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Doctor Robert

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"Doctor Robert"
Song by The Beatles
Album Revolver
Released 5 August 1966
Recorded 17, 19 April 1966
Abbey Road Studios
Genre Rock
Length 2:15
Label Parlophone
Writer Lennon/McCartney
Producer George Martin
Revolver track listing
Another of mine. Mainly about drugs and pills. It was about myself. I was the one that carried all the pills on tour... later on the roadies did it. We just kept them in our pockets, loose, in case of trouble.

—John Lennon, Playboy Interviews, 1980

Me. I think Paul helped with the middle.

—John Lennon, Hit Parader, 1972

John and I thought that was a funny idea, the fantasy doctor who would fix you up by giving you drugs. It was a parody on that idea. It's just a piss-take. There was a fashion for it. Change your blood and have a vitamin shot and you'll feel better.

—Paul McCartney, 1994

Well, he's like a joke ... about this fellow who cured everyone of everything with all these pills and tranquilizers, injections for this and that; he just kept New York high. That's what 'Doctor Robert' is all about: just a pill doctor who sees you all right. It was a joke between ourselves, but they go in in-jokes and come out out-jokes because everyone listens and puts their own thing on it, which is great ... You put your own meaning at your own level to our songs and that's what's great about them.

—Paul McCartney, Paul McCartney in His Own Words, Paul Gambaccini, 1976

John paid sardonic tribute to an actual New York doctor — his real name was Charles Roberts, with an 's' — whose unorthodox prescriptions had made him a great favourite of Andy Warhol's entourage, and, indeed, of the Beatles themselves, whenever they passed through town. When John first played me the acetate of 'Dr Robert', he seemed beside himself with glee over the prospect of millions of record buyers innocently singing along.

—Pete Shotton, John Lennon: In My Life, 1994

Dr. Roberts was one of a number of doctors in New York City known as 'speed doctors' or 'acid doctors.' Dr. Roberts would shoot up his star patients with various chemicals, including vitamins and LSD, but mainly speed.

Edie Edie: An American Biography, Jean Stein, 1982

Dr. Robert was almost certainly Dr. Robert Freymann, a 60-year-old (at the time) German-born physician who had a practice on East 78th Street in New York City. (The 'Dr. Charles Roberts' cited in some Beatles books didn't exist. It was an alias used by Jean Stein, the biographer of Andy Warhol actress Edie Sedgwick, to conceal the identity of another 'speed doctor'.) Known as Dr. Robert or the Great White Father (he had a shock of white hair). Freymann was well connected with the city's arts scene. He had helped, among others, Theolonius Monk and Charlie Parker (whose death certificate he signed in 1955), and had a reputation for being generous with amphetamines.

A Hard Day's Write, Steve Turner, 1994


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