Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Glass Onion

AUTHORSHIP Lennon (1.00)
LENNON: "That's me, just doing a throwaway song. . . . I threw the line in - 'The walrus was Paul' - just to confuse everybody a bit more." September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

"PAUL IS DEAD" Hysteria: In some parts of Scandinavia, the walrus is an image of death. The Beatles Diary, Volume 1 : From Liverpool to London

LENNON: "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. I was trying - I don't know. It's a very perverse way of saying to Paul, you kno, 'Here, have this crumb, this illusion, this stroke, because I'm leaving.' " September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

McCARTNEY: "He and Yoko came round to Cavendish Avenue and John and I went out into the garden for half an hour, because there were a couple of things he needed me to finish up, but it was his song, his idea, and he worked on the arrangement with George Martin. It was a particuarly good arrangement, I think. It was a nice song of John's. We had a fun moment when we were working on the bit, 'I've got news for you all, the walrus was Paul.' Because, although we'd never planned it, people read into our songs and little legends grew up about every item of so-called significance, so on this occasion we decided to plant one. What John meant was that in Magical Mystery Tour, when we came to do the costumes on "I Am The Walrus", it happened to be me in the walrus costume. It was not significant at all, but it was a nice little twist to the legend that we threw in. But it was John's song. I'd guess I had minor input or something as we finished it up together." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

September 11, 1968, at Abbey Road, with overdubbing September 12, 13, and 16 and October 10

McCARTNEY: bass, piano, flute, backing vocal
LENNON: acoustic guitar (Gibson), vocal (double-tracked)
HARRISON: lead guitar
STARR: drums, tambourine
Road provides Gibson

The lyrics allude to several previous Beatles songs, in order: "Strawberry Fields Forever," "I Am The Walrus," "Lady Madonna," "The Fool On The Hill," and "Fixing A Hole."
"Glass Onion" was originally what Lennon wanted to name the new Apple group that eventually called itself Badfinger. John Lennon: In My Life

The Beatles favourite restaurant was Parkes on Beauchamp Place. Tom Benson ran it:
McCARTNEY: "Tom was a very sweet, quiet-spoken Liverpool guy. His mum had a flower stall outside the Liverpool News Theatre which showed cartoons and news all day while you were waiting for a train. He said, 'You know the old lady who sells flowers outside the News Theatre?' 'Yeah?' 'It's me mum!' 'Oh, well, blow me down!' So of course then the flowers on every plate was all explained."
These same flowers made their way into "Glass Onion". Tom would bend the petals back on tulips to create a strange organic sculpture for each plate, the stamen and inside colouring of the petals making an almost unrecognisable object. John referred to them in the song: "Looking through the bent back tulips, to see how the other half live." The other half being the wealthy Chelsea crowd who patronised the restaurant, as well as, presumably, the parts of a tulip not normally seen. Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

LENNON: "With 'Glass Onion' I was just having a laugh, because there had been so much gobbledegook written about Sgt. Pepper. People were saying, 'Play it backwards while standing on your head, and you'll get a secret message, etc.' Why, just the other day I saw Mel Torme on TV saying that several of my songs were written to promote the use of drugs, but really, none of them were at all. So this one was just my way of saying, 'You're all full of shit!' " The Beatles: A Celebration

Harrison named this song as one of his favourites on the album. Late 1969, The Beatles: A Celebration

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