Beatles: I am the Walrus Meaning
Song Released: 1967
I am the Walrus Lyrics
see how they run like pigs from a gun, see how they fly …
sittin on a corn flake, waitin on the van to come.
corporation tee-shirt,stupid bloody tuesday man you been a...
drencrom68 Sep 27th, 2008 9:32pm report
Do you people ever read what the author of a song
has to say about it's "meaning"?
"PLAYBOY: "I am the Walrus."
LENNON: The first line was written on one acid trip one weekend. The second line was written on the next acid trip the next weekend, and it was filled in after I met Yoko. Part of it was putting down Hare Krishna. All these people were going on about Hare Krishna, Allen Ginsberg in particular. The reference to "Element'ry penguin" is the elementary, naive attitude of going around chanting, "Hare Krishna," or putting all your faith in any one idol. I was writing obscurely, a la Dylan, in those days
PLAYBOY: The song is very complicated, musically.
LENNON: It actually was fantastic in stereo, but you never hear it all. There was too much to get on. It was too messy a mix. One track was live BBC Radio -- Shakespeare or something -- I just fed in whatever lines came in.
PLAYBOY: What about the walrus itself?
LENNON: It's from "The Walrus and the Carpenter." "Alice in Wonderland." To me, it was a beautiful poem. It never dawned on me that Lewis Carroll was commenting on the capitalist and social system. I never went into that bit about what he really meant, like people are doing with the Beatles' work. Later, I went back and looked at it and realized that the walrus was the bad guy in the story and the carpenter was the good guy. I thought, Oh, shit, I picked the wrong guy. I should have said, "I am the carpenter." But that wouldn't have been the same, would it? [Singing] "I am the carpenter....""
There you go.
anonymous Apr 15th, 2007 4:08pm report
There is so much meaning in this song. John was playing with those who were trying to read into every lyric. At first glance, the lyrics are nonsensical, but if you look deeper, you can see a bigger picture. He is talking about the hippie movement, and how it was moving away from the ideals that they started with. He’s crying. In the 4th verse, he is giving his view on free love. What is “yellow matter custard?” In the 6th verse, the expert texpert choking smokers are the stoned college, intellectual hippies and the jokers are authority figures laughing at them and their ideals. This is a direct warning letting the students know that not everybody is listening to them in a way that they might expect. Lennon is warning them that like him, the establishment can use their ideas against them. In the last verse, “Elementary penguin singing Hare Krishna” Lennon admitted that the line describing a penguin singing Hare Krishna was a conscious criticism of the spiritual naivety of putting all your eggs in one basket. If you look through the lens of the establishment, the song is nonsense. If you look through the lens of the hippies, the song is a warning.
anonymous Sep 11th, 2006 9:31pm report
I give "I am the walrus" the highest rating for a beatles song there is. It ranks with eleanor rigby, penny lane, strawberry fields forever, hey jude, and in my life as among their very best if not their very best. If one cannot understand the lyrics, one must understand a term called "poetic license"...The song is a series of images and impressions set to the most avant garde music the beatles ever came up with. Lennon's vocal is unbelievably cutting and vicious...Possibly his best ever. Coo coo coo choo!
anonymous Apr 11th, 4:16pm report
I heard that a student and her literature class were trying to find the meaning of Beatles songs and sent a letter to Paul telling him so. then Paul McCartney wrote a completely random song (I am the Walrus) to mess with them.
anonymous Feb 5th, 2013 2:48pm report
the song has something to do with the way the police view the rest of society.
as if they have a superior vantage point while at the same time seeing hmanity in an awful way.
about control and judgement and paranoia...
lennon got the idea for the song, one version goes, when he heard a police siren going by...
anonymous Dec 16th, 2012 12:06pm report
The hardest part about interpreting this song is that you have to look at the clues in other songs in addition to the Lewis Carroll connection. You have to know about the PID theory, but disregard it completely and understand that the death symbolism is one side of the Walrus.
It also symbolizes life and supernatural powers to the Inuit.
I think Paul's life was threatened, and two Paul's were born. PID is a cover story within, and a joke of John's too--the string of confusing clues/backwards messages covered in PID theories.
"The Walrus was Paul", but there are two sides to each character. Paul uses the false Paul to portray himself in a positive light because his evilness these days would show through... To all those who know about the paul is dead theory, the real Paul is very much alive if you follow the clues..
