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Reference Library: I Am The Walrus

From: (Kent Fletcher, HNL ME Group, 808-625-3210)
Subject: Genesis of "I Am the Walrus"
Date: 29 Dec 94 13:02:26 -1000

This excerpt is from Pete Shotton's excellent book 'The Beatles, Lennon And Me' (originally published as "John Lennon In My Life", 1983, Stein and Day Publishers... not to be confused with "In My Life - John Lennon Remembered" by Kevin Howlett and Mark Lewisohn).

(If you're not familiar, Pete Shotton was Lennon's closest boyhood pal, an original member of the Quarrymen (until John broke the washboard over Pete's head!), and a close friend and confidant of John's to the very end.)

From page 217:

"One afternoon, while taking "lucky dips" into the day's sack of fan mail, John, much to both our amusement, chanced to pull out a letter from a student at Quarry Bank. Following the usual expressions of adoration, this lad revealed that his literature master was playing Beatles songs in class; after the boys all took their turns analyzing the lyrics, the teacher would weigh in with his own interpretation of what the Beatles were really talking about. (This, of course, was the same institution of learning whose headmaster had summed up young Lennon's prospects with the words: "This boy is bound to fail.")

"John and I howled in laughter over the absurdity of it all. "Pete," he said, "what's that 'Dead Dog's Eye' song we used to sing when we were at Quarry Bank?" I thought for a moment and it all came back to me:

Yellow matter custard, green slop pie,
All mixed together with a dead dog's eye,
Slap it on a butty, ten foot thick,
Then wash it all down with a cup of cold sick.

"That's it!" said John. "Fantastic!" He found a pen commenved scribbling: "Yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dog's eye...." Such was the genisis of "I Am the Walrus" (The Walrus itself was to materialize alter, almost literally stepping out of a page in Lewis Carroll's 'Through the Looking Glass')

Inspired by the picture of that Quarry Bank literature master pontificating about the symbolism of Lennon-McCartney, John threw in the most ludicrous images his imagination could conjure. He thought of "semolina" (an insipid pudding we'd been forced to eat as kids) and "pilchard" (a sardine we often fed to our cats). Semolina pilchard climbing up the Eiffel Tower....," John intoned, writing it down with considerable relish.

He turned to me, smiling. "let the f*ckers work THAT one out, Pete."


From: (Lartin)
Subject: Re: Chanting at end of The Walrus
Date: 17 Jul 1995 20:23:42 -0400

Here's the Shakespeare that occurs at the end of "I Am The Walrus."

King Lear Act Four, Scene 6, lines 249-259:

Oswald: Slave, thou hast slain me. Villain, take my purse.
If ever thou wilt thrive, bury my body
And give the letters which you find'st about me
To Edmund, Earl of Gloucester. Seek him out
Upon the English party. O, untimely death!
Death! [He dies]

Edgar: I know thee well: a serviceable villain, As duteous to the vices of thy mistress As badness would desire.

Gloucester: What, is he dead?

Edgar: Sit you down, father. Rest you. [Gloucester sits.]


From: (Dave Haber)
Subject: I Am The Walrus - An Interpretation
Date: 7 May 1995 06:18:59 GMT

[Someone recently asked what the lyrics to I Am The Walrus meant. Although John himself said they mean whatever you want them to mean, I'll give it a shot...]

I Am The Walrus - An Interpretation

I am he as you are he We are all spirits of the same God as you are me and we are all together therefore we are all the same See how they run like pigs from a gun Man on earth today for the most part see how they fly denys this simple beautiful truth I'm crying That they do is a sad thing

Sitting on a cornflake, Cookie-cutter conformist capitalists waiting for the van to come that take carpools to work Corporation t-shirt, stupidy all dressed the same, in their boring bloody tuesday day-to-day jobs man you been a naughty boy and criticise people like John Lennon you let your face grow long who don't look like they do I am the eggman I am a spirit of God They are egmmen And so are you I am the Walrus I am God (and therefore so are you) Goo goo ga joob Isn't that Wonderful?

Mr. City policeman The policemen (the establishment) sitting pretty little policemen look pretty and officious in in a row their uniforms see how they fly But when it comes down to doing the like lucy in the sky right thing and helping people see how they run They just sell out I'm crying, I'm crying That they do is a sad thing I'm crying, I'm crying Very sad

Yellow matter custard Man's inhumanity to man gets worse dripping from a dead dog's eye and more ludicrous and disgusting Crabalocker fishwife every day pornagraphic priestess And those that are not corrupt boy, you been a naughty girl monetarily are corrupt morally you let your knickers down I am the eggman I am a spirit of God They are egmmen And so are you I am the Walrus I am God (and therefore so are you) Goo goo ga joob Isn't that Wonderful?

Sitting in an English garden If you just relax and get into a waiting for the sun calm state you can see the If the sun don't come simple beauty of life you get a tan from standing And the world goes on if you do in the English rain or not I am the eggman I am a spirit of God They are egmmen And so are you I am the Walrus I am God (and therefore so are you) Goo goo ga joob Isn't that Wonderful?

Expert texpert choking smokers The morally corrupt think they're don't you think the joker cheating fate laughs at you And don't realise that they're ho ho ho going to have to pay in the end hee hee hee ha ha ha See how they smile But they just go innocently on like pigs in a sty not caring about the world see how they snied I'm crying That they do is a sad thing

Semolina pilchards Some people try to reach God in climbing up the Eiffel Tower the strangest ways Elementary penguin But even the lowly animals know singing hare krishna know how to be one with God man you should have seen them And even if you're a good person kicking Edgar Allen Poe you shouldn't expect praise I am the eggman I am a spirit of God They are egmmen And so are you I am the Walrus I am God (and therefore so are you) Goo goo ga joob Isn't that Wonderful?

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