Lucy Veddon: The Lucy of "Lucy in The Sky With Diamonds"

Lucy Veddon: The Lucy of "Lucy in The Sky With Diamonds"

September marks the publication of (mostly) rave reviews about the newly-remastered Beatles CD box-sets. The previous CD releases are now more than twenty years old, and apparently suffer badly by comparison. The new boxed cd set includes both the monophone and stereo versions of the recordings. (In the interest of full disclosure, I haven't yet listened to any of the remastered tracks. I also note that I suspect I'll always prefer my ancient vinyl versions.) Sadly, September also marks the premature death of Lucy, of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" fame, at 46.

John Lennon, who wrote "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," noted in several interviews that

it was inspired by a drawing his son Julian, then four years old, brought home from school. The drawing showed a picture of Lucy in the sky, with diamonds. The surreal descriptions and metaphors in the lyrics have encouraged many to think the song was entirely about references to drug use. The initial letters of the words in the title convinced many that the song was "really" about LSD.

But Lucy Veddon, Julian Lennon's schoolmate for a while in elementary school, was apparently the Lucy in song title. She died this week, after a long illness. She was afflicted with lupus. Before she died, Julian Lennon had re-connected with her, and during her illness sent her text messages and gifts for her garden (the two shared a common interest in gardening). There are other "Lucys" who have asserted that they were the Lucy to inspire Julian Lennon's drawing, and a number of other influences on John Lennon's lyrics, but given that Julian Lennon actually contacted Lucy Veddon while she was alive, she seems to be the authentic Lucy. Other influences are of course Lewis Caroll, and, quite likely, LSD or other pharmaceutical additives, in terms of the imagery. But Lennon was quite specific, despite the BBC temporarily banning the song from the network's airwaves shortly after release, that his inspiration for the title and the basic concept were derived from his son Julian's drawing. I've linked to the drawing above, by the way.

I note in passing that William Shatner has what is almost certainly the most horrendous cover—ever—of a rather interesting song. In case you've hitherto been spared Shatner's "spoken word" version (it's very much typical Shatner self-parody). I link to it here: