Mean Mr. Mustard (1:57)

Cover of Abbey Road

From Abbey Road and 16 other releases

“Mean Mr. Mustard” is a song written by John Lennon (credited to Lennon/McCartney) and performed by The Beatles on their album, Abbey Road. The Abbey Road version was recorded with “Sun King” in one continuous piece.

Written in India, Lennon said that the song was inspired by a newspaper story about a miser who concealed his cash wherever he could in order to prevent people from forcing him to spend it. He obviously didn’t think highly of the composition, as he described it in Anthology as “a bit of crap I wrote in India.”

A demo version of the song was recorded in May 1968 at Kinfauns, George Harrison’s home in Esher, and appears on Anthology 3. In that version, Mustard’s sister is named Shirley. Lennon changed it to Pam when he saw the opportunity to ease the segue into the song “Polythene Pam”, which follows “Mean Mr. Mustard” on the album. According to Lennon, “In ‘Mean Mr. Mustard’, I said ‘his sister Pam’—originally it was ‘his sister Shirley’ in the lyric. I changed it to Pam to make it sound like it had something to do with it.” Additionally, the original version of the song was a quieter acoustic rendition and was over 4 minutes in length.

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Albums featuring this track (17)

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