What does Come Together mean?

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Beatles: Come Together Meaning

Song Released: 1969


Covered By: Taylor John Williams (2014), Gary Clark Jr. (2017)


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Lyrics removed by the request of NMPA

  1. 1TOP RATED

    anonymous
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    Aug 23rd, 2008 8:50pm report


    OK, the meaning of the lyrics are actually quite clear and relevant if you know some history about the Beatles and are somewhat familiar with the idioms and slang of the era:

    1st verse:
    "HERE COME OL' FLAT-TOP,
    HE COME GROOVIN' UP SLOWLY.
    HE GOT HAIR DOWN TO HIS KNEE,
    GOT TO BE A JOKER HE JUST DO WHAT HE PLEASE."

    This verse references Ringo. "Flat-Top" makes reference to Ringo's bluesy musical roots and the disparaging stereotype that was often applied to those that played that style of music.
    "Groovin' up slowly" refers to the fact that Ringo was the last to join the final and 'official' line-up of the band, yet his drumming ability was very limited and borderline acceptable at the beginning, especially compared to the abilities of the rest of the band. As he honed his skill, he slowly became better and better at holding down the beat of the music, or 'groove' as it was also loosely referred to. As the group continued to record and release music, his talent slowly came up to the standards of the other three.
    "He got hair down to his knee" simply refers to the fact that Ringo had a longer, shaggy hairstyle when he joined the band, while the other three had the short, close-cropped style favored by the 'mods' of the day.
    "Got to be a joker he just do what he please" is obvious: Ringo was the funny one, the 'cut-up' of the group and he often said and did bizzarre and unexpected things in formal situations the group found themselves in during the early years. His enthusiastic, upbeat attitude was a major influence of the early writings of John and Paul.

    Verse #2:
    "HE WEAR NO SHOE-SHINE,
    HE GOT TOE-JAM FOOTBALL.
    HE GOT MONKEY-FINGER,
    HE SHOOT COCA-COLA.

    HE SAY I KNOW YOU, YOU KNOW ME.
    ONE THING I CAN TELL YOU IS YOU GOT TO BE FREE.

    The subject of this verse is George. "He wear no shoe-shine" is a reference to going to bare-foot, a quite-common state of dress that George adopted once he became so enamored of the Indian Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Bare feet and simple robes were the accepted dress of the followers of the Yogi, and George's influence quickly spread to the other three Beatles.
    Toe-Jam football is just a reference to bare-foot 'soccer' style football playing, the common social outdoor activity practiced by many while worshipping at the yogi's temple.
    "Monkey-Finger" refers to George's manual dexterity and amazing abilty to master many, many different styles of stringed intruments, notably the 'sitar', an almost unknown instrument at the time that he was introduced to and quickly learned how to play while worshipping at the yogi's temple.
    "He shoot coca-cola" is obvious: 'coca-cola' is street-slang for cocaine, a drug that George, as well as the others, would often 'shoot up' directly into thier veins.
    "I know you, you know me...we got to be free" is simply the basic premise of the entire teachings of the Yogi, that George was so whole-heartadly promoting to his fellow bandmates.

    "COME TOGETHER RIGHT NOW...OVER ME" refers to the message the Yogi deleivered to the band asa group that would supposedly heal the growing rift and dissention between the four members of the band and unite them as a single cohesive unit once again.

    Verse #3:
    "HE BAD (NOT 'BAG') PRODUCTION,
    HE GOT WALRUS GUM-BOOT.
    HE GOT ONO SIDEBOARD,
    HE ONE SPINAL CRACKER,
    HE GOT FEET DOWN BELOW HIS KNEE,
    HOLD YOU IN HIS ARMCHAIR YOU CAN FEEL HIS DISEASE.

