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{{cquote|It can never be again! Everyone always talks about a good thing coming to an end, as if life was over. But I'll be 40 when this interview comes out. Paul is 38. Elton John, Bob Dylan — we're all relatively young people. The game isn't over yet. Everyone talks in terms of the last record or the last Beatle concert — but, God willing, there are another 40 years of productivity to go. I'm not judging whether "I Am The Walrus" is better or worse than "Imagine." It is for others to judge. I am doing it. I do. I don't stand back and judge — I do.|quotewidth=500px|John Lennon|''Playboy'' Interview|1980}}
 
{{cquote|It can never be again! Everyone always talks about a good thing coming to an end, as if life was over. But I'll be 40 when this interview comes out. Paul is 38. Elton John, Bob Dylan — we're all relatively young people. The game isn't over yet. Everyone talks in terms of the last record or the last Beatle concert — but, God willing, there are another 40 years of productivity to go. I'm not judging whether "I Am The Walrus" is better or worse than "Imagine." It is for others to judge. I am doing it. I do. I don't stand back and judge — I do.|quotewidth=500px|John Lennon|''Playboy'' Interview|1980}}
  
{{cquote|It never dawned on me that Lewis Carroll was commenting on the capitalist and social system. I never went into that bit about what he really meant, like people are doing with the Beatles' work. Later, I went back and looked at it and realized that the walrus was the bad guy in the story and the carpenter was the good guy. I thought, Oh, shit, I picked the wrong guy. I should have said, 'I am the carpenter.' But that wouldn't have been the same, would it?"|quotewidth=500px|John Lennon, ''Playboy'' Interview|1980}}
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{{cquote|The first line was written on one acid trip one weekend. The second line was written on the next acid trip the next weekend, and it was filled in after I met Yoko. Part of it was putting down Hare Krishna. All these people were going on about Hare Krishna, Allen Ginsberg in particular. The reference to 'Element'ry penguin' is the elementary, naive attitude of going around chanting, 'Hare Krishna,' or putting all your faith in any one idol. I was writing obscurely, a la Dylan, in those days. It's from 'The Walrus and the Carpenter.' 'Alice in Wonderland.' To me, it was a beautiful poem. It never dawned on me that Lewis Carroll was commenting on the capitalist and social system. I never went into that bit about what he really meant, like people are doing with the Beatles' work. Later, I went back and looked at it and realized that the walrus was the bad guy in the story and the carpenter was the good guy. I thought, Oh, shit, I picked the wrong guy. I should have said, 'I am the carpenter.' But that wouldn't have been the same, would it? (singing) 'I am the carpenter...' But that wouldn't have been the same, would it?"|quotewidth=500px|John Lennon, ''Playboy'' Interview|1980}}
  
 
{{cquote|Everyone keeps preaching that the best way is to be 'open' when writing for teenagers. Then when we do we get criticized. Surely the word 'knickers' can't offend anyone. Shakespeare wrote words alot more naughtier than knickers!|quotewidth=500px|Paul McCartney|1967}}
 
{{cquote|Everyone keeps preaching that the best way is to be 'open' when writing for teenagers. Then when we do we get criticized. Surely the word 'knickers' can't offend anyone. Shakespeare wrote words alot more naughtier than knickers!|quotewidth=500px|Paul McCartney|1967}}
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{{cquote|We write lyrics, and I write lyrics that you don't realize what they mean till after. Especially some of the better songs or some of the more flowing ones, like 'Walrus.' The whole first verse was written without any knowledge. With 'I Am the Walrus,' I had 'I am he as you are he as we are all together.' I had just these two lines on the typewriter, and then about two weeks later I ran through and wrote another two lines and then, when I saw something, after about four lines, I just knocked the rest of it off. Then I had the whole verse or verse and a half and then sang it. I had this idea of doing a song that was a police siren, but it didn't work in the end (sings like a siren) 'I-am-he-as-you-are-he-as...' You couldn't really sing the police siren.|quotewidth=500px|John Lennon|1968}}
 
{{cquote|We write lyrics, and I write lyrics that you don't realize what they mean till after. Especially some of the better songs or some of the more flowing ones, like 'Walrus.' The whole first verse was written without any knowledge. With 'I Am the Walrus,' I had 'I am he as you are he as we are all together.' I had just these two lines on the typewriter, and then about two weeks later I ran through and wrote another two lines and then, when I saw something, after about four lines, I just knocked the rest of it off. Then I had the whole verse or verse and a half and then sang it. I had this idea of doing a song that was a police siren, but it didn't work in the end (sings like a siren) 'I-am-he-as-you-are-he-as...' You couldn't really sing the police siren.|quotewidth=500px|John Lennon|1968}}
  
==Notes==
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=Notes=
  
 
The opening two-note ''ostinado'' — which persists into the opening melody — was inspired by the monotonous two-note beat of a police siren.
 
