Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Nightmare Fuel / The Beatles

Go To
Um... "All You Need Is Love"?!

Wait, this is about the Fab Four right? There's no way they can be scary, right? Wrong.


The Beatles used the Last Note Nightmare trope so often that examples now have their own page.


Rubber Soul
  • "Run For Your Life," despite its pleasant jangly sound, is about a man threatening to murder his girlfriend if she is unfaithful. Even Lennon regretted making it due to its misogynistic lyrics.
  • "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" tells the story of a man who gets invited to a girl's house. When she won't let him into her bed, he sleeps in the tub. When she leaves the next morning, he sets the place on fire ("So I lit a fire / Isn't it good? / Norwegian wood"). Especially chilling was Paul explaining it, just in case someone though that the man was talking about, say, making a fire on the chimney to keep himself warm and then complimented the house decor.
    Paul: In our world the guy had to have some sort of revenge. It could have meant "I lit a fire to keep myself warm, and wasn't the decor of her house wonderful?" But it didn't, it meant "I burned the fucking place down as an act of revenge."


  • Those electronic "seagulls" on "Tomorrow Never Knows". It's a heavily distorted clip of Paul laughing.
  • "Eleanor Rigby". Where to start... First, there's the haunting instrumentals featuring several strings instruments. Then there's the lyrics, which are about a two very lonely people: The title character and a lonely priest named Father Mackenzie. Their story is very disturbing on its own, considering that they never had the chance to meet. Eleanor Rigby died lonely with Father Mackenzie being the only one at her funeral.
    Eleanor Rigby
    Died in a church and was buried along with her name.
    Nobody came.
    Father Mackenzie
    Wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from her grave.
    All the lonely people,
    Where do they all come from?
    All the lonely people,
    Where do they all belong?
    • Though probably a reference to makeup, it's easy to bring to mind something more literal upon hearing the line, 'Eleanor Rigby, wearing a face which she keeps in a jar by the door."
  • Advertisement:
  • The entire album in general can be seen as this. It's a strangely random record, which, like their self-titled double album released two years later, never sticks to a constant theme, going from a dark opening rocker ("Taxman") to a sad ballad with cellos ("Eleanor Rigby"), an eerie psychedelic song about extreme tiredness ("I'm Only Sleeping") to a sitar-heavy raga song ("Love You To"), a pleasant love ballad ("Here, There, and Everywhere") to an oddball kiddie song ("Yellow Submarine"), an edgy hard rock song with a high-pitched sound ("She Said She Said") to a deliberately cheesy piano pop track about the summer ("Good Day Sunshine"), a somewhat unfinished rocker with cryptic lyrics ("And Your Bird Can Sing") another sad ballad ("For No One"), another rocker ("Doctor Robert") to a dissonant pop rock track with surreal vocals ("I Want to Tell You"), and then finally two of the least family-friendly Beatles songs - a loud Soul/Jazz fusion number that's secretly about an addiction to marijuana ("Got to Get You Into My Life") and the finale, a demonic experimental piece designed to terrify anyone not already disturbed by the eclecticism ("Tomorrow Never Knows").

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

  • "A Day in the Life" is a disturbing psychedelic piece, considered by many to be the greatest Beatles track, that can be interpreted as a song about a depressed man, very likely John himself, whose constant use of psychedelic drugs has left him disconnected from his world. The middle section featuring Paul is a cheery track about a man's morning routine, which can be perceived as the first man's nostalgic flashback to when his life was simpler, before he lost control of it.
    • The deranged string crescendo, which qualifies as a Middle Note Nightmare, and the creepy looping voices at the very, very end of the song, which qualify as a "secret" Last Note Nightmare.
    • Technically, those looping voices are in a secret track - the "Inner Groove." "A Day in the Life" ends with very faded piano and ambient air conditioning. Which are still Last Note Nightmare.
    • One of the creepier aspects of the aforementioned "Inner Groove" is that at least in original vinyl version, it was a loop in the literal sense of the word - it would play endlessly until you turned off your record player. Considering the fact that it was one of the first records to do such a trick, it was pretty much enough to make you believe that your player was haunted.
    • The Wham Line "He blew his mind out in a car…"note  Made worse by the revelation that the line refers to a real person whom John was friends with: socialite Tara Browne, son of a House of Lords member and an heir to the Guinness beer fortune, who really did die in a car accident at the age of 21.
  • "Within You Without You", while a bit eerie in and of itself, ends with a cacophony of voices that you can't really decide whether are laughing, or crying. George said he put it there to "lighten the mood"... umm, good job?
  • "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" Whether it's the creepy circus organ sound-alike (an actual organ accompanied by John, George and Ringo on harmonicas — Anthology 2 shows their monstrous size), the "waltz" in the middle, or the seemingly ceaseless Last Note Nightmare, you will be scared.