    No questions about this one, it's about John all the way:
    "Bad production" refers to John's increasing level of drug use and the negative effect it had on his abilty to effectivly create acceptable music with the rest of the band, and to function with the rest of the band.
    John was the 'Walrus' referred to in the 'I am the Walrus; lyrics', clearly this refers to him.(notwithstanding the later lyric 'the walrus was Paul' from "Glass onion")
    A 'sideboard' is the term used when attorneys would be called away from a trial during court for private discussion. "Ono sideboard" makes refernce to the growing distraction that the rest of the band felt Yoko Ono was having on John.
    John's increasing uncooperative attitude towards the professional and musical direction the rest of the band wanted to follow manifested itself in John constantly griping and complaining to the others, or in slang terms "breaking thier backs", a term referenced with 'spinal cracker'.

    "Feet down below his knee" also makes refernce to his stubborn, uncompromising desire to do things his way only with little or no regard for the rest of the band's wishes. To give in was to be seen as being on 'your knees', but John had 'feet below his knees', so there was no way he was going to kneel(stand on his knees) and be subserviant when he could 'stand on his feet' and be the decison-maker.
    "Hold you in his armchair (possibly..."arms, yeah...) you can feel his disease" refers to the fact that John's tough exterior persona barely fooled anyone, as his self-loathing and self-doubt, fueled and magnified by increasingly excessive drug use began to consume him. To be close to , or to 'hold him in your arm...' was to know the real John, where one could 'feel his disease'.

    Verse #4:
    "HE ROLLER COASTER,
    HE GOT EARLY WARNING.
    HE GOT MUDDY WATER,
    HE ONE MOJO FILTER.
    HE SAY ONE AND ONE AND ONE IS THREE
    GOT TO BE GOOD LOOKING 'CAUSE HE'S SO HARD TO SEE"

    Well, last of the four is Paul, and this is clearly all about Paul.
    'Roller coaster' refers to Paul's aggravating habit to the rest of the band by constantly changing his stated desire to either break up and move on to a solo career or to remain as a band and contue on as the 'Beatles'.
    'Early warning' makes reference to the fact that they all made it clear to Paul long before that his selfish, superior attitide was going to create a rift between them and in fact it finally did.
    'Muddy water' describes the bad feelings and growing poor relationship between Paul and the rest of the band due to his constant lying and manipulation of them, and particularly about his attempts to convince the others to let his father-in-law manage the band as opposed to the choice the others made.
    'Mojo filter' refers to Paul's habit of 'spin doctoring' information to the others and manipulating thier perceptions so as to ultimately get his way.
    'One and one and one is three' refers to Paul's attempts to try and convince the others that if he did indeed leave the band and start a solo career, they remaining three could carry on and continue to be 'the Beatles' without him, contray to everyone else's opinion.
    'Got to be good looking...': a straightforward reference to the fact that he was typically considered the 'cute, good looking one' of the group.
    '...so hard to see' desribes the increasing time away from the rest of the band that Paul was spending on persoanl projects, to the detriment of any possible group projects.

    So, there you have it!



  2. 2TOP RATED

    anonymous
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    Dec 17th, 2005 12:52am report


    This is just me... but listening to the lyrics, I wonder if John is not describing the Beatles in the song... 4 verses, 4 beatles... The 3rd verse (walrus gumboot) describes John (ono sideboards, walrus gumboot, feel his disease), the first vers (here come ol flattop) describes George (joo-joo eyeball, holy roller, He got hair down to his knee
    Got to be a joker he just do what he please), the 4th verse perhaps about Ringo (early warning, one and one and one is three could deal with drums and rythm, and Got to bee good looking cause he's so hard to see is because Ringo was always behind the drumset.), and the 2nd verse about Paul (monkey finger, like a bass player,) But I don't know. I'm just playin around.



  3. 3TOP RATED

    Bazza
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    Jan 8th, 2009 1:04am report


    I have studied this song at great lengths and I think that many theories listed here (concerning the song being about band members) are correct but the confusion lies in trying to apportion one verse to one band member.

    I believe we need to view the song as a need by John to settle differences and reunite the band. He (at the time) was seen to be causing difficulties within the band by involving Yoko and his growing benevolent behavior. With Paul expressing his intent to leave and friction growing towards John by both the other band members and the press/public, this was John's attempt to clear the air and lay the cards on the table.

