Fab Four Friday: Episode Five

 

It’s time for another end-of-the-work-week tour through Beatles history with Chiefs resident Fab Four historian, pitching coach Greg Booker.

 

This week, we delve into the 1967 psychedelic classic Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

 

Greg Booker:  Julian, John’s son, had a crush on Lucy in elementary school.  Julian Lennon met this girl named Lucy O’Donnell that was in his class.  He took a fancy to her and drew a picture.  He took it home to John and said, “Dad, this is Lucy in the sky with diamonds.”  John said, “Wow, what a great title.”

Jason Benetti:  They didn’t have to go far for inspiration, did they?

Booker:  I don’t think the state of mind they were in, they needed to go very far.  They were already out there.

 

For decades, Julian and John Lennon didn’t make public who the song was about.

 

 

Lucy Vodden nee O’Donnell

 

It’s no surprise that a song by The Beatles would be shrouded in secrecy.  Meanings behind their tunes are debated deep into the night still around the world.

 

 

Time to listen in along with Book to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.  Join us:

 

 

Booker:  George plays the–it’s an Indian instrument–tambura.  That’s the sound you hear in the background.  George loved Indian stuff.  To be able to incorporate that stuff…

Benetti:  Doesn’t sound like a love song.

Booker:  It leads you to thinking the other way.  See how it picks up all of a sudden?  Good harmony there.  They’re so underrated in their harmony.

Benetti:  Think they’re better than The Beach Boys?

Booker:  I don’t know.  They’re super too.  I guess I could cop out by saying they’re totally different.  How do they come up with these words?  Newspaper taxis up here on the shore.  For him to take a drawing from his son, how do you come up with that?

Benetti: He bases it off of Lucy, but this has nothing to do with a girl.  It’s got her name and it’s got diamonds.

Booker:  There’s nothing in there about his son and his school girlfriend or school.  He never touches on anything that would lead you to believe that it was a girl named Lucy his kid liked.

Benetti:  Contrast Taxman.  It’s all about the tax code.

Booker:  This keeps you wondering.  Keeps you guessing.

Benetti:  You think they wanted that?

Booker:  I think more times than not.  Especially late ’60s.  I mean the White Album.  Who can make sense of the White Album?

Booker:  Helter Skelter was a ride in England, I guess.  Get to the bottom, go back to the top.  But, other than that part of the song, you wouldn’t know what in the world it was.

 

 

If you have any Fab Four Friday thoughts, please email in to jasonbenetti@syracusehciefs.com.

1 Comment

During an interview with John Lennon in 1969 conducted during his “Bed-In” in a Montreal hotel room at the Queen Elizabeth hotel, one of the questions asked was about Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds. To paraphrase Lennon’s reply, “Little Julian came home from school one afternoon and showed me a picture he’d painted of one of his school mates and said, ‘This is my friend Lucy (Lucy O’Donnell) in the sky with diamonds’ and I heard his describe the picture and his friend, it struck me as being a great name for a song.” Lennon never once said anything about Julian having a crush, and see as he was in preschool and all of 3 at the time, the rumor about a crush might be a bit of historic embellishment.

No matter which story we listen or adhere to, it makes for a great anecdote about one of the most gifted musicians and song-writers of our time.

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