On Music: Beatlemania Week – No. 4

"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"



Contrary to the popular story we all heard growing up, the song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" was not inspired by LSD; rather, by a drawing John Lennon's son Julian did of his classmate, Lucy O'Donnell. Julian brought the drawing home from nursery school in 1966, and explained to his dad that it was "Lucy - in the sky with diamonds." Said John Lennon, "It was purely unconscious that it came out to be LSD. Until someone pointed it out, I never even thought of it. I mean, who would ever bother to look at initials of a title? It's not an acid song. The imagery was Alice in the boat."

Now then, in 2004, according to WIKI, Paul McCartney had something else to say on the subject:

"A song like 'Got to Get You Into My Life,' that's directly about pot, although everyone missed it at the time." "Day Tripper," he says, "that's one about acid. 'Lucy in the Sky,' that's pretty obvious. There's others that make subtle hints about drugs, but, you know, it's easy to overestimate the influence of drugs on the Beatles' music."

Soooo, maybe, er, draw your own conclusions as to whether it's about the drawing or the drugs.

For all episodes in this week-long Beatlemania mini-series, click here.


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I always thought Lennon was talking crap about that, but then he did talk a lot of crap. He was simply trying to make excuses for the song. If you're going to write a song about something you should have the balls to admit that it's about that thing. I suspect he didn't have the courage of his own convictions. McCartney clearly did.
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I think it is more "acceptable" to talk about it now. I am sure if John were still alive, he'd be admitting it, too.

Or it is just Paul inventing his own reality again :)
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Sorry Jolly, but while he was in no way a saint, "lacking the courage of his convictions" was definitely NOT one of John Lennon's character flaws! Even just a superficial familiarity with any of his public statements should make that more than obvious.

I actually believe John's story about the innocent inspiration for the title "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" precisely BECAUSE he was so brutally honest about everything else, including his drug use. It just seems frankly silly to imagine that the same guy who wrote a song called "Cold Turkey" which is obviously and explicitly about kicking heroin - something John publicly confirmed more than once - would somehow then be afraid to own up to referencing LSD in another song, especially since he never made any secret of the fact that he used LSD. And with all due respect to Sir Paul, he had no part in the writing of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, so his comment is pure speculation just like everyone else's.

Now, were the LYRICS of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds influenced by the more than 100 acid trips Lennon publicly acknowledged taking? That I have no problem believing! (And if you read it in context of the complete interview, it is most likely those lyrics rather than the initials of the title that Paul was talking about in the quote referenced in the article, anyway.)
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