This week we have another White Album track that was written during The Beatles stay in Rishikesh, India in the early part of 1968. And like “Sexy Sadie” this too was written about an actual person. “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill” was written by John Lennon as an exaggerated send-up of an American student who visited his mother at the Maharishi’s ashram while The Beatles were there. According to Mia Farrow and others, the young man accompanied his mother on a hunting trip and shot a tiger that charged the hunting party. While he claimed to have killed the tiger in self-defense, John Lennon took a less forgiving view of his actions and wrote the song.
The flamenco guitar that you hear in the opening is not actually being played by a Beatle. It is, in fact, a tape loop that came with the mellotron MK II that John owned. The mellotron can also be heard playing the mandolin accompaniment during the verses and again in the outro (in “trombone” mode). And lastly the song has the distinct honor of being the only Beatles song to feature a lead vocal line sung by a woman as Yoko Ono delivers the line “not when he looked so fierce.”