    Each verse contains John's view of ALL band members and follows a pattern, the exception being Ringo who seems to be the target of that old joke, "The drummer never has anything interesting to say!" The first line being about John's first meeting with the member. The second line concerning a memorable theme of the band member. The third line is about John's feelings towards the other members at the height hostilities. The forth line portrays the current thoughts John has about the other members. And the last line of every verse is either criticism defense or criticism of John by the band.

    The first line of every verse is about Paul, the first to join John's band. ("The Quarrymen" at the time)
    Lines -
    1 - Here come old flattop he come grooving up slowly
    2 - He wear no shoeshine he got toe-jam football
    3 - He bad (not bag) production he got walrus gumboot
    4 - He roller-coaster he got early warning
    Interpretation -
    1 - Paul met John at a gig and was trying to act cool and older than his age and impress with his guitar playing skills (He was only 15 at the time)
    2 - In reference to the shoeless Abbey Rd. picture.
    3 - Paul would stop recording (production) to argue and fight with John and was unhappy with the his behavior whilst recording "I Am The Walrus"
    4 - "Roller-coaster" referring to Paul's moods (up and down) and his "warning" about leaving the band.

    The second line of every verse is about George. The second to join after being introduced to John by Paul.
    Lines -
    1 - He got joo-joo eyeball he one holy roller
    2 - He got monkey finger he shoot coca-cola
    3 - He got ono sideboard he one spinal cracker
    4 - He got muddy water he one mojo filter
    Interpretation -
    1 - "Joo-joo eyeball" is in relation to George idolizing John before he was excepted into the band and attending every performance and "eyeballing" John at every gig. The "holy roller" refers to George's amazing grasp of both American blues/gospel and rock and roll bass lines at only 14!
    2 - This line refers to George's drug use.
    3 - "Ono" obviously refers to Yoko. George was known to sideline (sideboard) Yoko during Paul's outbursts to John about her involvement with the band and John is calling him spineless for doing so (Spinal cracker).
    4 - This line is about George switching off and distancing himself from the troubles within the band, filtering the bad "mojo" but acting despondent feeling the blues (Muddy Waters reference)

    The third line of every verse is about Ringo. The last member to join the band after replacing Pete Best.
    Lines -
    1 - He got hair down to his knee
    2 - He say "I know you, you know me"
    3 - He got feet down below his knee
    4 - He say "one and one and one is three"
    Interpretation -
    1 - Ringo had long hair at a time when the others had gone for the famous bowl cut and when sitting at the drums, his hair would hang down to (well, not quite) his knees.
    2- This line is in reference to the hard time he had after joining the band. Pete Best had a huge following that protested Ringo replacing him. As it was, Ringo had played at many gigs with the Beatles when Best was unable or unwilling to play!
    3 - This is a joke about not being able to see Ringo below the waist when sitting behind the drum kit.
    4 - This line is about both a reference to rhythm and Ringo's feelings that he was left out and isolated from the other three members decisions regarding the band.

    The forth line of every verse is related to John himself, containing both criticisms of him by the others and a rebuttal.
    Lines -
    1 - Got to be a joker he just do what he please
    2 - One thing I can tell you is you got to be free
    3 - Hold you in his armchair you can feel his disease
    4 - Got to be good-looking 'cause he's so hard to see
    Interpretation -
    1,2 & 4 - These lines are criticisms of John made by the other band members. They relate to his difficult behavior, dragging the others down and general hostility towards him.
    2 - This line is both very interesting and crucial to the interpretation of the whole song! It is the only line in which "I" is used. This is John speaking directly to the band (and us, the listener). It is a rebuttal and an excuse for his behavior. It is his only explanation to the feelings the others have towards him. He is feeling stifled by the band and is possibly ready to leave.

    The chorus -
    Come together, right now. Over me.

