What does Maxwell's Silver Hammer mean?

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Beatles: Maxwell's Silver Hammer Meaning

Song Released: 1969


Maxwell's Silver Hammer Lyrics

Joan was quizzical, studied pataphysical
Science in the home
Late nights all alone with a test-tube
Ohh-oh-oh-oh...
Maxwell Edison, majoring in medicine
Calls her on the phone
Can I take you out to the picture
jo-o-o-oan?
But as she’s...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    anonymous
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    Feb 26th, 2008 2:20am report


    McCartney said: "'Maxwell's Silver Hammer' is my analogy for when something goes wrong out of the blue, as it so often does, as I was beginning to find out at that time in my life. I wanted something symbolic of that, so to me it was some fictitious character called Maxwell with a silver hammer. I don't know why it was silver, it just sounded better than Maxwell's hammer. It was needed for scanning. We still use that expression now when something unexpected happens."
    He also later said: "In the past I may have written tongue-in-cheek, like 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer', and dealt with matters of fate in a kind of comical, parody manner. It just so happens in this batch of songs I would look at these subjects and thought it was good for writing. If it's good enough to take to your psychiatrist, it's good enough to make a song of."

    Although I would love to believe that Maxwell Edison was a real person, I could not find anything saying so, and McCartney obviously refers to him as fictional.

    -Nestman



  2. 2TOP RATED

    anonymous
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    Oct 13th, 2007 10:51am report


    Ok the silver hammer is not a gun, it's a hammer, actually more like a mallet and Maxwell Edison is a real man in Liverpool, who killed three people in 1969, who got out of jail in 2003. The song is absolutely true every word of it there are no "hidden meanings". McCartney stated that it merely epitomizes the downfalls of life: " 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer' is my analogy for when something goes wrong out of the blue, as it so often does."



  3. 3TOP RATED

    anonymous
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    Dec 17th, 2005 12:19am report


    As Paul said, the song is about how in life, as soon as things are going good, something goes wrong. Maxwell's Silver hammer comes crashing down on everyone's good time.



  4.  

    anonymous
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    Sep 5th, 2013 9:43am report


    Maxwell is a man that worked for MI5 and covered up the murder of the real Paul McCartney. He threatened John George Ringo and fake Paul "Faul" to keep this a secret their who lives or he would have them killed. Watch Paul McCarntey really is dead: the last testament of George Harrison and any question you had in regards to the Beatles will be answered.



  5.  

    anonymous
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    Feb 12th, 2013 2:54am report


    Maxwell is an MI5 agent referred to in George Harrison's last testament,keeping the beatles in line after James Paul McCartney died. McCartney "blew his mind out in a car" after rolling his austin-healey convertible in 1966. The Queen could not allow the news to be spread for fear of mass suicide. The silver hammer could be part of a gun,used by MI5 to silence anyone who claimed Paul was dead. Lennon wanted to tell all, then 2 weeks later was shot by Chapman. Harrison also wanted out from the deal,and he was attacked in his home,but survived. Ringo? he was the replacement drummer and was so happy to be there,he said nothing. In interviews with Harrison in the 80's,he refers to Paul as Faul,short for False Paul.



  6.  

    anonymous
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    Dec 18th, 2012 12:50pm report


    maxwell was a serial killer,he in the song murders a teacher & gets sent to court in wich he kills the judge .



  7.  

    anonymous
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    Jul 19th, 2012 7:01am report


    Nestman got that from wikipedia. I saw the wikipedia page.



  8.  

    stevie
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    May 28th, 2012 5:12pm report


    When the pope dies, a cardinal taps him on the forehead 3 times and calls his name, making sure he's dead. Paul may have been referring to that.



  9.  

    anonymous
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    Nov 9th, 2011 11:35pm report


    I thought it was a sexual metaphor until the 3rd verse... I wish I'd stopped listening after the second verse and kept believing this =p



  10.  

    anonymous
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    Oct 4th, 2011 10:23pm report


    I always thought the first sentence was the greatest. Although released on Abbey Road, this song was scheduled to be released on the "White Album". This album had many sexual references. Joan was quizzical, studied pataphysical science in the home. She was doing some late night self exploration. Late night all alone with a test tube .... ohh, oh oh oh...
    Not much question what that is. If you can't figure it out, ask President Clinton.



  11.  

    anonymous
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    Aug 20th, 2011 8:23am report


    I am getting the feeling that the song is about a rebeliouse child taking his rebelion too a major extrem. They again im only 11, but that is truly how I feel. If you want a better explanition, LOOK TO THE PERSON WHO WROTE THE SONG!!! I have read many interpretations were Mr.MCcartney said it was a way of life, how things are great and then "bang, bang. Clang, clang." A silver hammer ( bad news, bad event, ect.) Comes down apon your head and ruins everything.



  12.  

    anonymous
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    Jul 31st, 2011 7:10pm report


    Just a song about a killer. But what I want to know is who let a murderer have a hammer in court, who let him have a hammer in school, why'd he kill his date, isn't medicine wierd thing for him to study, what is patapsysical science , and what does this have to do with werewolves.



  13.  

    anonymous
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    Jun 5th, 2011 6:54am report


    The Beatles inner circle believe that Maxwell's Silver Hammer is McCartney's retort to Lennon's attack of Stu Sutcliff with a hammer. Apparently, this occurred during a lover's quarrel between the two in Germany. The blow is thought to have resulted in Stu's death later.



  14.  

    anonymous
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    Jun 5th, 2011 6:53am report


    Condom use in the inner city.



  15.  

    anonymous
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    May 21st, 2011 5:17am report


    The song is so demented but cute! Maxwell edison is now a real one. That's my parrots name! The love of the crazy kid.



  16.  

    anonymous
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    Apr 20th, 2011 4:56am report


    Maxwell was an MI5 agent who helped cover up Paul McCartney's death in Nov 1966. Maxwell kept threatening the remaining 3 Beatles to keep the cover up quiet. Watch the movie, "Paul McCartney really is dead. George Harrison's last Testament" produced by Highway 61 Entertainment and judge for yourself...it's on Netflix now.



  17.  

    anonymous
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    Jan 20th, 2011 1:24pm report


    That maxwell is a very troubled man. he needded help. he hits people with hammer and then drags them into dumps. rosa parks



  18.  

    anonymous
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    Jan 18th, 2011 1:16pm report


    "This song is simply another version of "instant karma". The sudden enlightenment that many people in the 1960's experienced. It means death of the false self or ego and the beginning of asking question like "why in the world are we here, surly not to live in pain and fear" This can't be a version of "instant karma" because instant karma was wrote in the 1970s, I believe. If anything, instant karma was just a version of Maxwell's silver hammer.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


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