Beatles: Come Together Meaning
Song Released: 1969
Covered By: Taylor John Williams (2014), Gary Clark Jr. (2017)
Come Together Lyrics
anonymous Dec 28th, 2009 12:05am report
Let me address the lyrics everyone is missing. Two ideas here:
1) Euthanasia. "Shoot me" Says hey, I have all these diseases (which may be his own clever jokes on the beatles themselves and the various things wrong with each of them), you can feel them if you were to touch me. The armchair in question would probably refer to the bed he is sentenced to for his diseases, being in such a horrible condition. He is in pain. begging for death. Asking "I know you. You know me. One thing I can tell you is you have to be free" -> "We are friends: please set me free from this body."
Come together, right now. And kill me.
2) "Shoot me" simply is an addition to John's complaining about the hostility and aggresion between the members of the band. ->"Shoot me. Please end this. I want this done." Which could also be taken as a threat to leave the beatles.
I think much of your interpretation is accurate except for the lyrics that refer negatively to a couple of the members. You have to remember that this song was written and performed by The Beatles and its unlikely that they wrote badly about themselves. This is especially true about the John section of the song, he did "bag" the first production of the Beatles and an Ono Sideboard simply means that Yoko was always at his side.
anonymous Dec 19th, 2009 12:37am report
I always thought it was common knowledge that each of the verses was about a Beatle. I agree with the anonymous from August 23 that the order is Ringo, George, John and Paul but I disagree with the interpretation of what Paul's verse is on about.
Paul wasn't always threatening to leave the group, quite the opposite. That's why they were all angry when he was the first one to announce he'd left the group publicly - because he'd been the one who held onto being a Beatle the hardest. As for Paul suggesting the use of his father-in-law, well it turned out he was right and the guy the others chose was bad news. :) The "early warning" line could even refer to this(sarcastically, as John wouldn't have believed his choice Klein was bad at that point) - Paul was saying "You can't trust this guy, I've talked to people, they've said he isn't trustworthy" and John's mocking him "Yeah he's got early warning, right, whatever"
I tend to think the final line "Got to be good looking cause he's so hard to see" is referring to what John would have seen as Paul's putting on different faces for different people. His "good looks" allow him to put a pleasant spin on things more easily. So "he's got to be good looking", because it hides that fact that you aren't seeing him - it's like fairy glamor(which in legend fairies sprinkle to cast a spell and make things more attractive than they are).
In a way basically John was just saying Paul's a lot more complex than he seems. It's insulting and yet I don't know, in a way I always felt it was kind of a compliment too, which is weird I know but it's a lot better than all those interviews later where John went out of his way to try and paint Paul as simpleton and a hack. At least this lyric is saying he's complex, perhaps even sly, and there is more to him than meets the eye.
And I think that explains the most of the other lines as well - John saying "you aren't seeing the whole thing". "Muddy waters" - you aren't seeing clearly because the water's muddy. "Mojo Filter" - mojo is a spell or a charm, so in that sense it could refer to the spin doctoring anonymous mentions but Mojo ALSO can refer to self-confidence or personal magnetism, so again it seems to point to the idea that he's not what he seems. But I think it could be meant in the sense that Paul would often basically delude himself into thinking things could be fixed, things were better than they were. There were a couple times in interviews that John sort of alluded to that kind of trait - Paul himself not admitting what was really happening because he wanted didn't want it to happen. Paul liked to try and put a spin on things, but for himself as much as for anyone else, sort of "the power of positive thinking" gone wrong. :)
As for "roller coaster" I'm not sure(though the up and down-ness can also fit in with the "he's not as straight as he seems" theme) but Helter Skelter was Paul's song and a helter skelter is a carnival ride, maybe it refers to that. Or the songwriting schizophrenia that allowed him to make "granny" music as John called it and yet also, when he wanted to, could rock out with the best of them--which I think John found annoying because he felt Paul was wasting his time on the "granny music". So it's like a roller coaster "You can be so great but then you go and do this junk..argh!"
anonymous Oct 24th, 2009 10:01pm report
IT IS BAG PRODUCTION. So you don't know shyte. He even named his record co Bag Production from Bagism. My interpretation is at http://beatlesnumber9.com/together.html
loganator454 Oct 5th, 2009 10:07pm report
this song is simply about a strange dirty man who thinks he is all that and above but truly he is a poor sloppy man to create this image john used ideas the strange weird personality traits in which defined the beatles and gave them an over exagerated twist.
eg. he were no shoe shine he got ono sideboard he got walrus gumroot
the no shoe shin part is refering to john being the more rebellious beatle who didnt care about looking fancy by wearing shoe shine. and and john did mostly compose the song i am the wallrus
anonymous Oct 3rd, 2009 10:08am report
I was born in 1962. I remember The Beatles when they were together, but did not appreciate this in my at then young age (A family saying was "Hey Jude, your such a dude").
