Anonymous asked in Entertainment & MusicMusicRock and Pop · 6 years ago

The Beatles: What does that song even mean?

I have listened to 'I Am The Walrus' so many times because it's my favorite song from Magical Mystery Tour, and I still have yet to figure out the meaning. I even watched a YouTube video from the movie with the song, and I just don't get it.

6 Answers

  • Jeff J
    Lv 6
    6 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The genesis of the lyrics is found in three song ideas that Lennon was working on, the first of which was inspired by hearing a police siren at his home in Weybridge; Lennon wrote the lines "Mis-ter cit-y police-man" to the rhythm and melody of the siren. The second idea was a short rhyme about Lennon sitting in his garden, while the third was a nonsense lyric about sitting on a corn flake. Unable to finish the ideas as three different songs, he eventually combined them into one. The lyrics also included the phrase "Lucy in the sky" from "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band earlier in the year.

    The walrus is a reference to the walrus in Lewis Carroll's poem "The Walrus and the Carpenter" (from the book Through the Looking-Glass). Lennon later expressed dismay upon belatedly realising that the walrus was a villain in the poem.

    The final catalyst of the song occurred when Lennon's friend and former fellow member of The Quarrymen, Peter Shotton, visited and Lennon asked Shotton about a playground nursery rhyme they sang as children. Shotton remembered:

    "Yellow matter custard, green slop pie,

    All mixed together with a dead dog's eye,

    Slap it on a butty, ten foot thick,

    Then wash it all down with a cup of cold sick."

    Lennon borrowed a couple of words, added the three unfinished ideas and the result was "I Am the Walrus". The Beatles' official biographer Hunter Davies was present while the song was being written and wrote an account in his 1968 biography of the Beatles. Lennon remarked to Shotton, "Let the ******* work that one out." Shotton was also responsible for suggesting to Lennon to change the lyric "waiting for the man to come" to "waiting for the van to come".

    Lennon claimed he wrote the first two lines on separate acid trips; he explained much of the song to Playboy in 1980:

    "The first line was written on one acid trip one weekend. The second line was written on the next acid trip the next weekend, and it was filled in after I met Yoko... I'd seen Allen Ginsberg and some other people who liked Dylan and Jesus going on about Hare Krishna. It was Ginsberg, in particular, I was referring to. The words 'Element'ry penguin' meant that it's naïve to just go around chanting Hare Krishna or putting all your faith in one idol. In those days I was writing obscurely, à la Dylan."

    "It never dawned on me that Lewis Carroll was commenting on the capitalist system. I never went into that bit about what he really meant, like people are doing with the Beatles' work. Later, I went back and looked at it and realized that the walrus was the bad guy in the story and the carpenter was the good guy. I thought, Oh, ****, I picked the wrong guy. I should have said, 'I am the carpenter.' But that wouldn't have been the same, would it? [Sings, laughing] 'I am the carpenter....'"

    • 6 years agoReport

      Wikipedia is not a trust worthy site. Anyone can add whatever they want. Most schools discourage the use of Wikipedia as a valid info source.

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  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    Try doing acid while you listen to it, they did while they played it. Come to think about it, everyone was doing it back then. How do you think a surreal song like that gets made. Remember the word SURREAL

    also, the walrus is Paul!!! (The white album)

    Good luck

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  • ?
    Lv 5
    6 years ago

    Like others are saying, don't overthink it. I think John intentionally wrote a song full of nonsense. There were a lot of hippies in the 60s who would try to find secret meanings with Beatles songs like they were modern day prophets or messiahs. John Lennon got sick of it.

    He was also on LSD at the time, a hallucinogenic drug. So it's stream of consciousness stuff. I don't like the song (I used to do drugs which was stupid, and this song is a really unpleasant reminder of those days) I prefer his more straightforward work.

    Whatever you do, don't try drugs to try and be like John Lennon, because I really think he did his best and most profound work clear headed, he didn't really need drugs to be creative. He used them to numb personal problems.

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  • JOHN G
    Lv 7
    6 years ago

    John was fed up with having his songs analysed, he said the song was just a mishmash of words and phrases that he thought sounded good together, there is no hidden meaning..

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  • SWAG
    Lv 6
    6 years ago

    it means nothing. you could have found that yourself if you spent 30 seconds googling it.

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  • 6 years ago

    every body smoke pot everybody smoke pot everybody smoke pot. its about life on pot.

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