'Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da' is better known as a Marmalade song than a Beatles one, says band's lead singer
2 October 2023, 11:52
Paul McCartney – Eyes of the Storm photobook trailer
Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on, brah!
Listen to this article
Who do you think of first when you read the words 'Ob-la-di, ob-la-da'?
- Marmalade singer Dean Ford has died at the age of 72
- Marmalade facts: Scottish pop rock legends' songs, members and legacy explained
- 'Glass Onion': The surreal Beatles song that gave Daniel Craig's Netflix movie its name
- Listen to the Gold 60s Live Playlist on Global Player
Paul McCartney borrowed the title from his Nigerian pal Jimmy Scott and 'Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da' was recorded over 42 hours in several sessions before finding its place on The Beatles (aka The White Album), released in November 1968.
While the song is definitely catchy, the rest of the band – and especially John Lennon – weren't keen and vetoed the idea of The Beatles releasing it as a single in the UK or US, though it did top the charts in Australia, West Germany and other territories.
Instead, Marmalade rush-recorded and released their own version before the year was out, and took it all the way to number one in the UK, selling half a million copies around the world and a million globally.
Marmalade - Ob La Di, Ob La Da (1968)
"It's still the song we play at the end of our set and the one that always gets everyone up dancing."
He added: "But a little while back I got a call out of the blue from Paul McCartney’s monitor engineer John Callis, who used to work for us.
"He asked us to be part of a charity show that Paul was arranging. When we turned up he said Paul couldn't be there but would I mind recording a video message for him as he likes to see what's going on.
"So I ended up standing there talking to camera and the only thing I could think of saying was, 'Thank you for writing a song that changed my life'.
"And it's true. It did change my life because Marmalade wouldn't still be going if it hadn't been for Paul's 'Obi-La-Di, Ob-La-Da'."
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (Remastered 2009)
Sandy joined Marmalade in 1975 after the departure of the group's original frontman Dean Ford.
He joined original bassist and singer Graham Knight, though other founding members Patrick Fairley and William Junior Campbell had already left the band by then.
In 1976, the Newman-fronted Marmalade scored a top ten hit with 'Falling Apart at the Seams', written by Tony Macaulay - the co-writer of Edison Lighthouse's 'Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)'.