Monday, 2 June 2008

Lyrics & their meaning Part 12 - I am the walrus

Rock Lyrics are not what they appear to be.
I Am The Walrus(1968) The Beatles
The Beatles are arguably one of the most influential, popular, significant, innovative (just keep adding superlatives) Rock band that the world of popular music has ever known. The type of Messiah popularity they attracted was always bring out the lunatic fringe but in the case of the Beatles they didn’t need help from the loonies they had John Lennon.
The Beatles well-documented experiments with mind-altering drugs have explained their inventiveness in the studio and with the canny ability of their Producer George Martin the band managed to record them on tape. The drugs also help explain some of Lennon’s lyrics; in this particular case I am the Walrus.
The album Magical Mystery Tour in which it was contained was released in 1967 and was smack in the middle of the psychedelic period for the group in terms of packaging and content, it was also strangely enough involved in one of the Beatles few failures.
The television special, which followed the release of the record, was dismissed by critics and viewers alike, and rightly so because it was an amateurish piece of crap dominated in production and direction by Paul McCartney who should have left it to the experts.
The Album and its packaging as it was revealed later was a gold mine of clues for the unprovable practical hoax of Paul McCartney’s untimely death in a mythical car crash.
Songs like Fool on the hill’, Magical Mystery Tour & I am the Walrus were destined to be prime targets for the word analysers.
The song I am the Walrus is very drug influenced. The opening lines “I am he / as you are he / as you are me and we are all together” – came to Lennon during an acid trip. And so too did the songs phrasing. The lyrics follow the same sound pattern as the ‘Ee Ow Ee Ow’ of an English Police siren. Many of the other verses were triggered by a fan letter the band received from a student from John Lennon’s old high school. Lennon’s good friend Pete Shotton recalled how he and Lennon were taking ‘Lucky dips” into the fan mail bag one day when out came a letter from a lad describing how his English teacher was pontificating on the real meaning behind the Beatles lyrics.
Lennon already exasperated by the often mistaken analysis of Beatle songs by journalists, critics and fans was seized by a brain wave. Asking Shotton to recite their shared boyhood rhyme Dead Dogs Eye. A listing of the kind of gross things young boys find appealing. Lennon reconfigured the words into yellow matter custard, dripping from a dead dog’s eye. Likewise the words Semolina pilchard , a nice way to say sardine custard. After scribbling down these lines, Lennon looked up with a smile and said “ Let the fuckers work that one out Pete”
John Lennon has categorically stated he wrote the words for ‘ I am the Walrus’ to trip up the critics, they meant absolutely nothing at all. Lennon confused clue seeker even more when he wrote Glass Onions ’for the White Album a song he revealed was just a lot of phrases that were popular for there suggested hints. That he embellished in response to critics whom he felt over-analysed I am the Walrus and the Paul is Dead hoax.
Other lyrics were lifted straight out of Alice through the looking glass along with other snappy phrases were perfect catalyst to the off beat tune. You have to remember Lennon wasn’t partial to grabbing whatever was available for words; don’t forget he got the entire lyrics for the Benefit for Mr. Kite from an old circus poster.
As innocent as the song seems the BBC still managed to unofficially but effectively ban I am the Walrus from T.V and radio.
Maybe Lennon knew the song was going to attract so much attention that he put in his own little message.
At the end of the song there is a falsetto chorus of screams and whoops performed by the Mike Sammes Singers a group of hired session vocalists that builds as the song reaches its climax. Nice people say it sounds like “Oompa, Oompa stick it up your jumper”. If you listen hard enough I reckon their saying what Lennon was really trying to say to the critics: “Get Fucked, get fucked everybody get fucked”.
(c) 2002 Shidot Prod.

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