I remember the night of December 8, 1980, when the radio came on in one of my friends dorm rooms, during my freshman year of college, informing the world that John Lennon was dead. One of my dorm buddies said "My god, he was such a genius."
This was 1980, Rock and Roll was still alive (though starting to peter-out), and there was no such thing as "Classic Rock" radio stations. The radio mostly played Rock and Roll interspersed with current top 40s music, and I never really paid that much attention to events that happened 10 years previously (namely, the breakup of The Beatles). I judged the reaction and recognized that this John Lennon (a name I barely knew) was a person of some importance. Oh, I thought I knew something of The Beatles before this, but I didn't really know. At that time and before, people my age were mostly talking about Fleetwood Mac, Supertramp, The Cars, Cheap Trick...
It was not until after this event that I discovered The Beatles. I thought I knew their songs, but I was constantly amazed at how little I truly knew. Back in those days, the radio played "Get Back", a favorite of mine, but one which I had no clue who the artist was (there was a tendency for Rock stations not to even mention the artist). Then one day, I paid attention for some reason, and could not believe what I heard - "Get Back, by The Beatles". This did not sound like a Beatles song! This happened again with "Come Together", "Here Comes The Sun", and several others. I began to realize that The Beatles had a truly enormous range. I bought The Beatles, 1964-1966, and The Beatles, 1967-1970, and listened to the songs on a high quality stereo, and discovered the quality of their complex, elaborate songs and sound effects, sounds that were ahead of their time, and could not be appreciated merely by listening to them on the radio.
Still more amazement would follow when I heard “Blackbird”, “Dear Prudence”, and other hidden gems that were not played that much back then, and finding out they were authored by Lennon-McCartney. I was of course interested in and discovering other artists, such as Pink Floyd, other artist and albums, but I took a special interest in The Beatles, and slowly began to buy their albums.
Then I became interested in who wrote what songs (McCartney “Got to Get You Into My Life”, Lennon “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”, Harrison “Something”). Then I attempted to find the meanings of the lyrics. Slowly, enlightenment (but nothing near total), came to me.
By the mid 1980’s, I was roommates with a friend in an apartment off campus. He said “Happiness is a Warm Gun” was Lennon’s anticipation of his own death. I argued that was total nonsense. I said just listen carefully to the lyrics, the song is simple sexual innuendo, and had nothing to do with a gun (“bang-bang shoot you” does not refer to a gun!). Yet years later I found out that Lennon possibly did foreshadow his own death in an interview (another story).
That brings us to the present:
I had assumed for years that The Beatles song "Come Together" was simply a song about drug lord(s) or dealers. All the lyrics seem to reference drugs and/or the effect drugs have on a person. "Come Together, Right Now, Over Me", would be a reference to a meeting of drug lords or dealers. "He bag production" would mean someone who produces or makes drugs. "He shoot coca-cola" refers to the drugs that the drug dealer sells and uses. "You can feel his disease" is a reference to drug dealing, which is a “disease” or sorts. “He say one and one and one is three” is a reference to the haggling of cash for drugs.
Yes The Beatles took drugs, as did many others their age and younger in the '60s. But not to great excess, and they did not loose sight of the moral dilemma of drug over-use and drug dealing.
However, recently I've read about The Beatles and the Abbey Road album. The four Beatles knew the end was near, and they wanted to go out on a high note. There were deep divisions in the band since the White Album, which effected their ability to come together as a group and make a good album. It is clear from their music (since the White Album) that The Beatles were drifting apart musically and personally.
Part of the reason for this was that George Martin had been put in control for the earlier classic albums, but in the later albums the individual Beatles had taken this power away, and unfortunately this turned out to be a bad thing. For example, the Get Back / Let It Be project had almost turned into a fiasco (but a brilliant fiasco at that).
On this last album, the four Beatles agreed to "take one for the band", and allowed George Martin absolute control again over the final product (George Martin has arguably and deservedly been referred to as the "Fifth Beatle").
George Martin has stated that "Come Together" is a personal favorite of his.
There are four sets of lyrics, referring to four people. Suddenly, the true hidden meaning becomes clear, after all these years!
Each set of lyrics refers to one of The Beatles. The "Come Together, Right Now, Over Me" is a direct reference to George Martin. The four Beatles were to "Come Together, Right Now", under/over George Martin, “take one for the band”, and go out on a “high note”. They were to relinquish control back to George Martin regarding the final product and arrangement.
John (and the other Beatles) knew they would not last much past this album. He wrote this song as a tribute to the four Beatles who were to come together under George Martin, and make a truly collaborative masterpiece album.
