Obscure/cryptic Lennon Lyrics

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Obscure/cryptic Lennon Lyrics

Postby Berkeleyan » Mon Jul 26, 2004 7:17 am

My pick is "I am the Walrus". I don't think John has written anything more obscure/cryptic than this tune, which I love BTW.
Throughout the lyric there's plenty of obscure references and imagery.
I don't "get" most of them. I'd love to "understand" them, meaning to see how they "fit" within the "context", the "theme". It's hard to explain.
I'd love to understand what John had in mind (besides acid) when he picked stuff like "yellow matter custard", or "elementry penguim singing Hare Khrishna", or "crabalocker fishwife, pornographic priestess" or "....kicking Edgard Allan Poe". How do they "fit" in the writer's motives/motivation ? Or did he just pick them up because they sounded nice to him ????
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Postby mindgames » Mon Jul 26, 2004 5:53 pm

Pete Shotton wrote in his book: "Pete", he said, "what's that 'Dead Dog's Eye' song we used to sing when we were at Quarry Bank?"

Yellow matter custard, green slop pie,
All mixed together with a dead dog's eye,
Slap it on a butty, ten foot thick,
Then wash it all down with a cup of cold sick.

"That's it!" said John, "fanstastic!".....such was the genesis of I am the walrus......John threw in the most ludicrous images his imagination could conjure. He thought of "semolina" (an insipid pudding we'd been forced to eat as kids) and "pilchard" (a sardine we often fed to our cats).....

He turned to me, smiling. "Let the ****** work than one out, Pete."
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Postby dsnito » Tue Jul 27, 2004 9:28 am

In "Walrus" there are many nonsense images like on Lewis Carroll's "Alice In The Wonderland" but mixed in many acid-trips that John did at that time...but it's very possible that he also took references in his past things as MG mentioned about Shotton's book...
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Postby Maestri09 » Tue Jul 27, 2004 9:05 pm

John was really good at telling stories with lots of imagery--which keeps you really interested. I can name many that just makes you want to listen to what he says next. I'm thinking:

I'm only sleeping
No reply
Help
Girl
Across the universe
The Ballad of john and yoko
being for the benefit of mr. Kyte
you've got to hide your love away
norwegian wood
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Postby dsnito » Wed Jul 28, 2004 9:58 am

Agreed, Maestri...many of his songs make us imagining the scenes being real or imaginatives. You mentioned Ballad of J&Y that was pure REALITY of their moments and well described by him.
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Postby Berkeleyan » Tue Aug 03, 2004 7:06 am

Thank you all for the info, fellows !

Yes Dsnito, John changed his style of writting lyrics in the last months the Beatles were still officially a group - a journalistic kind of style, conveying his opinions and thoughts of current events in his (and YOu-Know-who's) life, as he himself put it. He kept that approach for a few years and by 1974 he was somewhat changing his writting style again, I think.
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Postby dsnito » Wed Aug 04, 2004 6:45 pm

Berkeleyan wrote:Thank you all for the info, fellows !

Yes Dsnito, John changed his style of writting lyrics in the last months the Beatles were still officially a group - a journalistic kind of style, conveying his opinions and thoughts of current events


This kind of style clearly can be typified on "Sometime In NY City",
Last edited by dsnito on Fri Aug 06, 2004 8:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby dsnito » Wed Aug 04, 2004 6:46 pm

Berkeleyan wrote:Thank you all for the info, fellows !

Yes Dsnito, John changed his style of writting lyrics in the last months the Beatles were still officially a group - a journalistic kind of style, conveying his opinions and thoughts of current events


This kind of style clearly can be typified on "Sometime In NY City", Can't this?? 1972 social-politic events on that album...

Berkeleyan wrote:He kept that approach for a few years and by 1974 he was somewhat changing his writting style again, I think.


Yeah, I may agree on this too, the lyrics on "Walls And Bridges" are a straight message about his temporary separation of Yoko, though a bit cryptic in lyrics like "Steel And Glass", "Surprise, Surprise", "Old Dirt Road"...don't know if you'll think so...
As for the realistic lyrics we can see clearly that those are explicited on "Double Fantasy" album...his daily routine showed to the amazed fans...too sad those were his last happy days of his life...It yet cuts deeply the heart of us fans... :cry:
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Postby Berkeleyan » Fri Aug 06, 2004 7:56 am

Right !

You made me recall John had a diary and used to make entries almost everyday, w/ topics ranging from the absolute trivial + a "lennonism" (e.g. a grocery shopping list including cat litter) to confessions + creativity (or so it seemed - I have no example right now). The diary (actually a load of volumes) was stolen by Fred Seaman (who must've copied all all them - I would, having had the trouble to pick it up), then returned to Yoko a few years later. This way he avoided a law suit, I guess.

But anyway, lennon kept changing lyric styles, eventually returning to his acerbic best (which I enjoy so much) in "Nobody Told Me", which I think was/is his last "classic song".
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Postby dsnito » Sun Aug 08, 2004 4:40 am

Berks, don´t you think "Norwegian Wood(This Bird Has Flown)" is one of the best examples of cryptic lyrics starting for the song title??
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