Like the other Beatles, Paul McCartney never learned to read music, even though he made some attempts to do so over the years. While sitting at the piano in his father's house one day, he found a music book with a song called Golden Slumbers. He liked the lyrics by a contemporary of William Shakespeare named Thomas Dekker, but as they were set to music that he could not decipher, he decided to make up his own tune. He wrote a single verse to open the song, then used Dekker's words as a refrain before repeating his own verse one more time, the whole composition running only about a minute and a half in duration.
The basic track, consisting of Paul on piano, George on bass and Ringo on drums, was laid down on July 2nd, 1969. Over the next two days, numerous overdubs were added, most of them to Carry That Weight. Vocals were also overdubbed, with only Paul singing in the Golden Slumbers section of the track. He deliberately chose to work against the lullaby aspect of the lyrics, using a strident voice to deliver Dekker's words.
The final overdub featured a thirty-piece orchestra recorded on August 15th, with producer George Martin conducting his own impeccable arrangement. On the album Abbey Road, the song appears after the only true break in the side two medley, almost as if it is the beginning of a second movement in the overall structure.