A symbolic death and rebirth, he's with the eggmen and Paul is the bigger manipulator.
John only initially chose the Walrus to confuse things, because of the protector aspect of the symbolism to Eskimos works two ways.
They're both devouring the oysters and feeding on them after the sweettalk, but one is less evil than the other.
Like John said in the Playboy interview he picked the wrong character to represent himself. He wrote the song the way it is as a way to make it confusing, because it may be the key to much of the other clues... By saying that he thought one was the good character, he's actually referring to Lewis Carroll again...
It's a reference to "Through the looking Glass", so let's go through the looking glass:
"'I like the Walrus best,' said Alice: 'because he was a little sorry for the poor oysters.'
'He ate more than the Carpenter, though,' said Tweedledee. 'You see he held his handkerchief in front, so that the Carpenter couldn't count how many he took: contrariwise.'
'That was mean!' Alice said indignantly. 'Then I like the Carpenter best—if he didn't eat so many as the Walrus.'
'But he ate as many as he could get,' said Tweedledum.
This was a puzzler. After a pause, Alice began, 'Well! They were both very unpleasant characters—' Here she checked herself in some alarm, at hearing something that sounded to her like the puffing of a large steam-engine in the wood near them, though she feared it was more likely to be a wild beast. 'Are there any lions or tigers about here?' she asked timidly.
'It's only the Red King snoring,' said Tweedledee.
So you see, John is almost admitting he was almost as bad as Paul...
He was sucking people in with the sweet-talk, the talk about love and peace too... But through the clues he left us he is playing the role of the lesser evil. Even though he was involved, took his fair share, and would have had knowledge of anything that went on behind the scenes.
In another song the lyrics say "here's another clue for you all--the Walrus was Paul".
This is almost a direct connection to what we have going on here and in the Playboy interview. It also lets you know the puzzle is a lot larger, and there are clues everywhere. Lucy in the sky with diamonds being brought up is no coincidence because that song is written under the guise of being related to the Acid trip theme... So people don't take it seriously, analyze it, and connect it to the other clues...
I don't know the solution to the whole puzzle, although my knowledge of forensic anthropology, psychology, anthropology and criminology has led me to certain conclusions... I could fill a book with it if I had an editor, and go beyond a lot of the stuff covered in the Paul is Dead theory.
IMO John knew exactly what he wanted it to mean but he wanted the message to remain hidden or obscured to anyone who was analyzing it. Eventually he wanted these people, or people who could put all the clues together to figure it out.
If you follow John's clues and backwards messages even the Paul is dead thing is a hoax and almost a religion intended to suck you in... The truth is the real Paul is a lot more deceptive than that and could still be alive while the double has stepped in.
anonymous Dec 3rd, 2012 12:18am report
He was reflecting lines of Lewis carol
anonymous Nov 27th, 2012 11:59am report
"The Egg" by Andy Weir. Google it
anonymous Nov 26th, 2012 11:48am report
the best way of eplaining this song and life in general is to read this short story by Andy Weir "the egg". just google it, it only takes a couple minutes to read and i know you'll appreciate it. READ IT NOW!!!
anonymous Jul 21st, 2012 7:29pm report
Parallel universe. I am he, he is me, your an eggman, shes a walrus, it's all us vibrations being mixed up together like white lite hitting a prism. Then comeing back together. I believe when I am born, my counterparts in these parallel universes will also become born and we shall become God again. Just as rain finds its way to the ocean, I will be God again. Then, as white light hits a prism, more parallel universes will be created and there is where another one of me's will be seperated and broken.
anonymous Jul 10th, 2012 7:44am report
I see some good interpretations but evryone is missing the REAL meaning of the song. To understand the meaning of this song you must read the short story "the egg" by Andy Weir. It takes but a few minutes to read, just google it... It will be the best thing you ever do with this life:)
anonymous Apr 15th, 2012 4:56am report
Some of the drums were overdubbed later. If you lseitn to the Anthology 2 version you can hear the basic track with Lennon's guide vocal. It has the extra measure before Yellow matter custard What I didn't know was that they scored that bit for strings rather than edit it out at an earlier opportunity. Thanks for sharing.
anonymous Mar 7th, 2012 3:54pm report
First off, a Trigger Warning would be nice :] Very well done video. I loved it. I like the black and white effect. 5 Stars
For one, I always liked the anthology version because the hi-hat sounded like a pair of scissors cutting open your head to get in and alter it.
