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I Am the Walrus is a 1967 Beatles song credited to Lennon/McCartney that was released on the B-side track of the Hello, Goodbye single release. This fact angered Lennon as "[he] felt that it was better." It is widely regarded as The Beatles' most "outragous and psychedelic" song ever.

Lyrics[edit | edit source]

Bolded lyrics are from a sample from the Shakespearian play "King Lear."


[Verse 1]

I am he as you are he as you are me

And we are all together

See how they run like pigs from a gun

See how they fly


[Refrain]

I'm crying


[Verse 2]

Sitting on a corn flake

Waiting for the van to come

Corporation T-shirt, stupid bloody Tuesday

Man you've been a naughty boy

You let your face grow long


[Chorus]

I am the egg man

They are the egg men

I am the walrus

Goo goo g'joob


[Verse 3]

Mister City policeman sitting

Pretty little policemen in a row

See how they fly like Lucy in the sky, see how they run


[Refrain]

I'm crying, I'm crying

I'm crying, I'm crying


[Verse 4]

Yellow matter custard

Dripping from a dead dog's eye

Crabalocker fishwife, pornographic priestess

Boy, you've been a naughty girl, you let your knickers down


[Chorus]

I am the egg man

They are the egg men

I am the walrus

Goo goo g'joob


[Bridge]

Sitting in an English garden

Waiting for the sun

If the sun don't come you get a tan

From standing in the English rain


[Chorus]

I am the egg man (now good sir)

They are the egg men (a poor man)

I am the walrus (made tame to fortune's blows)

Goo goo g'joob, goo goo goo g'joob (good pity)


[Verse 5]

Expert, texpert choking smokers

Don't you think the joker laughs at you (ho ho ho, hee hee hee, hah hah hah)

See how they smile like pigs in a sty, see how they snide


[Refrain]

I'm crying


[Verse 6]

Semolina Pilchard

Climbing up the Eiffel tower

Elementary penguin singing Hare Krishna

Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allen Poe


[Chorus]

I am the egg man

They are the egg men

I am the walrus

Goo goo g'joob, goo goo goo g'joob

Goo goo g'joob, goo goo goo g'joob, goo


[Bridge]

Joob, joob, jooba

Jooba, jooba, jooba

Joob, jooba

Joob, jooba


[Verse 7]

Umpa, umpa, stick it up your jumper (jooba, jooba)

Umpa, umpa, stick it up your jumper

Everybody's got one (umpa, umpa)

Everybody's got one (stick it up your jumper)

Everybody's got one (umpa, umpa)

Everybody's got one (stick it up your jumper)

Everybody's got one (umpa, umpa)

Everybody's got one (stick it up your jumper)

Everybody's got one (umpa, umpa)

Everybody's got one (stick it up your jumper)

Everybody's got one (umpa, umpa)

Everybody's got one (stick it up your jumper)

Everybody's got one (umpa, umpa)


[Outro]

Slave

Thou hast slain me

Villain, take my purse

If I ever

Bury my body

The letters which though find'st about me

To Edmund Earl of Gloucester

Seek him out upon the British Party

O untimely death

I know thee well

A serviceable villain, as duteous to the vices of thy mistress

As badness would desire

What, is is he dead?

Sit you down, Father, rest you

Inspiration and Song Structure[edit | edit source]

The song was originally written as three independent songs by Lennon. One was inspired by the up and down patterns of a police siren (the "mister city p'licemen" portion). Another was an odd line about cornflakes ("sitting on a cornflake/waiting for the van to come"). The third was a tune about sitting in his garden ("sitting in an English garden/waiting for the sun). One line of the song was taken from a nursery rhyme. Lennon had asked his friend, Peter Shotton, to remind him of the lyrics to. The rhyme went:

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 cold cup of sick

(the rhyme inspired the lyric "Yellow matter custard, dripping from a dead dog's eye")

"I Am the Walrus" was also inspired by the Lewis Carroll poem, "The Walrus and The Carpenter." Lennon was later dismayed as he found out that the Walrus in the poem is in fact the villain, who represented capitalism.

The song was also written in response to a letter he received about how a teacher had begun to analyse songs of the Beatles. The song was intentionally written to deceive those trying to find a meaning within the song.

The intro lyric "I am he/as you are he/as you are me/and we are all together" is a boiled down version of Indian philosophy.

The line "elementary penguin singing Hare Krishna" is a political statement aimed at blind worship of religion. The "penguins" were praying without asking why. This is an example of Lennon incorporating obscure lyrics into his songs, which was inspired by Bob Dylan.

The lyric "semolina pilchard climbing up the Eiffel Tower" which occurs just before the above is a dig at DS Norman Pilcher of the Drug Squad, who was notorious for cracking down on pop/rock stars and for using often dubious methods in doing so.

This song is rumoured to be inspired by LSD. This may or may not be true, as it is widely known The Beatles experimented with the then legal "wonder drug."

"I Am the Walrus" is famous for its unique chord structure, which uses each letter in the musical alphabet in succession (A-B-C-D-E-F-G). The bridge of this song (sitting in an English garden ...) basically is still following this main pattern, but starting on a B chord, rather than an A chord.

After the chorus of, "I am the eggman (woo) they are the eggmen (woo) I am the Walrus", Lennon exclaims a series of nonsense words, spelled "goo goo g'joob" (as in the lyrics in the album state).

Towards the end of the song, a choir sings the lines "oompah oompah stick it up your jumper!" and "got one got one everybody's got one!" The latter of the two lines has often been mistaken as "smoke pot smoke pot everybody smoke pot."[citation needed]These lines also came from a nursery rhyme.

The song has virtually no meaning. As said above, the lines have partial meanings, and references to many things, a favourite of Lennon's.

Personnel[edit | edit source]

  • John Lennon - Lead Vocals, Hohner Pianet Electric Piano
  • Paul McCartney - Bass Guitar (Rickenbacker 4001S), Tambourine
  • George Harrison - Lead Guitar (Fender Stratocaster)
  • Ringo Starr - Drums
  • The Mike Sammes Singers-Backing Vocals
  • Sidney Sax, Jack Rothstein, Ralph Elman, Andrew McGee, Jack Greene, Louis Stevens, John Jezzard, Jack Richards-Violins
  • Lionel Ross, Eldon Fox, Bram Martin, Terry Weil-Cellos
  • Gordon Lewin-Clarinet
  • Neil Sanders, Tony Tunstall, Morris Miller-Horns

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The song makes a reference to "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" in the line "See how they fly like Lucy in the Sky."
  • This song is referenced in "Glass Onion" by saying "the walrus was Paul."
  • This song was covered in the Beatles movie-musical Across the Universe by Bono who was playing a man called Dr. Roberts (referencing the song "Doctor Robert") in the film.
  • A dramatization of Shakespeare's King Lear (Act IV, Scene 6) can be heard throughout the song.  As it happens, Lear IV.6. is the only scene in all of Shakespeare (out of more than a thousand) that features both English homonyms for "Beatle" (beetle and beadle).
  • A episode of the Nickelodeon television show Spongebob Squarepants the original title of the episode was named "I am the starfish" because Patrick writes a song that makes no sense much like what many people think about "I am the walrus".
  • Who actually is the walrus remains a total mystery. Although John is the one singing the "I Am The Walrus" lines, in "Glass Onion" he says, "I told you 'bout the walrus and me, man * Yeah, we're about as close as can be man * Well here's another clue for you all * The walrus was Paul." Also, in Lennon's solo song "God", he tells us, "I was the walrus, but now I'm John." Also, on the back of the Magical Mystery Tour album, underneath the words "I Am The Walrus", the words: "'No you're not,' said Little Nicola." — Nicola is a character in the Magical Mystery Tour film.
  • The extra instrumental intermission that leads to "Yellow Matter Custard" only exists in mono because it's only on the US single.
  • The "goo goo ga joob" lyric is typical of nonsense lyrics included in mediaeval folk songs. Simon & Garfunkel referred to this lyric in the song "Mrs. Robinson".

References[edit | edit source]

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