I absolutely love this song, definatly one of Johns best IMO, it has fantastic vocal and guitar tones to die for, the finger picking interplay between John & George (for which I think Donovan was the catalyst) is very very good.
Its all done with a dropped D...ie the low E string is dropped a whole tone down to D, this guy shows it well;
See, its easy
The subject of the song is actress Mia Farrow's sister, Prudence Farrow who was present when The Beatles went to India to study with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
The Beatles had planned to make it a three month retreat. However, after about ten days, Ringo Starr returned home, reportedly because he couldn’t deal with spicy Indian food, heading back to the U.K. “for egg and chips,” as one account put it. Paul left soon thereafter, with John and George leaving later. Although the Beatles left the retreat before the course on transcendental meditation was finished, Prudence Farrow, Mike Love of the Beach Boys, and others stayed on and became TM teachers. During the Beatles’ stay, however, they did a fair amount of song writing in their spare time, with McCartney and Lennon getting together frequently to compare notes. “Regardless of what I was supposed to be doing,” Lennon would later say, “I did write some of my best songs there.”
Farrow became so serious about her meditation that she "turned into a near recluse" and "rarely came out" of the cottage she was living in. Someone asked John Lennon to "contact her and make sure she came out more often to socialize". As a result, Lennon wrote the song Dear Prudence. In the song Lennon asks Farrow to "open up your eyes" and "see the sunny skies" reminding her that she is "part of everything". The song was said to be "a simple plea to a friend to 'snap out of it'".
Lennon said later that "She'd been locked in for three weeks and was trying to reach God quicker than anyone else". According to Farrow: "I would always rush straight back to my room after lectures and meals so I could meditate. John, George and Paul would all want to sit around jamming and having a good time and I'd be flying into my room. They were all serious about what they were doing, but they just weren't as fanatical as me".
George Harrison later mentioned to Prudence as the Beatles were leaving India, that they had written a song about her. Farrow, flattered at the attention, would not hear the song until it came out on the album.
The resulting song, in any case, is quite beautiful musically; with the above mentioned finger-picking guitar featured prominently throughout (except the Bridge), along with some very nice, harmonic Beatle vocals. The song’s lyrics offer simplicity and innocence while praising nature’s beauty: “..The sun is up, the sky is blue, it’s beautiful, and so are you…”. Lennon is said to have considered it one of his favourite Beatles songs, and his son Julian has also named it his favourite.
In late August 1968, as the Beatles continued their studio work on the White Album – most of which was done at the Abbey Road studios in London – the work on “Dear Prudence” began. The work on this song, took place over a three-day period at Trident Studios in London. This studio had new eight-track recording equipment, which the Beatles used on the “Dear Prudence” song. The basic track, recorded on this first day, featured Lennon on finger-picked guitar, George Harrison on lead guitar, and Paul McCartney on drums, as Ringo Starr had temporarily left the group. It has to be said that Paul did a great job on the drums here.
On the following day, McCartney recorded a bass part, and Lennon manually double-tracked his lead vocals and backing vocals. Handclapping and tambourine were performed by McCartney and Harrison with other contributions from others at the studio. On the final day of recording, McCartney added a piano track and a very brief flugelhorn section.
The complete list of recording session personnel included: John Lennon: lead vocals (double-tracked), backing vocals, harmony vocals, rhythm guitars (1965 Epiphone E230TD(V) Casino), handclaps
Paul McCartney: backing vocals, harmony vocals, bass guitar (1964 Rickenbacker 400IS), piano (Bluthner), drums (Ludwig), handclaps
George Harrison: backing vocals, harmony vocals, lead guitar (1968 Fender Rosewood Telecaster), rhythm guitar (1957 Gibson Les Paul Standard), handclaps
Mal Evans, Jackie Lomax, John McCartney: handclaps
Released 22 November 1968
and here it is in all its glory...