What's The New Mary Jane
- John Lennon – vocals, piano, effects
- George Harrison – vocals, acoustic guitar, effects
- Yoko Ono – vocals, effects
- Mal Evans – handbell, effects
John Lennon wrote What's the New Mary Jane? for the 1968 album, The Beatles (also known as The White Album). However, it did not appear in the album, and was not subsequently released.
The Beatles recorded this song on August 14, 1968 in four takes. John and George were the only band members present. Yoko Ono was also in the studio for the recording and participated in the percussion. Some speculate that Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd was in the studio at the time and participated as well. This has never been corroborated by anyone else who was present.
Contrary to some speculation, the song was not dropped because of the marijuana implication in the title, but rather because the play list was too long for the double album, and one song had to be deferred. Other band members thought this song was a good candidate, as it was considerably more avant-garde than the other tracks.
On November 26, 1969, John and Yoko recorded more overdubs for the single release of this song with as a single with another unreleased Lennon song, You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) on the b-side. The release was to be in the name of "the Plastic Ono Band." The plan was scrapped when the other group members protested, and the b-side song eventually saw light on Let It Be. For many years, the song could only be heard via bootlegs. Then it came out in the Anthology 3 collection in 1996.
What's New Mary Jane? consists of two verses and a chorus, which is repeated over and over as the song moves toward a five-minute coda of way-out sound effects. The last thing heard is Lennon saying, "Let's hear it before we get taken away."