Beatles: Come Together Meaning
Song Released: 1969
Covered By: Taylor John Williams (2014), Gary Clark Jr. (2017)
Come Together Lyrics
cmatthews926 Nov 19th, 2008 11:40pm report
The highest rated interpretation was definitely on the right track I think, but i'd like to embellish and expand a bit on their description while sharing my view. Firstly, it is true that he wrote the song for Timothy Leary's gubernatorial campaign. The line "Come together over me" possesses a nuanced political quality, while maintaining a level ambiguity. I think John left this one out to dry a bit so people could individually interpret the meaning. Now, the rest of the song obscurely describes 4 people (or one eccentric person with multiple personalities). Either way, Let's stray away from the latter to reduce a bit of speculation. Suppose that they are John's enigmatic interpretations of how he viewed himself and his band-mates. Not all the lines in each verse specifically point to a person, but the lines I have listed below indicate some clues as to who is who in the song. Perhaps the other lines such as the "monkey finger" and "joo-joo eyeball" were utilized to add to the overall blues tone and swagger of the song:
1st Verse : George Harrison
- He come groovin' up slowly (possibly because he's a guitarist)
- He one "Holy Roller" (regards to his Indian influence, and meditative spirituality)
- Hair down to to his knee (self-explanatory I hope)
2nd Verse: Ringo Starr
- He wear no sunshine he got toe jam football (I feel John is decribing Ringo's clumsy demeanor here)
- He shoot coca-cola (Interestingly enough this is not referring to Cocaine, he tricked us! Supposedly it's related to Ringo's favorite alcoholic beverage which is mixed with Coca-Cola)
3rd Verse: Yours Truly
- Walrus gumboot (Magical mystery tour disguise?)
- Ono Sideboard (Duh)
- Feet down below his knee (Perhaps referring to himself as the foundation of the band)
- Hold you in his armchair you can feel his disease (Maybe if we were all lucky enough to get close to John Lennon, we could have seen how much personal turmoil he endured)
4th Verse: Paul McCartney
- He roller coaster (inconsistent and unstable)
- I feel that the Muddy water and Mojo filter lines are juxtaposed to the 1 and 1 and 1 is 3 line. Notice how Muddy and Filter are things that tend to obscure certain substances or ideas. However, 1 and 1 and 1 is 3 is a pretty straightforward concept. The comparison of these two lyrics exemplifies the overall inconsistency of Paul's involvement with the band.
-Got to be good looking because he's so hard to see (Was notorious for being the "cute one" in the band, perhaps according to John no one knew his true colors.)
PHEW! Hope that clarifies a bit. Again it's just my opinion, perhaps someone else can expand a bit on my interpretation as well.
anonymous Oct 22nd, 2008 10:31pm report
I feel like this song is about john's death, actually. There is still some speculation as to if John knew he was going to die. If you listen to the words, it's really creepy because it's describing Mark Chapman. The song is definitely about death, yes, no matter whose it is, but I always had this feeling that John Lennon knew something was going to happen to him. I've taken "come together, right now, over me" as people coming together, unifying over his grave. I could be, of course, wrong, but I've always had a gut feeling about it.
anonymous Oct 22nd, 2008 10:50pm report
I have a feeling it is about the time they were in. The Beatles were amazing artist and the best poets. most likely they could entangle many things to bring up ideas on their lyrics. For instance at the hype of Paul is dead faze the no shoe shine and lots of other lyrics imply more of the great hoax. further more the theory that each verse is of a Beatles was a possibility in the minds of the fab four also. However many of the lyrics can also apply to most everyone around them. with long hair, shooting (coca cola) drug use and the hippy days. In all the Beatles enjoy toying with words and baffling many.
anonymous Sep 26th, 2008 9:52pm report
Just a thought...but come together "over me" seems to be the exact opposite of "under God". My meaning is let your own freak flag fly and don't let anyones beliefs tell you how to live your life.
anonymous Sep 23rd, 2008 9:14am report
Listen to the lyrics properly, any one who knows anything about drug lingo will see that this song is about a drugs user's relationship with his addiction - come together is the coming together of the user and the drug.
