The Beatles are often considered the greatest rock band featuring Ringo Starr, however many of their songs are often misunderstood. Here are the true meanings of some of their biggest hits.
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (1967)
Most people believe this song is about the Beatles’ experimentations with LSD, but that’s simply not true. The first line of the song tells you all you need to know.
♫ Picture yourself in a boat on a river ♫
This song is all about picturing yourself in a boat on a river. Before 1967, no band or song would dare touch the subject of picturing yourself on a boat on a river. A boat on a lake, maybe. A raft on a river, possibly. Never a boat on a river. It was taboo. The Beatles knew this, but also knew they were the biggest band in the world and could get away with anything. After the song was released, the band’s publicists made up the LSD story to cover up the awful truth of a band actually writing a song about people picturing themselves in a boat on a river, something still frowned upon in 2017.
Even most superfans are unaware of the Beatles’ favorite hobby: punching birds in the face. After practicing, or recording a song, or getting the same haircuts, George, Paul, John, and Ringo loved to go outside, find a gull or pigeon, and clock it right on the beak. Mostly this went unnoticed, until 1967 when the band visited England’s largest aviary and punched every bird in the place, killing hundreds. This caused an uproar from bird activists and the media. To make amends the Beatles’ wrote “Blackbird” and donated some of the proceeds to local bird hospitals. Even fifty years later, Paul and Ringo still get together every so often to beat up a sparrow.
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (1968)
After getting several harsh criticisms from music reviewers that their songs “made too much sense and used too many real words,” the Beatles responded with “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.” The purpose of the song was to make no sense whatsoever. During a rare interview in 1970, Lennon was asked what the titular phrase meant. “It doesn’t mean anything,” said John. “It’s just some words I heard Yoko scream at the sun once, so we made a song about it. I’d say 50% of our songs come from things we heard Yoko scream at the sun. The other 50% is from stuff she screamed at the moon. The Beatles owe everything to Yoko. She’s really kept this band together.”
Yellow Submarine (1969)
This song is actually about a blue submarine.
Octopus’s Garden (1969)
Obviously this song isn’t about an octopus’s garden. That’s insane. No songs are about an octopus’s garden. One of the few tunes written by Ringo, this song details the drummer’s frustration with the rest of the band.
♫ We would be so happy you and me ♫
♫ No one there to tell us what to do ♫
Other band members constantly tried to tell Ringo what to do. “Play better.” “Stop not playing better.” “Instead of being in the band, you should just be the person that brings us tea.” “Come punch birds with us!” The list of demands goes on and on, but at least in this song Ringo could finally imagine a place where he’d be happy and nobody would tell him what to do. Oh, and the octopus represents Ringo’s dad, who was half octopus.
Come Together (1969)
The Beatles felt they were more than a band. They were a movement. “Come Together” is all about that, inspiring people to come together for a cause. What cause? Just look at the lyrics.
♫ He say one and one and one is three ♫
The cause is obviously addition. 1+1+1=3. The Beatles wanted the world to unite over everyone’s love for adding numbers, specifically very small numbers. “Addition Not Division” was the original title for this song, but it was changed at the last minute because it was a horrible title.
This is about an octopus’s garden.