Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
|"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"|
|Song by The Beatles
from the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
|Released||1 June 1967|
|Recorded||1 March 1967,
EMI Studios, London
|Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band track listing|
Lennon's son, Julian, inspired the song with a nursery school drawing he called "Lucy — in the sky with diamonds". Shortly after the song's release, people realized that the first letter of each of the title's nouns spelled LSD. Though Lennon denied and mocked the idea of a hidden LSD reference, the BBC banned the song.
Title and lyrics[change | change source]
Julian's drawing[change | change source]
According to the Beatles, Lennon's son, Julian Lennon showed his father a nursery school drawing he called Lucy - in the sky with diamonds, depicting his classmate, Lucy O'Donnell. Julian said, "I don't know why I called it that or why it stood out from all my other drawings, but I obviously had an affection for Lucy at that age. I used to show dad everything I'd built or painted at school, and this one sparked off the idea..."   Lucy Vodden née O'Donnell died of an immune system disease in 2009.
Lennon was surprised at the idea that the song title was a hidden reference to LSD.
|“||It was purely unconscious that it came out to be LSD. Until someone pointed it out, I never even thought of it. I mean, who would ever bother to look at initials of a title? It's not an acid song. The imagery was Alice in the boat.||”|
Reviews and legacy[change | change source]
Rolling Stone magazine described the song as "Lennon's lavish daydream" and music critic Richie Unterberger said "'Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds' was one of the best songs on the Beatles' famous Sgt. Pepper album, and one of the classic songs of psychedelia as a whole. There are few other songs that so successfully evoke a dream world, in both the sonic textures and words." In a review for the BBC, Chris Jones described the song as "nursery rhyme surrealism" that contributed to Sgt. Pepper's "revolutionary ... sonic carpet that enveloped the ears and sent the listener spinning into other realms."
In later interviews, Lennon expressed disappointment with the Beatles' arrangement of the recording, complaining that inadequate time was taken to fully develop his initial idea for the song. He also said that he felt he didn't think that he sang it very well. "I was so nervous I couldn't sing," he told the journalist Ray Connolly, "but I like the lyrics."
A 3.2 million year-old, 40% complete fossil skeleton of an Australopithecus afarensis specimen discovered in 1974 was named "Lucy" because the Beatles song was being played loudly and repeatedly on a tape recorder in the camp.
Personnel[change | change source]
- John Lennon – double-tracked vocal, lead guitar
- Paul McCartney – harmony vocal, Lowrey organ, bass
- George Harrison – harmony vocal, lead guitar, acoustic guitar, tambura
- Ringo Starr – drums, maracas
- Personnel per Ian MacDonald
Notes[change | change source]
- Unterberger, Richie (2009). "Review of 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds'". AllMusic. http://www.allmusic.com/song/t23440. Retrieved 19 November 2009.
- Miles 1997, pp. 312.
- allmusic.com 2010.
- Sheff 2000, p. 182.
- The Guardian 2009.
- Kral 2009.
- BBC Radio 2, Sounds of the 60s, 2 February 2008
- 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' dies - CNN.com
- Rolling Stone 2003.
- Unterberger 2009.
- Jones 2007.
- Johanson & Edey 1981, p. 22.
- Aguilar, David. "This Valentine's Day, Give The Woman Who Has Everything The Galaxy's Largest Diamond", Retrieved on 2010-04-29.
- MacDonald 2005, p. 240.
Other websites[change | change source]
- "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds". Allmusic. January 2010. http://www.allmusic.com/song/t23440.
- The Beatles - Complete Scores. Milwaukee: Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation. 1993.
- "Beatles song 'inspiration' dies". BBC News. 28 September 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/8278785.stm.
- "The Beatles' Lucy in the Sky dies, aged 46". The Guardian (London). 28 September 2009. http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/sep/28/beatles-lucy-in-sky-dies. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
- The Beatles (2000). The Beatles Anthology. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.
- Brooks, Richard (7 June 2009). "Julian Lennon comforts ailing Lucy in the sky". The Times (London). http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/article6446014.ece.
- Hoyle, Ben (28 September 2009). "Real-life 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' dies at 46". The Times (London). http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/beatles/article6852494.ece.
- Johanson, Donald Carl; Edey, Maitland (1981). Lucy, the Beginnings of Humankind. St Albans: Granada.
- Jones, Chris (2007). "Review of The Beatles Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". BBC News. BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/reviews/5dcz. Retrieved 19 November 2009.
- Shriver, Jerry (23 November 2009). "Julian Lennon, Decade Later, Back in Music Biz With 'Lucy'". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/life/music/news/2009-11-23-julian-lennon_N.htm. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
- Kral, Georgia (9 June 2009). "Julian Lennon Aids Real-Life 'Lucy'". Spinner. Archived from the original on 30 June 2012. http://archive.is/psOr.
- Kung, Michelle (28 September 2009). "Lucy Vodden, of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" Song Fame, Dies". Wall Street Journal. http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2009/09/28/lucy-vodden-of-beatles-song-fame-dies/.
- Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York: Harmony Books.
- "Lucy In The Sky with Diamonds Songfacts". http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=120.
- MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (Second Revised ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand).
- Sheff, David (2000). All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. New York: St. Martin's Press.
- Sherwin, Adam (1 June 2007). "Housewife Lucy, formerly in the sky with diamonds". The Australian. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21831399-2703,00.html.
- "Sir Paul Reveals Beatles' Drug Use". BBC News. 2 June 2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/3769511.stm.
- Unterberger, Richie (2009). "Review of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"". Allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/song/t23440. Retrieved 19 November 2009.