I agree with some of the posters who said that john was intentionally trying to fuck with people by making something nonsensical and cryptic... but at the same time, there are sensible parts to it. good lyrics often don't just mean one thing. they are a nexus of meaning... a good line is approachable from, and works when you're coming from, many different angles...
"i am he as you are he..." is very universal. we are all brothers and sisters, here together... (more darkly, we are perhaps all the walrus/death, but more on that soon).
"see how they run/fly" - lennon got framed and busted by a cop for dope in london, but that may have been after this. either way, he's become paranoid from the cops and is asking you to understand why... "flying" was a term often used to describe acid trips.
"sitting on a cornflake, waiting for the van to come..." in addition to this being a lyrical snippet that came to him on an acid trip, sitting on a cornflake is also slang for farting... which is hilarious. "here", he seems to be asking rhetorically, "you want something to analyze? analyze my fart." this verse is about the monotony of our daily lives... belching, waiting, growing old. "face grows long" is a reference to somebody who is boring, who has lost their youth. perhaps they've done so by not seizing the bull of life by the horns..
"i am the egg-man," he's planting this egg of thought into your head. if you want to achieve some sort of higher consciousness (which you may do by the end of the song) first admit that your face has grown long, that you're bored and boring.
"mister city..." more paranoia, in the same vein as earlier. "see how the fly..."
"yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dog's eye." - i've always though this was some sort of allusion to nietzche's statement that god is dead. the age-old pun of dog/god being employed here. if we're pondering the cosmos, most matter in the universe is dark matter, and maybe visible matter is the goose, the odd-ball. it's just the dross falling out of a dead god's eye.
"crabalocka fishwife" i always thought was a bit of an egomaniacal self-reference. he is a fish swimming freely in the sea while most of society is caught in the rat-race. ever notice how crabs in a locker claw their way one on top of the other trying to get ahead, to the top? they're crowded and it's a hellacious life, but here is the fishwife swimming around by the cage, tauntingly, pornographically. pornographic priestess just sounds nice, but also, he's being salacious with his metaphors in order to get you to that place of elevated consciousness (that's the priest/ess part of it). and again, he's the eggman, putting this pornographic thought in your mind.
"sitting in an english garden..." again, a reference to waiting around. the sun is usually equated with knowledge and enlightenment (the sun king). "if it don't come you get your tan standing in the english rain"- i've mused upon this on acid when i was younger and always thought that it meant, no matter what happens in your life you just have to deal with it. perhaps things don't turn out as you expected... they especially won't if you sit around waiting for them to happen instead of seizing the bull by the horns... but even so, even if things don't turn out exceptionally as planned, you'll still have your life... it is what it is... you may not be bronze, but you have your wet-tan. you may not be enlightened but so what, life is life and maybe enlightenment isn't even that great anyhow.
"expert textpert" - is definitely a rub at those (like me... and you... and he... and we are all together) who are spending their time interpreting this song... but mainly at those who are extremely bookish but don't understand what's happening out there in the crazy 60s. do you know dylan's song about mr. jones?- this is for the same guy. mr jones didn't understand the geek calling HIM a freak... well these experts don't understand how these pigs in a sty (messy, dirty, smiling hippies) could be sitting/loafing around doing virtually nothing productive with their lives in the traditional sense but still having the gall to be snied about it, aloof, mocking..
"semolina pilchard climbing up the eiffel tower"- so now i know for sure that john did get busted before this song because sargeant pilchard was the guy who busted him (he was later indicted for planting marijuana on not just john, but mick jagger and a handful of other music celebs in london). remember the crabs in the crab-locker from earlier... well this is a subtle revisiting of that theme... pilchard, through asinine, vile behavior, is trying to make a name for himself as a big-time cop (like the guy who shot dillinger), and he's clawing all over who ever he has to to climb that societal ladder. but lennon gets his rub in by calling it the eiffel tower, and by calling pilchard semolina. semolina is flour used to bake all sorts of stuff. in other words, it's just a minor ingredient in larger schemes. pilchard is basically just a pawn, and the eiffel tower is just a silly tower with nothing inside it. his aims are hollow, man-made.
