” This one, obviously. If you carry nothing but Beatle facts around in your head, not a single one ever displaced by any other concern, you are less burdened than I by the fact of being human.

    I love Paul too and I don’t need to defend that fact to anyone, named or anonymous. You can disagree with me about the skill Paul shows in those recordings, but that’s why they call it a disagreement.

  5. Avatar Nancy wrote:

    If Paul did do the outro drumming on “Dear Prudence,” it’s the best he ever did, I’d say. Might be Ringo, though if it is, why has he never said so?

    This reminds me of Ringo saying that he doesn’t know how he did the drumming on “Rain,” because it sounds beyond his abilities, even to him.

  6. Avatar Nancy wrote:

    If Paul did do the outro drumming on “Dear Prudence,” it’s the best he ever did, I’d say. Might be Ringo, though if it is, why has he never said so?

    This reminds me of Ringo saying that he doesn’t know how he did the drumming on “Rain,” because it sounds beyond his abilities, even to him.

  7. Avatar Anonymous wrote:

    “This reminds me of Ringo saying that he doesn’t know how he did the drumming on “Rain,” because it sounds beyond his abilities, even to him.”

    Great point, Nancy. This is an example of how great Ringo was/is. He was the absolute PERFECT person to be the 4th guy in that group. So self effacing and humble at all times. Even on his greatest recorded performance, he doesn’t brag about it, he jokingly claims it couldn’t have been him! Love it. Love you, Ringo!

    -Craig

  8. Avatar Anonymous wrote:

    To me, it sounds like Paul’s drumming on his first solo album. –Ingrid

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