Magical Mystery Tour

  • "Strawberry Fields Forever", from Lennon's distorted voice to the funeral brass to the backwards cymbals that sound like a shovel digging a grave, not to mention the Last Note Nightmare. The acoustic version in the Anthology is beautiful, though.
    • "Strawberry Fields Forever" could be deeply disturbing to some. The way it fades out and fades back in at the end...
    • And the added bonus of John's distorted voice bellowing, "CRANBERRY SAUCE," which could also be interpreted as "I BURIED PAUL" if you subscribe to the Paul Is Dead conspiracy theory.
      • The liner notes of Anthology 2 state that the phrase "has long puzzled listeners." And it has.
    • Also, the Paranoia Fuel that can set in should you analyze the lyric "nothing is real" for too long.
  • "Blue Jay Way", especially the ending chant, which sounds like George Harrison is singing "don't belong", as if he's disappearing from existence altogether.
    Please don't be long
    Please don't you be very long...
    For I may be asleep.
    • In the "Blue Jay Way" segment of the film Magical Mystery Tour, there is a disturbing shot of George Harrison with a cat's face projected onto his face. There is also a brief shot of a seemingly-headless male torso with the words "Magical Mystical Boy" written on its chest. This is only seen briefly toward the end.
  • "I am the Walrus," a bunch of Word Salad Lyrics that leaves you uneasy. Whatever John Lennon was thinking of at the time, it wasn't sanity. It's too scary to think about a song mentioning "yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dog's eye." Bonus if you've actually found out an interpretation of the song.

The White Album

  • The White Album in general has plenty of odd, dissonant chord progressions, textures and voicings throughout, and a loose, disjointed, ramshackle feel, that create a tense atmosphere through most of the songs. There's also a distant, thin, eerie, often distorted or lo-fi tone to how it was recorded, which doesn't help matters.
    • Potentially made even scarier by reading the lyrics to "Helter Skelter". The album is infamous for being associated with Charles Manson. Ringo's scream of "I got blisters on mah fingers" at the end of "Helter Skelter"note  also has an unsettling, deranged quality.
  • The ending of "Long, Long, Long" when everything starts shaking and rattling (achieved by placing an empty bottle on top of a Leslie speaker) and Yoko starts howling into the night.
  • "Revolution 1": John shouting "all right" over and over and over.
  • "Cry Baby Cry", where Lennon sings about "seances in the dark" and a group of children that are always mentioned, but never seen, make one's imagination fear the worst about their fate. Where are they? Are they still alive?
    • The children are seen twice - when the queen plays piano for them, and when they put on voices for the seance. It's still an unsettling song.
  • "Can you take me back where I came from, brother can you take me back?" The song has a very unsettling feel and Paul sounds like he's desperate for help.
  • "Revolution 9". God, "Revolution 9".
    • Number nine. Number nine. Number nine. Number nine. Number nine. Number nine. Number nine. Number nine. Number nine. Number nine. Number nine. Number nine.
      • Number nine.
    • The normal version is TAME compared to the backwards version. "Turn me on dead man..."
      • SATAN LOOK AT ME!!! And Yoko Ono said that.
      • S-since the (pause) His suicide was...
      • "GET ME OUT!"
      • There's also a part where you can hear gunfire with people hollering in the background. Some poor listener can easily chalk it up as a mass shooting, a crowd firing at people in a riot, or even war.
      • Throughout the track, the sound of a crowd shouting in anger plays, and this was at a time when race riots were rampant in America, not to mention, a relatively short time after Lennon himself had inspired mob violence with his infamous statement about the Beatles being "bigger than Jesus."
      • There is a part towards the middle where a frenzied moaning and heavy breathing fades in and out. To some, it sounds sexual, but to others it sounds like someone having a panic attack while being tortured. Given that John Lennon wanted this track to portray an actual revolution under way, it may have been intended to be the latter.
    • There is another part where it sounds like someone's panicking while being suffocated!
    • Made worse for being the longest track (8:15) the group released. If you can sit through the whole thing, congratulations.
    • Fittingly enough? The Japanese word for the number 9note  is pronounced the same as the japanese term for pain and sufferingnote . This may or may not have been intentional.
  • "Piggies": In which "bigger piggies" whack the smaller "piggies" to death and eat them afterwards! Its nursery rhyme style makes it a shocking Lyrical Dissonance with a Twist Ending.
    • Even more disturbing is the fact that Charles Manson took this song literally. He orderded his cult members to start killing random people. On the wall of Sharon Tate's apartment the word "pig" was found being smeared in her own blood.
  • "Glass Onion" ends rather abruptly on a discordant, depressing string section that doesn't so much "end" as it just dies out... going directly into the super-cheery "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da". Early mixes of the song featured a different ending; the sound of glass shattering out nowhere, and someone repeating the sentence "It's a goal!".
  • "Rocky Raccoon", anyone? A bright, happy and cheerful little ditty about a young boy murdering his love interest's new boyfriend... only for the antagonist to end up winning. One must wonder what the boys' stance on relationships were by this song alone... -shudder-...

Yellow Submarine

  • John's undistorted laughter near the end of "Hey Bulldog".
  • The beginning of "Only a Northern Song" is a bit unnerving and spooky.