"elementary penguins singing hare krishna..."- again, more sea/ocean references (crabs, fishwife, walrus, penguins). this is definitely a rub at ginsberg and harrison (and whoever else was infatuated with holymen/idols/gurus back then... and there were surely many). if you've ever noticed a nun's "habit" (the clothing she wears) or a priest's, you'll notice the black and white... like the penguin. hare krishna is obviously not a christian reference but i think it's all conflated. either way, anyone professing to be holy, or infatuated with alleged holy-people is merely elementary, watson. the walrus spends most of it's time out in the sea, going on big dives, sizing up with the deep/with death, the real nitty gritty. the penguins are elementary because they huddle around together on the shore for the most part. similarly, you could say they're not real "deep," in both the oceanic sense... and also as far as consciousness goes.
the edgar allen poe part i'm not really sure about, but obviously poe seems to be somebody lennon probably reveres as a poet. he was dark and misunderstood, and also a chronic opium-smoker who seemed to run with his own drug-induced reveries... which seems like something john is advocating here with his "pigs in a sty flying" acidic allusions.
ah... now... finally... "the walrus." for one, as already stated, it's a symbol of death, and this song is right in that era (as are about 10 songs) where the beatles are getting their rocks off still pretending paul's dead (all that shakespeare stuff at the end is also about death, obviously).
but moving on... bullshit john didn't know he picked the walrus until long after the fact. i know that's what he said, but clearly he was just being cheeky. of course he knew the walrus was the bad guy from lewis carrol's book. this song is a comment on exactly his station in life. he's a rockstar and a virtual guru. he's the eggman who's been putting the egg of consciousness in our minds for years, and more specifically all throughout this song. and yet where is leading us?
this is where it all comes together. remember that jesus was a carpenter and that the carpenter continues to the day to be an enduring symbol for christ and christianity. remember the penguins (nuns/priest's clothing, the pornographic priestess). religious allusions abound it seems. in carroll's "the walrus and the carpenter" the walrus and the carpenter take a bunch of clams for a long, long stroll along the beach. the whole time the walrus spouts of malarkey, words that are poetic and nonsensical, and meanwhile the carpenter tries to be a nice guy. in the end, the walrus blindfolds the carpenter and feeds him. the carpenter "doesn't know" that he's eating the clams, but the walrus does. even for lewis carrol, it was a comment on religion, good and evil. "evil" is straight-up about what it is doing, while the good often turn a blind-eye. surely we are led to assume, in the poem, that the carpenter knows he is going to be eating the clams... but he pretends he is unaware. he "thought he was saving them". nice try. the walrus, on the other hand, knew exactly why he was luring the clams out for a long stroll along the beach and keeping them interested with his oddly curious nonsensical poetry... so that he could feast on them in the end...
this should ring a bell right? this is what lennon has done, is doing, continues to do... he's led us all out for a stroll along the beach to play with our minds. he seems to be claiming that in the end, if you're looking for a guru, he is not it, for he is the walrus. don't trust him. sure the words might seem magical and lyrical, but so too did the words to the clams, and see what their ultimate fate was. on the other hand, look who else is leading you astray? your penguins and carpenters, et al, who are also providing you with bogus signposts on your path as well... so at least he's being honest...
anonymous Dec 25th, 2011 12:24am report
The walrus represents a capitalist. I think one of the messages in this song is that we are all f'd up in some way...including lennon himself.
anonymous Oct 3rd, 2011 10:06pm report
This song is so deep we can't even begin to grasp the true meaning intended. I find this song to be pure genius on Lennons behalf!! :)
anonymous Aug 25th, 2011 8:57am report
This song has always been looked at for it's meaningless lyrics. Personally I think that John Lennon wrote it because, many people were interrupting his songs even In schools! So John decided that they can interput this one!
anonymous Jul 22nd, 2011 7:49am report
Ummm anybody notice at the end of the song ... Oom pa , oom pa .. Listen again ... Smoke pot , smoke pot ... Everybody smoke pot !!
More Beatles song meanings »
Submit Your Interpretation
Related Blog Posts
|Who Am I Living For?||anonymous|
|December 1963 (Oh What a Night)||anonymous|
|A Sky Full Of Stars||anonymous|
|I Wanna Get Better||anonymous|
|Full of Grace||anonymous|
|Full of Grace||anonymous|
|Love was Still Around||anonymous|