John Lennon Revealed The Beatles Song That Was Written During Two Separate Acid Trips
By Ross Tanenbaum,
During the late 1960s, The Beatles entered a more psychedelic era. The album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the Magical Mystery Tour movie were paired with colorful images and surreal lyrics, partly because The Beatles began experimenting with LSD and psychedelic drugs. John Lennon said one of The Beatles’ more surreal songs came to Lennon after experiencing two acid trips.
The Beatles were heavily inspired by surrealism
In the later days of The Beatles, the band became heavily influenced by surreal and psychedelic imagery. Many of their songs had nonsensical lyrics that made fans ponder what they could mean. After being inspired by drugs and surrealist authors, John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote many songs with bizarre lyrics. In an interview shared by Far Out , Lennon explained why he connected with surrealism.
“Surrealism had a great effect on me because then I realized that the imagery in my mind wasn’t insanity; that if it was insane, I belong in an exclusive club that sees the world in those terms,” the “In My Life” singer said. “Surrealism to me is reality. Psychic vision to me is reality.”
John Lennon wrote The Beatles’ song ‘I Am the Walrus’ after two acid trips
One of The Beatles’ most confusing and surreal songs was “I Am the Walrus.” The track, which the BBC banned at one point, debuted in the 1967 television film Magical Mystery Tour . Many fans were baffled by this song upon its release and are still debating on the meaning of these lyrics. In a 1980 interview with Playboy , John Lennon said the inspiration for “I Am the Walrus” came to him during two acid trips on separate weekends.
“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. Part of it was putting down Hare Krishna. All these people were going on about Hare Krishna, Allen Ginsberg in particular. The reference to ‘Element’ry penguin’ is the elementary, naive attitude of going around chanting, ‘Hare Krishna,’ or putting all your faith in any one idol. I was writing obscurely, a la Dylan, in those days.”
“I Am the Walrus” is also inspired by ‘Alice in Wonderland’
Both Paul McCartney and John Lennon were fans of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and often referenced his stories in The Beatles’ songs. The title for “I Am the Walrus” comes from The Walrus and the Carpenter , a poem told within Through the Looking Glass . The poem connected with Lennon, even though he may have misinterpreted who the poem’s antagonist is.
“To me, it was a beautiful poem,” Lennon told Playboy. “It never dawned on me that Lewis Carroll was commenting on the capitalist and social 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, s***, I picked the wrong guy.’ I should have said, ‘I am the carpenter.’ But that wouldn’t have been the same, would it?”
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