Monkey fingers= heroin addiction
shoots coca-cola= cocaine
anonymous Sep 6th, 2008 9:12pm report
Of the interpretations I have read on this site, mine
most closely resembles 2007-05-20 07:22:10
The key figure is Jesus Christ. He is Old flattop.
He is the Holy roller. He say one and one and one is three
is a reference to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
This song is hardly an aberration in this respect because
many songs feature Jesus as the focal point. An example is
"All you need is Love"...the line "There's no one you
can save that can't be saved" only makes real sense when applied to Jesus, The Saviour.
Back to Come Together, I can't say I could interpret
every nuance of the song but I'd like to include some discussion about how the song shifts from a description
of Jesus to Words that sound as if they are uttered by
Jesus Himself..."Come together, right now
over Me" This "duet" type of quality is featured by many
artists even if they sing the entire song. One interesting duet is that of Baba O'Reilly by The Who.
Roger Daltrey seems to channel the words of Christ
while Pete Townsend seems to offer some description of Him.
Again back to "Come Together"...The line "I know you,
You know me, One thing I can tell you is you've got to be free." sounds like Jesus again speaking and referring to
freedom from sin.
anonymous Aug 27th, 2008 8:50pm report
Well first of all I really don't know what this all could mean but it may have something to do with the noise I think Paul makes, it is not a noise it is a word. listen very very closely.
It's really sad that anyone would think so little of John Lennon to suppose that this song is about nothing but drugs.
We all know he used drugs and in many ways was a tormented soul, but at his core he wanted nothing more than to bring peace and love to the world. This song was one of many he wrote with that purpose in mind.
anonymous Jul 8th, 2008 7:15pm report
"He got monkey finger he shoot coca-cola"
monkey finger = marijuana rolled up into a cigar/ brown wrap
shoot coca-cola = pretty obvious here guys, shoot some cocaine
song clearly has meanings of drugs in it, what else is new
anonymous Jul 2nd, 2008 7:01am report
John Lennon was quite interested in James Joyce and very fond of the use of multivalent puns, ambiguous metaphors and arbitrary free-association in his books and lyrics. "Come Together" is a series of such allusions that vaguely refer to aspects a personality being characterized or parodied in each verse. He basically beats around the bush, making allusions to the sort of person he's lampooning or warning about. The verses are capricious and arbitrary, but not random, and they're ambiguous, but not meaningless. It's not unusual for The Beatles in general and Lennon in particular to sing a different word on the recording than is given in the printed lyrics in the liner
notes. They tone of voice used in the recordings is required to interpret Beatles lyrics, as it contains substantial information about the attitude, emphasis and intended sentence structure of the lyrics.
Here come old flattop he come grooving up slowly
(this line occurs verbatim in an early R&B or rockabilly song, as well as in a Rolling Stones song.)
He got joo-joo eyeball he one holy roller
(Juju is a form of African magic. A JuJu Eyeball may a reference to "the evil eye", or the phrase may have metamorphosed from "goo-goo eyes" a sort of ogling expression, which would be a reference to the sexual frustration of orthodox religiousness. For better or worse, John Lennon occasionally slips the word (or cognates for the word) "jew" into songs. If that's the case Jew-Jew may be a reference to judeo-christian religious attitudes, or the stereotype of obedient orthodoxy, which would re-enforce the meaning of "holy roller". Holy roller is a multivalent pun for someone who compulsively rolls marijuana joints, and for someone who is a religious fanatic, or profoundly superstitious and zealous)
He got hair down to his knee (a typical long-haired hippie. The song was written before reggae/bob marley happened, otherwise this would refer to dreadlocks and the way fanatical rastafarians smoke pot constantly) Oddly the Eyeball/Knee combination are both singular, which tends to establish that Lennon is using a sort of pidgin english in this song. The syntax and grammar in each verse are consistently peculiar. Sort of the way you'd expect "Tarzan the Ape Man" to talk in an old movie.
Got to be a joker he just do what he please (this is a paraphrase of "Do your Own Thing" which was kind of a hippie motto of the 1960s. a joker is a wild card, doesn't take anything seriously, also a jester, a clown. These meanings of "joker" are mutually re-enforcing. Lennon's basically calling religious fanatics a
bunch of clowns here.) (the use of "do" instead of the grammatically correct "does" reenforces the pidgin english style.)