    It seems clear at first, "come together, right now". It demands an end the the current hostility, immediately. We know John was commissioned to write a song for Timothy Leary and his campaign but John got no further than the title when Leary was arrested and I believe that the words "come together" stuck a resonance with John at that time. The last part, "Over me" offers two outcomes to the bands current situation. The first having holding the meaning "get over me", put the past behind and we can continue happily together. The second meaning can be interpreted as "I'm over", announcing John's intent to leave the band and go his own way.

    Thankyou for reading and I hope my views on this song and the man who wrote it may ring true to you.

    Peace.



  4.  

    anonymous
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    Aug 21st, 8:05pm report


    It was a failed attempt for a political party song for Tim Leary for gov of California before he went to prison. Literally absolutely true



  5.  

    anonymous
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    Mar 8th, 2017 3:04am report


    It's about a real hairstylist and also his secret lover .. has nothing to do with the band members. This should help you all in the pursuit of truth. Peace, Out!



  6.  

    anonymous
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    Jan 30th, 2017 1:07pm report


    Strait out of John Lennon's mouth. The song was originally supposed to be a campaign slogan for Timothy Leary''s bid for governor of California, but he was never able to make it work.

    The term come together was part of Leary's slogan "Come together, join the party."
    When he couldn't make it work he simply added what he said was a bunch of "gobbledygook," Paul slowed it down added the bass line and that was it.

    The references to band members etc. hold no actual truth to them. They simply made up shit that rhymed with the beat and stuck with the main theme of come together.



  7.  

    anonymous
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    Jan 30th, 2017 1:52pm report


    Strait out of John Lennon's mouth. The sing was originally supposed to be a campaign slogan for Timothy Leary''s bid for governor of California, but he was never able to make it work.

    The term come together was part of Leary's slogan "Come together, join the party."
    When he couldn't make it work he simply added what he said was a bunch of "gobbledygook," Paul slowed it down added the bass line and that was it.

    The references to band members etc. hold no actual truth to them. They simply made up sit that rhymed with the beat and stuck with the main theme of come together.



  8.  

    anonymous
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    Jan 29th, 2017 1:37am report


    Paul told my father, in late 1969 when I was born, each verse was a poke a someone. In the band or not (he wouldn't day but it was several people) would would one day come to worship him or John upon their death. He referred to the verses making fun of whomever as nonsense and so obscure so nobody but they would know. The conversion was at a bar after a show that my dad did not even attend. He was traveling. He asked, "What in the hell is gumroot and monkey-finger?" Paul chuckled, starred into his drink and said, "who bloody know, but it sounds good."



  9.  

    anonymous
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    Jan 14th, 2017 1:18am report


    Tara magsama kapa...
    Kahit pa labing isa...
    Wag na magtira...
    Heto na pulis siya...
    Sasabihin sa'yo freeze...

    zer now...



  10.  

    anonymous
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    Nov 19th, 2016 11:54am report


    I'm glad you gleaned that much information from a song John Lennon himself called "Gobbledygook"
    You are reaching too far, when in all reality even the artist admits that its just random splotches of paint on a canvas.



  11.  

    wolf1728
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    Sep 4th, 2016 9:16pm report


    Well, since I'm old, I remember when this song was released way back in the Fall of 1969 which was also the time of Paul McCartney's "death". Since the song was a hit at the exact time of the "news" about Mr. McCartney's "demise", it MUST be another "clue".

    The interpretation of the song (at the time) was that Paul succumbed to an illness.

    "Spinal cracker" - reference to a spinal tap test.

    "Hold you in his armchair you can feel his disease".

    "Early warning" - notification of a medical diagnosis".

    "Muddy water" - when they view a spinal tap, if the fluid is clear, you're healthy, if the fluid is murky ("muddy") you've got a problem.

    "One and one and one is three" - there's only THREE Beatles, because Mister McCartney is no longer with us.

    "Got to be goog-looking" - Paul was the good-looking one.

    "Cause he's so hard to see" - it's difficult to see someone when they're dead.

