June 03, 2004

No . . .

In an interview with the Daily Mirror, Sir Paul McCartney admits what everybody already knew: the influence of drugs on the music of the Beatles was pervasive:

By the time they split up in 1970,they had released some of the most innovative, groundbreaking albums ever, including Rubber Soul, Revolver and Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. In the early days one of their biggest influences was Elvis Presley, but as the King's career faltered in the 60s drugs became another inspiration. . . .

"Just about everyone was doing drugs in one form or another and we were no different, but the writing was too important for us to mess it up by getting off our heads all the time. It was just easier to write when we were straight and seemly.

"It was only on Pepper that we started to use stuff in the studio. On the earlier albums we'd have been using those drugs socially, so in that sense the drugs informed what we did.

"A song like Got To Get You Into My Life, that's directly about pot, although everyone missed it at the time. Day Tripper, that's one about acid. . . .

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OK, Paul, but what about the song everyone's bound to ask about?

Lucy In The Sky, that's pretty obvious.

John Lennon, of course, maintained all his life that "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" was inspired by a drawing Julian Lennon had done as a child, and that those infamous intials "LSD" were a coincidence. Oddly enough, the redoubtable Snopes.com quotes McCartney agreeing with Lennon in a 1978 interview with Barry Miles, against himself in the present:

This one is amazing. As I was saying before, when you write a song and you mean it one way, and then someone comes up and says something about it that you didn't think of -- you can't deny it. Like "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," people came up and said, very cunningly, "Right, I get it. L-S-D," and it was when all the papers were talking about LSD, but we never thought about it.

What happened was that John's son Julian did a drawing at school and brought it home, and he has a schoolmate called Lucy, and John said what's that, and he said, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" -- so we had a nice title.

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Of course, some of us just want to know what drug inspired "She loves you, yeah yeah yeah."