And thank God that The Beatles did this. Abbey Road is their swan song, a true masterpiece that I believe rank as their finest, most compact concept album of all time. And yet Lennon only rated it as a “competent album”!
Of course, the song “Come Together” was probably improvised along the way. John Lennon himself said the lyrics to “Come Together” were intentionally made obscure. The lyrics were obscured with the double entendre meaning referring to a meeting of drug lords. Paul McCartney, George Martin, and Ringo Star are the few still living who know the true meaning of the song, and they aren't talking. And we don't want them to talk! That would spoil the pun.
Now I truly appreciate this song for what it was/is, the first song on the Abbey Road album, which is an introduction and a final tribute to the four Beatles and their "coming together" under George Martin, so they could go out on a high note.
When they were photographed going across Abbey Road, Paul McCartney, knowing the lyric "he wear no shoe shine" was in some manner about him, improvised on the spot, and removed his shoes for this photo.
And so I find that I continue to discover The Beatles.
Winnipegger Sep 26th, 2009 9:14am report
Note that this song got John sued by Chuck Berry for plagerism, because of it's similarity to Berry's song "You Can't Catch Me".
Berry's song contains the line,"Here come a flat-top, he was movin' up with me..."; in "Come Together", this is changed to "Here come old flat-top, he come groovin' up slowly".
The lawsuit partly led to Lennon's solo album "Rock and Roll", in which he did cut the Berry song.
I have a novel idea! How about the real interpretation directly from the Beatles.
JOHN 1969: "'Come Together' changed at the session. We said, 'Let's slow it down. Let's do this to it, let's do that to it,' and it ends up however it comes out. I just said, 'Look, I've got no arrangement for you, but you know how I want it.' I think that's partly because we've played together a long time. So I said, 'Give me something funky and set up a beat, maybe.' And they all just joined in."
PAUL 1969: "On the new album I like 'Come Together,' which is a great one of John's."
JOHN 1980: "'Come Together' is me-- writing obscurely around an old Chuck Berry thing. I left the line 'Here comes old flat-top.' It is nothing like the Chuck Berry song, but they took me to court because I admitted the influence once years ago. I could have changed it to 'Here comes old iron face,' but the song remains independent of Chuck Berry or anybody else on earth. The thing was created in the studio. It's gobbledygook-- 'Come Together' was an expression that Tim Leary had come up with for his attempt at being president or whatever he wanted to be, and he asked me to write a campaign song. I tried and I tried, but I couldn't come up with one. But I came up with this, 'Come Together,' which would've been no good to him-- you couldn't have a campaign song like that, right? Leary attacked me years later, saying I ripped him off. I didn't rip him off. It's just that it turned into 'Come Together.' What am I going to do, give it to him? It was a funky record-- it's one of my favorite Beatle tracks, or, one of my favorite Lennon tracks, let's say that. It's funky, it's bluesy, and I'm singing it pretty well. I like the sound of the record. You can dance to it. I'll buy it!" (laughs)
Come together - Beatles
I think this song refers to the history of humanity, arts and sciences
HE COME OLD FLATTOP
at the beginning we were nothing else but warms and reptiles
HE COME GROOVING UP SLOWLY
after that we started climbing trees and mountains
HE GOT JOO-JOO EYEBALLS
we discovered we had eyes (joojoo eyeballs)
HE ONE HOLY ROLLER
we also noticed that we were something better than the other animals, we were clever holy rollers
HE GOT HAIR DOWN TO HIS KNEE
we got hair down to our knees
GOT TO BE A JOKER HE JUST DO WHAT HE PLEASE
we must have humor
HE WEAR NO SHOE-SHINE,
we didn't wear shoes
HE GOT TOE-JAM FOOTBALL
HE GOT MONKEY-FINGER,
we continiued to discover our body
HE SHOOT COCA-COLA
? sometimes we druged
HE SAY I KNOW YOU, YOU KNOW ME
language just created!
ONE THING I CAN TELL YOU IS YOU GOT TO BE FREE.
Off course we ve got to be free
COME TOGETHER RIGHT NOW...OVER ME
poet gathered people around him, or her- who knows?
SsT! SsT! SsT!
the poet imposes silence
HE BAG PRODUCTION
we stored the production
HE GOT WALRUS GUM-BOOT
HE GOT ONO SIDEBOARD
we builded temples
HE ONE SPINAL CRACKER
we made mechanic inventions
HE GOT FEET DOWN BELOW HIS KNEE
HOLD YOU IN HIS ARMCHAIR YOU CAN FEEL HIS DISEASE
thinking is a diseasing hobby
think about the rest!