    "Come Together, right now over me" - An invitation to those people "in the know", that in order to see Paul, you'll have to go his grave site.



  12.  

    anonymous
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    Aug 24th, 2016 8:58pm report


    I love these interpretations, and they sound correct as far as being about the band members. Thank you all.

    But here's a question for you: why did Lennon claim the song lyrics were intentional nonsense? I find that to be the case with several Beatles songs, as well as with some of Paul's post-Beatles music (e.g., his absurd claim that "Jet" was about his pet dog running away from home, when if you substitute the name John for Jet, and think of the effect Yoko had on Paul and John's relationship, every line of the song makes perfect sense).



  13.  

    anonymous
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    Jun 11th, 2016 6:26am report


    The song was written by John Lennon (but credited to Lennon/McCartney) and got started by a request from Timothy Leary for a “campaign song” for Leary's intended 1970 run for California Governor, against Ronald Reagan.

    Leary announced his candidacy on May 19, 1969. The campaign slogan was, "Come together, join the party." Shortly after his announcement, Leary joined Lennon and Yoko at their famous Montreal Bed-In, held on June 1, 1969.

    Leary’s bid for California Governor ended when he received a 20 year jail sentence for two previous marijuana possession charges - 10 years for a 1965 possession conviction, plus another 10 years for a 1968 conviction.

    Lennon has said he tried but failed to write the requested "campaign song” and instead created "Come Together”, in the studio, during the 1969 Abbey Road recording sessions. Those session happened between February 22 and August 20th. The completed Abbey Road album was released on September 26, 1969.

    Specifically, “Come Together” is said to have been produced by George Martin and recorded at the end of July 1969.

    The song title “Come Together” is actually Lennon’s derivation of Leary's intended campaign slogan, "Come together, join the party."

    Epilogue: After the release of “Come Together” Lennon was sued by Morris Levy because of some shared lyrics and a similar sound to Chuck Berry's 1956 song, ”You Can't Catch Me". Levy was the publisher of this Berry song. The case took time to settle and Levy eventually won a small, $80,000+ award.



  14.  

    anonymous
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    May 19th, 2016 5:14am report


    I imagined that Each Line was about someone else.Not just the band but people they worked with. Because some lines don't seem to refer to anyone we know,"he got ju-ju eyeball?" Yet dat "one holy roller" sounds like George. I can see them in the studio not being able to get any work done.John and Paul always dressed well. "he wear no shoe shine" dat one come to work like a slob, dat one shoot coka cola.(you hadda be there) John was "the joker". He referred to himself that way, and was even called that in other people's songs. He was the funny one. I think that line was his exaspiration from people thinking he was a clown and couldn't get down to work.(let it be maybe).It might not be a studio scene, but it could be lot of different people that were influencing his life- good or bad.He may have wrote the song just for himself, and why not? He's allowed. I still love listening to it. It one great fuckin' song.



  15.  

    anonymous
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    Mar 15th, 2016 3:32pm report


    From what I understand, they or rather one of them was asked to write a campaign slogan about coming together, and couldn't come up with anything, so they just wrote a completely random and nonsensical song. For the fun of it. I have found, doing some research into their music, that most of their songs that sound like nonsense, really are just that......



  16.  

    anonymous
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    Dec 24th, 2015 12:15pm report


    According to Paul the song is just nonsense. That's all folk!



  17.  

    anonymous
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    Jun 29th, 2015 6:27pm report


    Here's what I have trouble with. I agree that the lyrics describe each one of the band members (though my interpretations vary a little bit), but if the verse 3 is about John, why would he insult himself? Why would he say "he bad production"? That doesn't sound very complimentary. Or "he got Ono sideboard"? I'm pretty sure he didn't see Yoko as that big a distraction. And why would he refer to himself as a "spinal cracker". Did he see himself as a hardass? I dunno it just doesn't make sense.



  18.  

    anonymous
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    Mar 5th, 2015 3:05pm report


    A lot of the lyrics were stolen from Chuck Berry's "You Can't Catch Me" lol.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


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