- John Lennon - lead vocals, electric piano
- Paul McCartney - lead guitar
- Ringo Starr - drums
John Lennon created Watching Rainbows towards the end of the Beatles era. It is more of an improvisation than a composition.
In January of 1969 the Beatles recorded numerous songs for the so-called Get Back project, which was eventually abandoned due to tensions among the band members except for a handful of tracks eventually used on the Let It Be album, which came out a year later.
Harrison had withdrawn from the group (temporarily), and so Lennon, McCartney and Starr met at the Twickenham studios for several lengthy sessions. On January 14, John started singing Watching Rainbows, accompanying himself on the electric piano. Instead of playing bass, Paul came in on lead guitar. The tune emerged as the trio were going over two other Lennon songs: Mean Mr. Mustard (which would come out on Abbey Road), and Madman (later shelved).
Musicologists find analogues in this song with three other Beatles songs:
- I've Got a Feeling - a song of McCartney's due to commonalities in their musical structures.
- I Am the Walrus - due to commonalities in their lyrics, one of the repeated lines in the song,
standing in the garden, waiting for the sun to shine,is almost verbatim from I Am the Walrus, considered by many to be Lennon's finest effort as a song writer.
- Mean Mr. Mustard - the recorded version seems to have vestiges of Mean Mr. Mustard as well, perhaps because the composer is the same and because the three played Watching Rainbows right after having rehearsed the other.
The song was essentially folded into I've Got a Feeling along with another unfinished Lennon song called Everyone Had a Hard Year, whose lyrics can be heard during Lennon's part in I've Got a Feeling.
The recorded track is relatively long (4:24). It was not made part of Let It Be, nor was it released in any of the subsequent compilations but bootlegs have been widely circulated for some time.