I chose this song because the lyrics create a vivid image of a completely different world. At first listen to the song, and rumors surrounding it, you would think it is a song about an acid trip and it was actually banned from some radio stations when it came out because it seemed so obvious that it was about LSD. The song was released in 1967 by The Beatles on their album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. In the 60’s and 70’s, the fear of communism was ubiquitous among westerners, the Vietnam war was still being fought, and young adults were increasingly desiring a life filled with sex, drugs, rock music… and peace.
As the 60’s brought increasing tension between young people and the adults in power, it makes sense that so many young people related to this song, amongst many songs by The Beatles. The song portrays a world that is care free and happy. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds paints a picturesque world filled with “tangerine trees and marmalade skies… cellophane flowers of yellow and green towering over your head”. It easy to imagine a colorful world where every aspect is aesthetically pleasing. A place “where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies, everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers that grow so incredibly high”. This is a place that is filled with happy people who have no worries. Overall, this song depicts a utopia that is filled with smiling faces and bright colors.
John Lennon wrote the song for the group. Although Paul McCartney stated in an interview that the song was about LSD, Lennon stated in an interview (posted below) that it was not. Lennon was inspired by a drawing that his son brought home and had nothing to do with drugs… instead it was based off a picture of a beautiful girl flying in the sky with lots of colors surrounding her. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAZAdhPXQ2w
6 thoughts on “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds by The Beatles”
There is definitely something Cockaygne-ish about Lucy in the Sky. It is a land of plenty–of sugar! I think it is probably true that it is, in part, about a picture a John’s kid drew–although I really doubt that Lennon was unaware of the possibility of a double meaning. I think my son–3 years old–would have a very similar vision of utopia. He would probably call it “Iris on the Lawn with Marsh Mellows.” part of the appeal of the song is that it takes adults back into a mindset of a child. I am reminded of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the witches candy and gingerbread house in Hansel and Gretel, and the entire second act of The Nutcracker. Also see Muzzio’s posting on Big Rock Candy Mountain.
The visuals in the youtube video definitely bring to mind an acid trip with the strange colors and the blurring in-and-out-of-focus that accompanies it. However, I can also picture a six-year-old finding a coloring book of the Beatles and a pack of crayons and using all the unusual crayons to paint the pictures in this visual as well. Children have such overactive imaginations as compared to adults. While I’ve never tried acid, I can imagine that the effects of acid on an adult would be to stimulate the imagination to such a state that it resembles that of a child. Either way, definitely a happy, trippy utopia compared to the real world.
The history of a culture in a certain time period is always reflected in its produced utopias. This was a very socially chaotic time for America, and I think this seemingly drug-induced world matches that disruption very well. Other images of utopias I have seen and read, however, make more sense to me because they are described in realistic terms that I can better imagine. For some reason, picturing this particular utopia didn’t appeal to me when I heard the song. It seems like when you bite into something that’s too sweet. The fantastical, candy related pictures here are more like a highly exaggerated dystopia to me.
Anyway, the fact that the child’s drawing was the true basis for this song reminded me of something interesting: When I was younger, the world I saw was a utopia. I was too young to see the flaws in authority yet, and everything was all about playing and having fun. So it isn’t hard for me to imagine that a child could easily create such a world!
I first heard about this song when I was a freshman and my teacher told me it was definitely about LSD. Your quotes from the song paint a colorful utopian world. Is it only possible that a childlike mind can inspire a world like that? I imagine that the effects of drugs can also create different worlds in one’s mind also.
Great choice! I especially like the link you draw between the lyrics of the song with the time period. The song definitely brings the listener back to their childhood and to relive the joy and ease of that time. I think for many people, childhood is remembered simple, lighthearted, and almost perfect to an extent. The video definitely does create a “trippy” feeling and I can see why LSD would seem like a reasonable origin of the song. But I also think that it plays more into the vivid, childlike element of imagination than a state of drug-induced utopia.
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