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The Beatles: The Meaning behind lyrics

The Beatles will forever remain one of the greatest and most prevalent bands in the history of music. They even attained the near impossibility of becoming legends in their own time. The social-hysteria phenomenon of Beatlemania is still discussed, analyzed and taught at schools. My objective in making all these obvious points about the popularity of the Beatles is that, as a result of this all-consuming prevalence, every album and song they created has been dissected to the umpteenth degree. Even today people are still analyzing every avenue and facet of their art, searching for the “true” meaning; and this is by no means something new. Throughout the Beatles’ history the meaning of their music has been a hotly debated issue. Not that it bothered the Beatles in the least, they rather enjoyed “putting on” the public and press. Case in point during one press junket, a reporter asked what the Beatles thought about the city of Detroit planning to “stamp out the Beatles” and they quite cheekily responded, “We’ve got a campaign of our own to stamp out Detroit.” One of the most infamous and long running interpretations has been the “Paul is Dead” hoax. This was full blown detection from album cover and beyond. To start the cover of ‘Abbey Road’ shows the Beatles walking across the street, the interpretation was that John in all white was the priest, Ringo in a black suit was mourner/pallbearer, Paul smoking with no shoes on was dead, and George in jeans was the gravedigger. Further the car parked on the street behind them was always claimed to read “Paul is dead.” A claim not made by the Beatles, nor is it actually true. Fans dissected and found what they considered hidden messages in “Blackbird,” “Revolution 9,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” and “I’m so tired,” just to name a few. Many of the previously mentioned were discovered by backwards listening or what is known as “back masking”. The death of Paul was probably the biggest misinterpreted idea. “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was another one where people proclaimed that it was actually – LSD. The reality is that the song was inspired by a drawing John’s son Julian had done for him. Very few people have thought anything of the song “Help” but later John, stated in interviews that the lyrical content and emotion of the song was actually conducive to how he felt at the time. If you were to interpret the lyrics of “Hey Jude” for example, you might not discern the actual meaning or intent. The reality: Paul wrote the song for John’s son, Julian, who was having a hard time with his parent’s divorce. The truth and meaning behind lyrics can only be truly known by the Beatles themselves. Their musical prevalence and linguistic aptitude encourages us to search and analyze their creations. But try as we might, our analysis can only go so far. Musical interpretations are entirely subjective. Except for the actual artist, then the resulting creation is a product of their objective intent.