The opening two-note ''ostinado'' — which persists into the opening melody — was inspired by the monotonous two-note beat of a police siren.
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{{#ev:youtube|ojrMFhoWo4U}}
 
{{#ev:youtube|ojrMFhoWo4U}}
  
Check out [[http://youtube.com/watch?v=qVF66GVj8zU Frank Zappa covering this tune]]!
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Check out [http://youtube.com/watch?v=qVF66GVj8zU Frank Zappa covering this tune]!
  
 
[[Category:Singles]][[Category:John Lennon]][[Category:Magical Mystery Tour (album)]]
 
[[Category:Singles]][[Category:John Lennon]][[Category:Magical Mystery Tour (album)]]

Revision as of 04:22, 23 April 2008

“I Am The Walrus”
“I Am The Walrus” cover
Single by The Beatles
Released 24 November 1967 (UK)
27 November 1967 (US)
Format 7"
Recorded Abbey Road Studios:
5 September 1967
Genre Psychedelic rock/Experimental rock
Length 4:34
Label Parlophone (UK)
Capitol (U.S.)
Writer(s) Lennon/McCartney
Producer George Martin
The Beatles singles chronology
"All You Need Is Love" / "Baby, You're A Rich Man"
(1966)
"I Am The Walrus" / "Hello, Goodbye"
(1967)
"Lady Madonna"
(1968)


It can never be again! Everyone always talks about a good thing coming to an end, as if life was over. But I'll be 40 when this interview comes out. Paul is 38. Elton John, Bob Dylan — we're all relatively young people. The game isn't over yet. Everyone talks in terms of the last record or the last Beatle concert — but, God willing, there are another 40 years of productivity to go. I'm not judging whether "I Am The Walrus" is better or worse than "Imagine." It is for others to judge. I am doing it. I do. I don't stand back and judge — I do.

—John Lennon, Playboy Interview

The first line was written on one acid trip one weekend. The second line was written on the next acid trip the next weekend, and it was filled in after I met Yoko. Part of it was putting down Hare Krishna. All these people were going on about Hare Krishna, Allen Ginsberg in particular. The reference to 'Element'ry penguin' is the elementary, naive attitude of going around chanting, 'Hare Krishna,' or putting all your faith in any one idol. I was writing obscurely, a la Dylan, in those days. It's from 'The Walrus and the Carpenter.' 'Alice in Wonderland.' To me, it was a beautiful poem. It never dawned on me that Lewis Carroll was commenting on the capitalist and social system. I never went into that bit about what he really meant, like people are doing with the Beatles' work. Later, I went back and looked at it and realized that the walrus was the bad guy in the story and the carpenter was the good guy. I thought, Oh, shit, I picked the wrong guy. I should have said, 'I am the carpenter.' But that wouldn't have been the same, would it? (singing) 'I am the carpenter...' But that wouldn't have been the same, would it?"

—John Lennon, Playboy Interview, 1980

Everyone keeps preaching that the best way is to be 'open' when writing for teenagers. Then when we do we get criticized. Surely the word 'knickers' can't offend anyone. Shakespeare wrote words alot more naughtier than knickers!

—Paul McCartney, 1967

We chose the word (knickers) because it is a lovely expressive word. It rolls off the tongue. It could 'mean' anything.

—John Lennon, 1967

People don't understand. In John's song, 'I Am The Walrus' he says: 'I am he as you are he as you are me.' People look for all sorts of hidden meanings. It's serious, but it's also not serious. It's true, but it's also a joke.

—George Harrison, 1967

We write lyrics, and I write lyrics that you don't realize what they mean till after. Especially some of the better songs or some of the more flowing ones, like 'Walrus.' The whole first verse was written without any knowledge. With 'I Am the Walrus,' I had 'I am he as you are he as we are all together.' I had just these two lines on the typewriter, and then about two weeks later I ran through and wrote another two lines and then, when I saw something, after about four lines, I just knocked the rest of it off. Then I had the whole verse or verse and a half and then sang it. I had this idea of doing a song that was a police siren, but it didn't work in the end (sings like a siren) 'I-am-he-as-you-are-he-as...' You couldn't really sing the police siren.

—John Lennon, 1968

Notes

The opening two-note ostinado — which persists into the opening melody — was inspired by the monotonous two-note beat of a police siren.

The song's opening line, "I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together" is based on the song "Marching To Pretoria," which contains the lyric, "I'm with you and you're with me and we are all together."

When Lennon decided to write confusing lyrics, he asked his friend Pete Shotton for a nursery rhyme they used to sing. Shotton gave them this rhyme, which Lennon incorporated into the song: "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."

The choir at the end sings "Oompah, oompah, stick it in your jumper" and "Everybody's got one, everybody's got one."

Lyrics

Watch the performance from Magical Mystery Tour (film):

Check out Frank Zappa covering this tune!

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