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"
anonymous Sep 12th, 2009 9:12pm report
From what I read/heard years ago, this song is totally about John and is his plea to his fellow bandmates to "come together" during the in-fighting at the time within the group. I also read that John loved to play around with lyrics on purpose to get us fans wondering what's what, so in any case, any interpretations one could come up with could have no basis, whatsoever! That said, here is my possible take on it:
"..got joo-joo eyeball he one holy roller..."
Possibly refers to John's bespeckled look (i.e. His glasses) and his developing spirituality.
"He got hair down to his knee
Got to be a joker he just do what he please"
..his long hair at the time and his well-known penchant for being daring and outspoken.
"...he shoot coca-cola..."
Perhaps in reference to John's cocaine addiction at the time.
"He bag production..."
John's reference to his "extra-curricular" activities with Yoko.
"He got Ono sideboard..."
His relationship with Yoko.
"..He say "One and one and one is three"..."
Referring to his bandmates, Paul, George and Ringo.
"Got to be good-looking 'cause he's so hard to see.."
John possibly poking fun at himself in that his hair was so long you couldn't see his face.
I've also just heard that "shoot me" is whispered by John just before each verse. Some say it is fact, some, a rumor. I also just read it is actually a rotary phone that was used to make the sound. Honestly, I don't hear John say "shoot me" at all. I only just found out about it because my niece bought Rock Band yesterday and "Shoot Me" comes up in the lyrics. Another person on a site said that they saw John perform this song live (post-Beatles)on a show and that he actually just says, "shoop".
I realize we all have this need to know in our genes but could it be quite possible that the joke is on all of us and the song has no meaning at all. But if I have to give it any meaning I would say the song is very autobiograghical, at about this time the Beatles were falling apart. The she loves you yeah yeah yeah days were gone they just grew apart as a group. it wasn't that much later John wrote ....I don't beleive in Beatles I just believe in me Yoko and me that's reality. The dream was over or finishing by the time Abby Road was recorded.
anonymous Aug 28th, 2009 8:50pm report
I believe John wrote the song exclusively about Paul. He makes many derogatory comments in the song about Paul stemming from his resentment about the bands eminent dissolution. He made references in many other songs during that time. He blames Paul for the break up, founded or unfounded. He makes references to Paul being a 'holy roller' inferring that Paul thinks he's better than him morally. The "walrus gumboot" line (gumboot is a mollusk that is a bottom feeder) implies his ideas like the walrus are not his own. Ono sideboard implies that Yoko is just an excuse to break up the band. He got 'early warning' he knew that he was leaving the band before the rest knew, the One+One+One=only 3 left! Finally, he's 'got to be good looking' and charm is a fake front and he is a back stabber. I like Paul, but that's what I think.
anonymous Aug 4th, 2009 8:40am report
When trying to understand these lyrics, you have to realize that when this song was written it was meant to not have a clear understandable meaning or at least not one that could be perfectly fit into one commonly accept answer, for that, I believe, would be dangerous for such a song about Jesus.
Picture Jesus walking up, as if an entrance in a movie, what would you see?
The Beatles were all about metaphors and this first verse is about what his persona would be like. Jesus probably was a pretty entertaining guy, he got a lot of people to follow him because he was probably a pretty happy person.
Here come old flattop he come grooving up slowly
He got joo-joo eyeball he one holy roller
He got hair down to his knee
Got to be a joker he just do what he please
This next verse probably refers to his sandals at first. Monkey finger probably means that he is man and shooting coca-cola, refers to happiness and togetherness, after all that is what all of the advertising made it seem to be.
He wear no shoeshine 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
Come together right now over me
I cannot explain the first two lines because, I'm sure it has personal meaning, more metaphors and such. The next line has something to do with a strong foundation, feet below his knees. His armchair as you may see Jesus holding children in his arm chair, his disease being Love.
He bag production he got walrus gumboot
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
Come together right now over me
Jesus had a pretty rocky early life, I can imagine, because he was born out of wed-lock. and there is evidence to back up a prediction that someone like him was coming. The muddy water is probably the tax-collectors and sinners that were very present at that time, and he was the Mojo filter. He said One and One and One is three, probably referring to the Trinity. And Jesus was probably a pretty good looking guy, but we have no idea.
He roller-coaster he got early warning
He got muddy water he one mojo filter
He say "One and one and one is three"
Just my understanding of these lyrics, agree with them or not, they may help clear some things up. But we don't know so that is probably what made this a pretty popular song.
Got to be good-looking 'cause he's so hard to see
Come together right now over me
anonymous Jul 28th, 2009 7:13pm report
Grant Kaumura! How stupid are you! I know a bunch of songs where George sang lead!!!! They are...
"Love You To"
"Within You Without You"
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps"
"I Want To Tell You"
"Blue Jay Way" and finally
So there! He did sing lead!
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