Music Friday: Desmond Buys a 20-Carat Ring in The Beatles’ Classic ‘Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today we shine the spotlight on The Beatles of 1968, as they perform one of the great sing-alongs of all time: “Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da.”

Fans of The Beatles’ White Album will fondly remember the line about Desmond taking a trolley to the jewelry store to buy a 20-carat golden ring (ring!). When he takes it back to Molly waiting at the door, she begins to sing (sing!).

What many fans may not know about the song is the origin of its catchy refrain. According to author Bob Spitz, whose book The Beatles was released in 2005, McCartney borrowed the expression “ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on, bra” from Jimmy Scott-Emuakpor, a Nigerian-born conga player whom he met at the Bag O’ Nails club in Soho, London. The word “bra” is a slang term for “brother.”

Scott later tried to claim a writer’s credit for the use of his phrase in the song. While McCartney argued that the phrase was “just an expression,” Scott countered that “ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on, bra” was a phrase used exclusively by the Scott-Emuakpor family. The case was eventually dropped when McCartney agreed to pay Scott’s legal expenses for an unrelated case.

We hope you enjoy the video. The lyrics are below, and we know you will be singing along.

“Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da”

Written by Paul McCartney. Performed by The Beatles.

Desmond has a barrow in the market place
Molly is the singer in a band
Desmond says to Molly, “Girl I like your face”
And Molly says this as she takes him by the hand

Ob-la-di, ob-la-da life goes on bra
La la how the life goes on
Ob-la-di, ob-la-da life goes on bra
La la how the life goes on

Desmond takes a trolley to the jewelry store
Buys a twenty carat golden ring
Takes it back to Molly waiting at the door
And as he gives it to her she begins to sing

Ob-la-di, ob-la-da life goes on bra
La la how the life goes on
Ob-la-di, ob-la-da life goes on bra
La la how the life goes on

In a couple of years they have built a home, sweet home
With a couple of kids running in the yard
Of Desmond and Molly Jones

Happy ever after in the market place
Desmond lets the children lend a hand
Molly stays at home and does her pretty face
And in the evening she still sings it with the band

Yeah, ob-la-di, ob-la-da life goes on bra
La la how the life goes on
Ob-la-di, ob-la-da life goes on bra
La la how the life goes on

In a couple of years they have built a home, sweet home
With a couple of kids running in the yard
Of Desmond and Molly Jones, hey

Happy ever after in the market place
Molly lets the children lend a hand
Desmond stays at home and does his pretty face
And in the evening she’s a singer with the band

Yeah, ob-la-di, ob-la-da life goes on bra
La la how the life goes on
Yeah, ob-la-di, ob-la-da life goes on bra
La la how the life goes on

And if you want some fun, take ob-la-di-bla-da

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