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"Sexy Sadie" is a song by the English rock group the Beatles from their 1968 double album The Beatles (also known as "the White Album"). The song was written by John Lennon in India and credited to Lennon–McCartney. Lennon wrote the song during the Beatles' stay in India in response to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's alleged sexual advance on actress Mia Farrow. The song has been considered an early example of a diss track.


Lennon originally wanted to title the song "Maharishi",[1] but the Beatles changed the title to "Sexy Sadie" at George Harrison's request. Lennon was disillusioned after Maharishi Mahesh Yogi had allegedly made a sexual advance at one of the female members attending the course Maharishi was teaching at his ashram. (Cynthia Lennon and George and Paul later said that they thought the story, which had come from Alexis Mardas, had been fabricated.[2][3][4][5]) Ringo Starr and Paul, However refuted the charges that were made against Maharishi and they even attended the opening of his school of meditation in United States of America. There were arguments which led to departure of John Lennon is a poor taste giving birth to rumours as such.

After returning from India John scratched the lyrics into a piece of wood, with the original title "Maharishi". The recorded version changed only after George insisted that if the song was used he wanted the name changed and persuaded John to change the title to Sexy Sadie. George recounts the event in the directors cut, from the anthology film. Derek Taylor remembered John fiddling about scratching the wood in the Apple offices. The wood ended up in the possession of Maureen Starkey and was ultimately sold to a Beatles collector.

In a 1969 interview, John Lennon stated one of his favourite songs was "I've Been Good To You" by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles. The Miracles song begins with the line Look what you've done / You made a fool out of someone, compared to Sexy Sadie's What have you done? / You made a fool of everyone.


[Verse 1]

Sexy Sadie what have you done

You made a fool of everyone

You made a fool of everyone

Sexy Sadie, oh, what have you done

[Verse 2]

Sexy Sadie you broke the rules

You laid it down for all to see

You laid it down for all to see

Sexy Sadie, oh, 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

[Verse 3]

Sexy Sadie how did you know

The world was waiting just for you

The world was waiting just for you

Sexy Sadie, oh, how did you know

[Verse 4]

Sexy Sadie you'll get yours yet

However big you think you are

However big you think you are

Sexy Sadie, oh, you'll get yours yet


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

(Sexy Sadie)

Just a smile would lighten everything

Sexy Sadie she's the latest and the greatest of them all


She made a fool of everyone

Sexy Sadie

However big you think you are

Sexy Sadie


Template:Refimprovesect As described in Vincent Bugliosi's Helter Skelter, Charles Manson took the title of this song as a reference to Manson Family member Susan Atkins, who was nicknamed Sadie Mae Glutz, prior to the release of the White Album.

Songs deemed similar to "Sexy Sadie" include Australian rock group Jet's "Look What You've Done", which has similar (occasionally identical) lyrics and style to the song. Oasis lift a remarkably similar intro on their b-side, "Sitting Here In Silence (On My Own)." Also, Jack Johnson's song, "Cocoon" (from the On and On album), is strikingly similar to this song and parts of the piano are similar to Radiohead's song "Karma Police", and the band has apparently acknowledged the similarity.

The song inspired one of the characters' names in the 2007 Beatles-themed film Across the Universe, Sadie, played by Dana Fuchs.

The song also inspired one of the characters' names in the Web-comic Red Rocket, NV

The Spanish band Sexy Sadie took their name from this song.

The Japanese rock band called "the pillows" used the chorus part of the song as the main tune for the two songs on their single "Another Morning". Excluding the song "Swanky Street" that was recorded live in London.

The films and books of Sadie Thompson, including "Rain", "Dirty Genie from Harlem U.S.A", "Sadie Thompson" and "Miss Sadie Thompson".


Cover versions[]

  • Ramsey Lewis recorded an instrumental version of this song on his 1968 album Mother Nature's Son.
  • The Unthanks covered the song live on their autumn/winter 2009 United Kingdom tour in support of their third album Here's the Tender Coming.
  • Radiohead used the piano as basis for their hit "Karma Police."


  1. Harry, Bill (1985). The Book Of Beatle Lists . Javelin. ISBN 0-7137-1521-9. 
  2. Peter Brown and Steven Gaines in The Love You Make: An Insider's Story of the Beatles, New American Library: 2002, p.264, "By the end of the tenth [week, Alex was bent on undermining the Maharishi's influence. . . . Cynthia, for one, didn't believe a word of [the accusations]. She had long ago become acquainted with Alex's jealousy over anyone who had John's attention, and she didn't doubt that Alex would lie to destroy the Maharishi's hold."; See also Spitz, Bob, The Beatles: The Biography, Little, Borwn: 2005, pp. 755-757; Cynthia Lennon, A Twist of Lennon, Avon: 1978, pp. 174-176)
  3. "The Beatles Anthology, Chronicle Books, 2000, pp. 285-86; George Harrison: "Now, historically, there's the story that something went on that shouldn't have done — but nothing did."
  4. Miles, Barry, Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now (Holt: 1998), p. 429, "it was Magic Alex who made the original accusation and I think it was completely untrue."
  5. Musician magazine, September, 1992, p. 43 (the part in brackets appears that way in the magazine) Harrison: "Yeah, I called it 'Sexie Sadie.' The title John had was not nice at all. At least he realized that. Because there was nothing that ever happened except that there was a fella who was supposedly a friend of ours who stirred up and created this big fantasy. [Note: Beatles pal Magic Alex Mardas told John and George that the Maharishi might have made sexual advances to one of the woman pilgrims. This led to a confrontation between Lennon and the Maharishi and Lennon's returning to England.] There was never anything that took place."

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