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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    Aug 25th, 2012 8:00am report


    Here's the answer key:
    Yes, Come Together started out as a Timothy Leary campaign song. But in Lennon's own words "I never got around to it and wrote 'Come Together' instead."

    Each verse is John's view of each member.
    verse 1 George 2 Ringo 3 John 4 Paul

    verse 1 George
    Here comes old flattop - George collected guitars and nicknamed his Fender Stratacaster Flattop Guitar Rocky.

    He comes grooving up slowly - George's personality: Calm, collected and under control. He's in tune and moving at his own pace.

    He got joo joo eyeball - Eyeball singular refers to the 3rd eye of spiritual awareness. Joo Joo means magic in the Voo Doo religion. The mystical magical 3rd eye of Kirshna spiritual awareness.

    He's one holy roller - George's spiritual awareness was not Christian. Harrison embraced Indian culture and Hinduism in the mid 60's.

    He got hair down to his knees - when sitting in the yoga position to meditate
    his hair nearly touched his knees.

    He got to be a Joker he just do what he please. - not a joker in the prankster sense, remember this is from John's point of view. John was an emotional hipster, George was cool, calm and collected. John ran hot, George ran cool. John marveling at how things that upset him seemingly rolled off George like water off a duck. Really? Paul's antics don't upset you, you got to be joking!...You got to be a Joker to just take it and go about your business and just do what you please.

    verse 2 Ringo
    He wears no shoeshine - unpolished, what you see is what you get kind of guy.

    He got monkey finger - he's kind of clumsy

    He got toe jam football - likes soccer [sport of the common man in England]

    He shoot coca cola - Ringo's favorite drink was Scotch & Coke. In 1969 coca-cola approached the Beatles to shoot commercials.
    Though a commercial was never made, still shots from photo shoot still exist. To John's artistic sense shooting a commercial would be selling out. This song was written in 1969 Ringo's willingness to endorse coca-cola is fresh in John's mind. Absolutely nobody was shooting cocaine in the 60's certainly not any of the Beatles. The drugs of the 60's grass, heroin and LSD. Cocaine came later in the 70's.

    He say "I know you you know me" - Ringo filled in for Peter Best on drumms when Best would miss gigs, when Best finally quit, Ringo was his replacement because of his familiarity not because of his talent.
    "I know you you know me" sums up why he was their drummer. At the time he wasn't the best drummer available, but he was dependable. In John's view Ringo was a reliable common man, a bit crude and clumsy, but he got the job done.

    One thing I can tell you is you got to be free - common sense advice by Ringo when Paul and John each talked about going solo or because John subconsciously thought of himself as better than the other 3 especially Ringo, he subconsciously inserts his excuse for his own bad behavior. Afterall it is the only line in the entire song using "I" as though the writer is speaking. In a playboy interview John humbly stated he grew up a 1/2 class higher than the others because they grew up in public housing and his parents owned their own home with a yard. Doing a magazine interview he knows anything he says will be public, so of course he would down play class difference. My analysis is subconsciously John thought of himself as at least 1 and a 1/2 classes better than Scotch & Coke drinking Ringo.

    verse 3 John
    He bag production - John saying "Nailed it" I bagged it as in a big game hunter bagging a trophy buck.

    He got walrus gumboot - John was proud he wrote I am the Walrus.

    He got Ono sideboard - Yoko Ono was his wife, his sideboard or support.

    He's one spinal cracker - a back breaker, a hard man.

    He got feet down below his knees - stands on his own two feet, bows a knee to no man or thing. A direct contrast to George in verse 1 sitting, meditating [bended knees] with hair down to his knees.

    Hold you in his arm chair - perhaps hold you in his arms yeah [still same meaning]
    You can feel his disease -
    Holding one in your arms you could feel them sobbing when they cry. Crying is a symptom of emotional illness. The sickness is from the strife and turmoil within the group. Sick & tired of all the in fighting.
    In his presence you can feel his disease, those close to him can feel his pain.

    Come together - calling the group to unite.
    Right now - time is of the essence
    Over Me - subconsciously John thinks only of himself....it's all about ME.

    John was not as good a man as what he thought himself to be. He basicly abandoned his 1st wife Cynthia and his 4 year old son Julian. He gave her a lump sum out of court divorce settlement of less than $200,000. He saw so little of Julian growing up that Julian later stated Paul was more of a father figure in his life than John.