Abbey Road

  • The way "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" just cuts off abruptly.
    • It is said that John had this done intentionally during the final edit. The Beatles: Rock Band does a fine job putting a visual to the increasing volume and distortion before the cutoff.
    • Furthermore, the distorted electric guitars and minor chords are almost prescient of Black Sabbath.
  • After listening to the strings fade out on "The End" in Abbey Road, you sit there letting the musical food digest in your brain. All is quiet, until DUNNNN! "Her Majesty", ladies and gentlemen. Of course, this is a subversion, since "Her Majesty" turns out to be a cheerful little ditty.
    • The Scare Chord is what would have been the end of "Mean Mr. Mustard". That's where "Her Majesty" was originally supposed to go, but Paul thought it didn't sound well in the medley, so it was taken out, though it ended up being tacked on to the end of the album.
  • "Gnik Nus" sounds spooky thanks to the backmasking.
  • John is actually chanting "Shoot me" in the background of the song "Come Together" (according to Bob Spitz's biography) - Paul was supposedly so disturbed by it that he covered up the end of the phrase with a loud cymbal hit, so that it sounds like "shooook!"
    • Five words make that even more disturbing: "I just shot John Lennon".
  • "Maxwell's Silver Hammer". MY GOD, talk about Lyrical Dissonance. A very cheerful and happy tune about some guy who kills other people with his hammer. So, yeah.
    • To put it bluntly, it has the same lyrical theme as Hammer Smashed Face.
    • Crosses the Line Twice: Gets to ridiculous proportions when Maxwell kills the judge at his own trial while people were previously demanding he be set free.
    • John gleefully anticipates the judge's murder in an odd, sadistic way.
  • "Because" can be found unnerving to some, least of all for its unresolved ending. One wonders how high John must have been when he wrote it. The Beatles Anthology has an a capella version of the song that sounds scarier, and it was revealed to have nine voices — three each from John, Paul and George.

The Beatles Anthology


  • The "Butcher Cover" (see image) which at least was nightmare fuel in its time. It still is, really, with the band's cheerful posing amongst chunks of meat and naked, dismembered dolls, but when the album first dropped, you can bet that the cover got replaced pronto.
  • The "Paul is dead" urban legend.
    • Many of these examples involve the name "Paul" usually in the context of a misheard lyric or line being played backwards. In 1969, a rumor circulated that band member Paul McCartney had been killed in a car accident and replaced with a double, while the rest of the Beatles supposedly put clues in the album covers or the lyrics. Most people would agree that this was a complete invention of obsessed fans (or perhaps a publicity stunt by the band), but it has found new life in the internet age.
    • The details of the "Paul is Dead" story (which have had the better half of a century to fester and grow):
      • The idea that the entertainment industry (or someone within it) could be powerful enough to conceal the death of a member of the most world-famous band, for decades
      • And Paul buried in an unmarked grave (or under a false name)
      • The details of Paul's "accident," specifically what happened to his head and face
      • Oh yes, and there are photos. (Courtesy a freeze frame of the "Free as a Bird" video, and who knows where else). The face is mauled enough and Paul's hairstyle generic enough that there's no reason to think it's truly him, but it does look like a real photo of some poor young man's head. The idea of it being Paul is just an added bonus of Nightmare Fuel.
      • "Billy Shears" living as "Paul" for decades: either a man has been pressured or forced to give up his entire self to perpetuate this lie, or a sociopath has delighted in stealing a stranger's life and legacy.
      • ... to climb out of this particular Nightmare Fuel, just try finding out when and where and how the tinfoil hats got all of these details in the first place, and then breathe a giant sigh of relief. (Basically the only "source" for most of these details are the supposed "clues" in the albums and videos; in other words, the conspiracy theorists just went cherry picking and grasping.) Still, it's best not to Google "Paul is Dead" right before going to sleep. And definitely don't listen to the backwards song clips right before bed...
  • The LOVE mash-up album is filled with a bunch of strange transitions that make heavy use of stuff like clips of the boys laughing, Paul's aforementioned "seagull" noises, and other elements from the more psychedelic tracks. Due to the way song elements are combined, sometimes it's hard to make out what songs are used, rendering the final product unfamiliar and difficult to place, often making you doubt whether they really are Beatles-sourced elements...
    • The version of "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" on LOVE proceeds as normal for about a minute and a half, right up until the line "And tonight Mr. Kite is topping the bill!", at which point it segues not into the circus music you're expecting, but rather the riff from "I Want You (She's So Heavy)", with various sounds - including the vocals from "Helter Skelter" - laced through it. Also a major case of Mood Whiplash.
      • Bonus points for combining the scariest parts of the scariest Beatles songs into one, complete with ominous winds following the negative Scare Chord. Brr!
      • The point where "She's So Heavy" comes thrashing in can also be counted as a Jump Scare. What with the screams from Paul and the scary laughter coming in from nowhere, it sounds like you just jumped into the darkest pit of Hell itself.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: