Sometimes the Beatles didn't care about the radar ("Why Don't We Do It In The Road") and other times the fan base reads in dirty meanings that the band apparently never intended (the supposed sexual innuendo in "Please Please Me"). But on occasion the group did take notice of the radar and surreptitiously slipped things past it. Take note that not every lyrical interpretation of a song on this page has been officially confirmed as being correct; in fact, most of their songs can be interpreted in different ways (even the band members never fully agreed on what some of their songs are about), so very few of them have singular, absolute meanings.
"Penny Lane" contains sexual slang ('finger pie' = fingering) a lot of people missed, and "Drive My Car" is veritable wall-to-wall Double Entendre.
Penny Lane has other questionable lines too. "Penny Lane there is a barber showing photographs/of every head he's had the pleasure to know"...
There is such a thing as a finger pie. It's — yes — a tart. A treacle tart. It's a sort of cream pie that is stirred with the fingers while it's baking.
If you listen at about 2:55 of "Hey Jude," you hear a sound from John Lennon while Paul McCartney keeps singing. You can barely hear it, but if you listen really closely, you can hear him say "Got the wrong CHORD." He says "chord" much louder than the other words. And about two or three counts later, you can hear Paul say "Fucking hell." To repeat: you can clearly hear Paul say "Fucking hell" during the only version of The Beatles' most popular single. According to Geoff Emerick's book, Here There & Everywhere, John said, "Paul hit a clunker on the piano and said a naughty word." John was the one who insisted they keep the expletive in but bury it in the background; he got a kick out of the idea that nobody else would hear it, but "we'll know it's there." Hearing the F-word uncensored in a single in 2010 is rare. The Beatles pulled this off in 1968.
Just as the Kingsmen pulled it off a few years before - the drummer making a mistake and shouting "FUCK!" is clearly audible in "Louie Louie."
In the movie A Hard Day's Night, John gets asked what is his favourite thing. He then writes it down (although we don't see what he writes, Word of God states that he writes "tits").
Earlier in the film, John can be seen putting a Coca-Cola bottle to each of his nostrils and sniffing. Get it?
At numerous times during "She Loves You," the boys are actually singing, "She'd love to." Listen closely to the middle of the choruses: "She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah./She'd love to, yeah, yeah, yeah."
(..."and you know that can't be bad.") *nudge* *nudge* *wink* *wink*
This in-joke is revisited at the end of "All You Need is Love," where the lyric is clearly "She loves you, yeah yeah yeah!/She'd love to, yeah yeah yeah!"
The lyrics to "Please Please Me" essentially mean "I went down on you, so why won't you go down on me?" (They deny this, though.)
As discussed on the Headscratchers page, the song is blatantly sexual yet there is absolutely nothing in the lyrics that narrows it down to the subject of oral sex.
Many songs are said to be about drugs: "Got To Get You Into My Life", "Happiness is a Warm Gun" ("I need a fix..."). McCartney has claimed that, after "I Want To Hold Your Hand," anything that looked like a drug reference probably was. The exception is, ironically enough, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", which is a very long, but (except for the double entendre in "grows so incredibly high") totally non-drug-related, story.
"Dr. Robert" was about a real life acquaintance who was a doctor in both senses of the word at once.
Many songs about the mistreatment of women: "Run for Your Life" ("I'd rather see you dead, little girl, than to see you with another man") and "Norwegian Wood" (Infidelity and setting someone's furniture on fire). Then there's the "I used to be cruel to my woman, I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved" in "Getting Better," although at least this time it's depicted as a bad thing: "Man, I was mean / But I'm changing my scene / And I'm doing the best that I can..."
The word, "Tit" sung as a refrain of "Girl".
The same song also has a clear reference to the inhalation of marijuana in the chorus.
"Day Tripper". You can't really blame Time magazine for thinking it was about a prostitute:
"She's a big teaser She took me half the way there"
"Tried to please her But she only played one night stands".
Allegedly, the original written lyric was the unusable "She's a prick teaser!"
Then you've got "Boy, you've been a naughty girl, you let your knickers down" from "I Am the Walrus".
And the line just before it, "pornographic priestess".
Also, Oompah, oompah, stick it up your jumper! and Everybody's got one! chanted simultaneously at the end of the song.
By the time Paul came up with "Why Don't We Do It In The Road?" the radar had apparently given up.
Did anyone else think that "Any Time At All" was about booty calls?
Many people caught that. Evangelical Christians were scandalized. They caught most of the other references on this page, too, and wrote outraged screeds about them.
"But when you talk about destruction, don't you know you can count me out... In..." from Revolution #1. When asked about this in the film "Imagine" John said the addition of "in" was him keeping his options open in case he ever changed his mind. Yet when the electric version came out as a single John had apparently settled on "out" because the tacked-on "in" is absent in that particular recording.
What about Joan, who spent "late nights all alone with a test tube"?
Joan was quizzical.
"All Together Now." Quite possibly the only children's song that talks about sex... but not explicitly.
One, two, three, four Can I have a little more? Five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, I love you. A, B, C, D Can I bring my friend to tea? E, F, G, H, I, J, I love you. .... Black, white, green, red Can I take my friend to bed? Pink, brown, yellow, orange and blue, I love you.
And for the first time that she really done me Ooh she done me She done me good I guess nobody ever really done me Oh she done me She done me good
"Dig a Pony" has "You can penetrate any place you go" - and that's just for starters...
"Come Together". First there's the chorus, and a lot of the lines in the verses sound like ST Ds.
YMMV, though - most of those references can also be attributed to the "Paul is Dead" rumor.
In "Good Day Sunshine," when Paul sings "she feels good", in the background you can faintly hear John mutter something that sounds like "she fucking does" or "she feels nice."
More cocks. A penis is a warm gun, indeed.
Except that the 'warm gun' was meant to be Yoko's clitoris. Not that it makes it better, but just to clarify...
That arguably makes it worse...
Also, from "Good Morning Good Morning:"
Watching the skirt you start to flirt, now you're in gear.
"I've Got A Feeling" has the questionable line "Everybody had a wet dream."
An alternate take adds "Everybody had a hard on." Incidentally, at least one take was recorded without the "wet dream" reference, assuming the Beatles were aware of the potential censorship.
Early US compilation Jolly What! features the line "It is with a great deal of pride and pleasure that this copulation has been presented". There's no doubt Lennon would have found this amusing had anyone asked him about it.