The “throwaway” Beatles song meant to “confuse everybody” tt

John Lennon had a habit of throwing people off his true intentions. That mostly came in undermining his own material, shrugging off interpretations, and simply insisting that he didn’t take a good amount of his work with The Beatles seriously. When listeners began looking for clues in his songs, as they did for ‘I Am the Walrus’, Lennon himself started to get in on the game by writing an even more confusing follow-up, ‘Glass Onion’.

Featuring a number of allusions to previous Beatles tunes, including ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, ‘Fixing a Hole’, ‘Lady Madonna’, and ‘The Fool on the Hill’, ‘Glass Onion’ was the meta song to end all meta songs within The Beatles catalogue. One notable line gave a contradictory analysis of ‘I Am the Walrus’, with Lennon insisting that the walrus was, in fact, Paul McCartney.

The Beatles song John Lennon wrote to confuse their fans - Far Out Magazine

“That’s me, just doing a throwaway song, à la ‘Walrus’, à la everything I’ve ever written,” Lennon told David Sheff in 1980. “I threw the line in – ‘the Walrus was Paul’ – just to confuse everybody a bit more. And I thought Walrus has now become me, meaning ‘I am the one.’ Only it didn’t mean that in this song. It could have been ‘the fox terrier is Paul,’ you know. I mean, it’s just a bit of poetry. It was just thrown in like that.”

The "throwaway" Beatles song meant to "confuse everybody"

Featuring a catchy melody and a driving rhythm, with a distinctive guitar riff that gives the song its energetic vibe, Lennon’s vocals are delivered with his trademark wit and irony, adding to the song’s playful tone. In fact, adding further to the joke, the title itself is a metaphorical reference to something that appears to be one thing on the surface but reveals deeper layers upon closer

Throwaway references aside, Lennon also insisted that the identity confusion was meant to be an oblique reference to his own planned departure from the band. “Well, that was a joke. The line was put in partly because I was feeling guilty because I was with Yoko and I was leaving Paul,” Lennon claimed. “I was trying – I don’t know. It’s a very perverse way of saying to Paul, you know, ‘Here, have this crumb, this illusion – this stroke, because I’m leaving.’”

Lennon’s lyrics became a fascination for fans, especially after The Beatles broke up in 1970. The band’s press officer, Derek Taylor, believed that Lennon was trying to say something meaningful at all times, even when the songs were as silly as ‘Glass Onion’.

“You’d be in Parkes sitting around your table wondering what was going on with the flowers and then you’d realise that they were actually tulips with their petals bent all the way back, so that you could see the obverse side of the petals and also the stamen,” Taylor explained. “This is what John meant about ‘seeing how the other half lives’. He meant seeing how the other half of the flower lives but also, because it was an expensive restaurant, how the other half of society lived.”

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