Radar: The Beatles
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.
Please Please Me
Please Please Me
- 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.
- "I Saw Her Standing There"
- Many question the opening lines:
"Well she was just seventeen
You know what I mean"
- First of all, in the UK, the legal age is 16, so it's not really about a jailbait.
- It could be playing along the lines of Nature Adores a Virgin, which she probably is because she's so young
- Many question the opening lines:
- "A Hard Day's Night":
- But when I get home to you
I find the things that you do
Will make me feel all right
So why on earth should I moan?
'Cause when I get you alone,
You know I feel okay
- Judging by the circumstances, they'll be much more moaning when you're alone with her.
You know, I work all day,
To get your money to buy your things
And it's worth it just to hear you say
"[You're] gonna give [me] everything
- 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.
- "You Can't Do That" features a man warning his lover that they'll be consequences if he catches her talking to her male friend again, because he thinks what she's doing is sinful.
- "When I Get Home":
- "When I get home tonight
I'm gonna hold her tight
I'm gonna love her 'til the cows come home"
- "The Night Before"
- "Last night is the night I will remember you by
When I think of the things we did,
It makes me wanna cry"
- "It's Only Love"
- "I get high When I see you go by," anyone?
- "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!"
- "Drive My Car" can be seen as an implication of a woman using a euphemism to beg for sex
- The word, "Tit" sung as a refrain of "Girl".
- On edited versions of the song by YouTube users where the vocals are the only things heard, a voice can be heard incorrectly preparing itself to do the "tit" backing vocals again, but it would've been hard to hear in the full version because the instrumental would've overpowered it. It actually was about to say "tit"
- The same song also has a clear reference to the inhalation of marijuana in the chorus.
- "Norwegian Wood":
- Paul apparently joked that if a woman invites a man into their house without the intention of a one night stand, the man should burn her house to the ground when she left for work
- The phrase "Norwegian wood" doesn't sound like it makes sense in the song, however, you could convince yourself that the phrase is "knowing she would", which fits into the tone and topic
- "Run For Your Life" is about a jealous man who admits that he would kill his lover if she were caught cheating. Basically, it's the plot of "You Can't Do That."
- "Dr. Robert" was about a real life acquaintance who was a doctor in both senses of the word at once.
- 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."
- "Got To Get You Into My Life" could be interpreted as a drug addict's inner monologue.
- Paul's outright admitted that it's a love song to marijuana.
- "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is not this. Julian actually drew a classmate named Lucy, flying, with diamonds.
- A lot of people still refuse to believe this. But considering all the stuff the Beatles (and John in particular) have admitted, it's unlikely they would have bothered to lie about it all these years.
- "I get high with a little help from my friends"
- "Lovely Rita"
Took her home and nearly made it
Sitting on a sofa with a sister or two
- Also, from "Good Morning Good Morning:"
Watching the skirt you start to flirt, now you're in gear.
- "Being The Benefit Of Mr Kite!" mentions the Henry the Horse circus act. "Henry" and "horse" are slang words for heroine, although since the lyrics were taken almost verbatim from a circus poster and John wouldn't start taking heroin until the following year, it's unlikely this was deliberate.
- "Penny Lane" contains sexual slang ('finger pie' = fingering) a lot of people missed.
- "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.
- Or more likely the Scouse slang for a sausage roll – sausage meat rolled in pastry. (see also flies' cemetery for an Eccles cake, which is currants in pastry).
- 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."
- 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.
- or "smoke pot, smoke pot, everybody smoke pot"
- 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.
- "Happiness Is A Warm Gun", which Lennon used as a reference to Yoko's clitoris.
- By the time Paul came up with "Why Don't We Do It In The Road?" the radar had apparently given up.
- "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.
- "Revolution 9" slips in a Precision F-Strike with the line "join the fucking navy." Not to mention John's suggestive moaning and panting halfway through and Yoko talking about "if you become naked".
- "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.
- "Come Together":
Come together... right now... over me!
- YMMV, though - most of those references can also be attributed to the "Paul is Dead" rumor.
- "Maxwell's Silver Hammer": What about Joan, who spent "late nights all alone with a test tube"?
- Joan was quizzical.
- "Because the world is round, it turns me on"
- "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.
- "Don't Let Me Down." Real subtle.
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...
- The session for "One After 909" involving the Precision F Strikes. And it was recorded. In 1963.
- "What's the New Mary Jane?" Just the title itself reveals why it was pulled from The White Album.
- In the movie A Hard Days Night, John is asked if he has any hobbies? 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?
- "Part Two" of Help!, once you realize that she's naked...
- "Boys, are you buzzing?" Possibly a reference to smoking cannabis.
- The infamous stripper scene in the Magical Mystery Tour movie. It makes one wonder if The BBC even watched the film before airing 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!"
- 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.
- 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..."
- 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.