Beatles-Cember: “Yellow Submarine” and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”

Posted: December 29, 2013 by Sam in Music
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Another two-fer so we can get all caught up!

“Yellow Submarine” was another song composed by McCartney for Ringo Starr, the inspiration of which came from McCartney just trying to think of a story to tell. Finding an angle with a sea captain weaving an ever more nonsensical and fantastical tale, coupled with lyrics contributed from both John Lennon and Donovan, and you have the delightful children’s tune we know and love. That doesn’t stop people from adding their own socio-political messages.

The song was so popular that, though it was recorded for the album Revolver, it was reused and made the title song of the move of the same name. It was also the Beatles’ third, and supposedly final, contracted film with United Artists. Yellow Submarine was an animated film set around the music of the Beatles that pulled from various albums and told the story of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’s journey to stop the Blue Meanies from destroying Pepperland. The Beatles were originally slated to provide their voices for their animated counterparts, but it ultimately fell to other actors to do their best Liverpudlian accents. To fulfill their contract, the band appears, briefly, at the end in a live action sequence.

Contrary to popular belief, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” isn’t about LSD. The inspiration for the song came from a drawing Julian Lennon did of one of his classmates. When he showed it to his father, John, and stated that the title of the drawing was “Lucy – in the sky with diamonds” John just ran with the concept and created a song. The LSD rumors continued to be fueled, however, with the lyrics and the musical arrangement giving the song the feel of an acid trip, but there ya go.

The song itself has remained a popular piece of pop culture history. There have been multiple covers of the song and one parody song, “Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)”, was actually a hit for John Fred and His Playboy Band in 1967. Lennon even references the song in “I Am the Walrus”.


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