The Lyrics John Lennon Wrote Just To Mess With People

The Beatles' John Lennon showed genius in the songs he created, but that doesn't mean he sought greatness in everything he wrote. The unconventional musician liked to challenge people. In fact, the song "I Am the Walrus" intentionally used befuddling lyrics (posted at AZLyrics) to stress the point that music isn't always serious. Lennon was inspired by Lewis Carroll's 1871 poem "The Walrus and the Carpenter," coupled with his own loopy LSD trips, and the lyrics seemingly reflect that: "Sitting on a cornflake, waiting for the van to come." Wait, what? Should we take that literally?

And the chorus is equally confounding: "I am the eggman, They are the eggmen, I am the walrus. Goo goo g' joob." Huh? Who is the eggman? John, Paul, George, Ringo? Or is one of them the walrus? This is a question that has haunted fans for decades. Some lyrics reference other Fab Four songs: "Like Lucy in the sky." What is Lucy from their earlier song,  "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" (with lyrics at the Genius website) doing here?

"I Am the Walrus" often seems like a string of nonsensical phrases and images. And it is. Lennon wrote gibberish deliberately to mock people who over-analyzed the Beatles' music. The Beatles Bible reported that Lennon got a letter from Stephen Bayley, a student at his old primary school, Quarry Bank, which told him that a teacher had asked the class to analyze Beatles lyrics as an assignment. Lennon was amused and appalled.

Lennon used childhood influences

Lennon, currently working on "Walrus," found the idea of studying Beatle lyrics ludicrous and tried to make his new song more whimsical than intellectual. "'Walrus' is just saying a dream — the words don't mean a lot," said the The Beatles Bible, quoting Lennon. "People draw so many conclusions and it's ridiculous ... What does it really mean, 'I am the eggman?' It could have been the pudding basin for all I care. It's not that serious."

Some of the lyrics came from a childhood rhyme Lennon barely remembered, and he confirmed the exact words with an old friend, Pete Shotton. "Yellow matter custard, green slop pie, all mixed together with a dead dog's eye. Slap it on a butty, 10 foot thick. Then wash it all down with a cup of cold stick," became Walrus's "Yellow matter custard, dripping from a dead dog's eye."

The song continued along with a bunch of random thoughts — references to children's books, BBC radio bits, and even Shakespeare, according to the McCartney Times. "He thought of the most ludicrous images his imagination could conjure and wrote this song. For him, people over-analyzing the Beatles' songs were just absurd. Whereas, John wanted people to just take them as what they were — songs," said the publication. "Let the f****** work that one out," he told Shotton when the song was completed, according to the McCartney Times.

A controversial hit

The Beatles recorded the song throughout the month of September 1967, and it was released the following November. The musical composition imitated the mishmash of words, used every musical letter of the alphabet, and included orchestral accompaniment and a choir of 16 voices that chanted and whooped along with the Beatles. Despite the befuddling lyrics and general cacophony of the song, "I Am the Walrus" reached number one and two on the charts simultaneously –since it appeared both on the Magical Mystery Tour and was on the B-side of the single "Hello, Goodbye," according to the Paul McCartney Project

The BBC disliked the song's lines "Crabalocker fishwife, pornographic priestess" and "Boy, you've been a naughty girl you let your knickers down." It banned the song from broadcast because of those overt sexual references, reported The Daily Express

Despite that, the song was embraced by Beatles fans and is still discussed, with its meaning continually mulled over. Hmmm ... maybe a bit of controversy is good for hit-making after all.