He wear no shoeshine he got toe-jam football (both of these allusions are to feet and footwear. Toe-Jam is a double meaning: it can refer to the gunk that builds up between the toes in people that seldom bathe, or to a foot injury from playing rugby or soccer. Football refers ambiguously to the sports soccer/rugby/football.)
He got monkey finger he shoot coca-cola (monkey finger is a double entendre referring to "having a monkey" or "having a monkey on one's back" which is a euphemism for being a narcotics addict. "He shoot coca-cola" is a reference to cocaine. Note the singular form of the word referring to a normally plural body part. Monkey Finger may also be an oblique phallic reference. Drug addicts are often notoriously impotent or sexually frustrated.)
He say "I know you, you know me" One thing I can tell you is you got to be free
('i know you, you know me' may be a reference to people casually calling each other 'brother' or bonding on the most superficial things they have in common. This phrase is mostly just a trivially friendly conundrum. It's also the kind of line used to hit ip a vague acquaintance for a
favor - something that happened frequently to Lennon. This character's lip service to freedom is an ironic one, since drug addicts are usually perceived as enslaved by habit.)
Come together right now over me
He bag production he got walrus gumboot
(bag production may be an allusion to "Bagism" an odd art concept invented by Yoko Ono. If the line is actually "He back production" the line is an allusion to a well-heeled, wealthy record producer.) (Walrus, is probably a recurrence of the "walrus" allusion in "I am the Walrus" and may be a way for Lennon to sign this verse as being
cryptically autobiographical. Gumboot may be an allusion to "Gumshoe" a type of detective or investigator. It may also be a reference to a leg cast for a broken bone.)
He got Ono sideboard he one spinal cracker
(supposedly this is an allusion to Lennon relying on Yoko Ono for support while he was in the hospital. Spinal cracker may refer to back injuries or chiropractics. I always heard this line as "he want spinal cracker")
He got feet down below his knee
(A humorous tautology, and a recapitulation of the earlier "hair down to his knee" line. There's something banal, mundane or almost sarcastically trivial about this observation. May refer to/be based on this anecdote about Abraham Lincoln. Supposedly Lincoln was asked how long a man's legs should be and Lincoln replied "just long enough to reach the ground".)
Hold you in his armchair you can feel his disease
(this is a linking together of two phrases, using what James Joyce called a "Portamanteu word" Such sentences seem to make sense but rely on fairly forced metaphors for meaning. The notion of "disease" recapitulates the medical connotations of 'spinal cracker') (This line also kind of sends chills down my spine. If this verse refers to an effete, controlling, wealthy chair-bound record executive, the image evoked is rather creepy.)
Come together right now over me
He roller-coaster he got early warning
(here the word "roller" occurs again. Roller-coaster may be both a mode of locomotion, an attitude, or an ideology. Roller coasters are also a form of self-amusement, or a thrill ride. "early warning" is possibly a reference to mystical precognition, or a reference to the Cold War "Early Warning Systems" used to detect incoming nuclear missiles.)
He got muddy water he one mojo filter
("Muddy Waters" is a famous blues singer. Mojo is a term used in the Southern United States to refer to magic, particularly New Orleans voodoo magic practiced by african-americans. "Filter" may actually be "Philter" which is a kind of magical charm or potion. This line may actually be "He want Mojo Philter" Mojo Filter can also be interpreted as an amusing brand-name for filter cigarettes.)
He say "One and one and one is three"
(this is a trivial tautology, again. But it's also a reference to "Third Times a Charm" and the superstitious aura around the number 3. Again the "say" is pidgin grammar.)
Got to be good-looking 'cause he's so hard to see
(this is just plain funny. It's about overcompensating for low self-esteem, or imagined/real low social standing by contriving things to attract attention to oneself.)
Come together right now over me
(oddly, this line coming after "early warning" evokes the image of the uranium slugs in a atomic bomb smashing together overhead. Global nuclear war may be a threat uniting all of humanity. There's a somewhat notorious and funny novelty song that was fairly well known in the 1960s by Tom Lehrer called "We'll all go together when we go" with that theme. It's unlikely this meaning was intended by Lennon, but somewhat fits the ominous feeling tone of the song.)
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