    Of the 4 verses the only verse that didn't contain anything negative about the person was the verse he wrote about himself. His "disease" was John being a "poor me baby" look what I have to put up with, he plays the martyr. John views himself as a self made, back breaker of a man, standing on his own two feet and bends no knee to anyone with no need of God. Remember his infamous quote about the Beatles being bigger than Jesus? Clearly he likes George the best of the other 3, but he views him as his opposite, but weak and not his equal.
    He's dismissive of Ringo as ordinary and not as evolved as him
    self. Paul has talent and John knows it, but doesn't like him, saying what good is it to follow a leader that goes in a circle. That he saves his harshest criticism for Paul to end the song speaks volumes.

    verse 4 Paul
    He roller coaster - he has a roller coaster personality

    He got early warning - right from the start when they met as teenagers

    He got muddy water - he's got the blues

    He's one mojo filter - Paul's buzz kill attitude interferes with the band's creative juices.

    He say "One and one and one is three" - Paul had already talked about going solo, and said IF he did, the 3 remaining could carry on just fine without him.

    Got to be good looking 'cause he's so hard to see. - Paul was known as the cute Beatle. John is saying it's a good thing Paul is good looking because there is little inside him to see or worth seeing, that Paul lacks depth as a human.

    Come Together is a favorite of mine. It's an example of the sum being greater than it's individual parts. Ringo's drumming is super, George's guitar, always good but especially at the end, John's voice, Paul's aid in composing it all just blends so well together.

    If anyone feels I missed something, I'm willing to listen.



  3. 3TOP RATED

    anonymous
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    Nov 9th, 2012 11:09am report


    I only read the first part and already knew this was going to be full of bullshit. Ringo's ability was not limited, and certainly not "borderline acceptable". In fact Ringo Starr was already one of the most known drummers in liverpool at the time. The rest of the beatles themselves have said that they felt like playing with a star when ringo had just joined the band. (He was the drummer of the band "Rory Storm and the Hurricanes" which was very well known at the time and he was known to be an extraordinary drummer). IF you dont believe me maybe you'll believe the Beatles. this is the first episode of the series "the Beatles Anthology" the whole episode is very interesting but the part which is important for this is from the minute 53. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_wiKO2QaO8
    dont talk down on music legends that deserve your respect.



  4.  

    anonymous
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    Jul 28th, 7:28am report


    This is the greatest non son ever written like The Owl and the pussy-cat, and it's about nothing on particular the but people think it's about everything imaginable.



  5.  

    anonymous
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    Nov 14th, 2018 11:12am report


    Paul McCartney is still alive today.... someone’s confused... or full of $&it!



  6.  

    anonymous
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    Aug 4th, 2018 8:56pm report


    The reason the Beatles said toe Jam Football was so England to win the 1970
    World Cup
    American children and teens in those days knew nothing of soccer.
    In england Football is soccer.
    Toe Jam is athletes foot fungus in the toes.
    American kids and teens knew nothing about soccer back then.
    They thought toe Jam Football was
    Kicking an NFL Football and jamming your toe.
    In England and elsewhere in the world
    Toe Jam Football is athletes foot fungus
    Soccer.
    The song was written to make a mockery
    Out the USA, who shun Soccer, then take advantage of the so called American ignorance of soccer, to enable England to win the World Cup in 1970.



  7.  

    BEATLESFAN1989
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    Jun 27th, 2018 6:39pm report


    This song is about a dead paul mccartney laying on a gurney and people like the police, standing over him. "hold you in his armchair you can feel his disease" armchair=gurney disease=death. literally line for line is a description of a dead body. 1 and 1 and 1 is 3. Theres 3 beatles left after he died. Just re- look at the lyrics with this mindset and see what happens



  8.  

    anonymous
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    May 31st, 2018 5:13pm report


    Your interpretations are all good. None of them are exclusive. The song could have started as a political campaign song, become a poke at band members, then get denied, by John, as gobbledygook. Cheers



  9.  

    anonymous
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    Apr 26th, 2018 4:55pm report


    I think you're reaching far into psychobabbling.
    Didn't the guys grow up in a seaport town? Here come ol' flattop makes perfect sense, along with the rest of it....



  10.  

    anonymous
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    Feb 25th, 2018 2:27am report


    It's all about Paul. It's his funeral.



  11.  

    anonymous
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    Aug 21st, 2017 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



  12.  

    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!



  13.  

    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.



  14.  

    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.



  15.  

    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."



  16.  

    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...



  17.  

    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.



  18.  

    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.



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