Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds


"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" (Lennon-McCartney, 1967)
Although both John Lennon and Paul McCartney have insisted “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was not inspired by LSD but by a drawing by Lennon’s son and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, it is undeniable that the song is about a “head trip.” In Yellow Submarine, “Lucy in the Sky” begins with The Beatles standing in the Foothills of the Headlands. Sloping tops of giant heads form these hills, and there are tens of them, each shown in profile with an exposed brain. The brains are colorful and varied—flags and flowers and six-pointed stars flash pink, purple, and turquoise in some brains while words such as, Freud, i, No, Maybe, and Yes No flash orange, blue, green, and yellow in others—making the Headlands a kaleidoscopic landscape from which Lucy and Lennon see. The opening lyrics reenforce the idea this journey is into the mind, as the speaker commands the listener to “Picture yourself on a boat on a river.” What follows are surreal images and lyrics— a chorus line spattered in stars dances with shadows and “newspaper taxis appear on the shore.” As the song concludes, Lennon exits the surreal landscape of the mind, and, layer by layer, the doors of perception shut, and Lennon continues on his other journey.