Friday, January 23, 2009

I Am the Walrus

This famous Lennon composition, released as the B side to "Hello Goodbye" on November 24, 1967 in the UK, was one of Lennon's favorites because it was "so weird." It was released on NOvember 27, 1967 in the U.S. Many originally thought the song to be a profound anti-war statement, although Lennon confessed on several occasions that it was gibberish drawn from many different sources. It was also included on the Magical Mystery Tour LP, and a surrealistic performance of the song can be seen in the Magical Mystery Tour film. It was recorded September 5, 1967, with overdubs added later that month.

It is a confirmed Beatle fact that Lennon said that the fist line was inspired by an acid trip, with some of the other lyrics coming from a later acid trip. The idea of the "walrus" was taken from the poem in Alice in Wonderland, "The Walrus and the Carpenter." Original member of the Quarrymen Pete Shotton claims that he and John were reading a fan letter from their old school, the Quarry Bank, when they saw the line "Yellow matter custard . . . mixed together with a dead dog's eye." The words allegedly inspired more of the lyrics.

The song helped fuel speculation over the "Paul is dead" rumor because Lennon taped various Shakesperean lines from BBC productions of King Lear and spliced them into the many voices talking at the end of the song. Some of the phrases are" "Is he dead?"; "Bury my body"; and "O, untimely death."

McCartney plays bass and sings backing vocal; Harrison plays tambourine and sings backing vocal; Lennon sings lead and plays melletron; Star plays drums; session musicians add violins, cellos, and horns, while choir boys sing "Oompah, Oompah, stick it up your jumper."

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