FT5: Beatles Songs with Subversive Lyrics

The Vatican recently saw fit to forgive The Beatles for wrongs committed against the Catholic Church. The Beatles were guilty of such crimes as: claiming they were bigger than Jesus, having kooky haircuts, and of course, making the the best pop music the world has ever known. In their musical pursuits, the controversy The Beatles fostered was often was linked to the lyrics of their songs. Maybe Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds is a reference to LSD. The fire referred to at the end of Norwegian Wood could be an act of arson. And every school boy knows that Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except For Me and My Monkey is really about one man’s unsavory love affair with a primate. For decades people have been decoding Beatles lyrics looking for any minor detail that might be inflammatory, but the fact of the matter is, many Beatles lyrics are more blatantly strange. Follow the jump for the Top 5 Beatles Songs with Subversive Lyrics


5. Boys – Please Please Me

Yes, this is a cover song and was not written by The Beatles. But think of what an odd cover choice this is. The Beatles were the biggest sex symbols on the planet. They couldn’t hear themselves play because girls were screaming so loud. And yet they decided to cover a song where the primary object of desire seems to be male. This is equivalent to the Jonas Brothers deciding to cover “It’s Raining Men.” Sure, “Boys” has lyrics about boys kissing girls, but when Ringo Starr gets fired up for the chorus and starts wailing: “Well I’m talking about Boys now/what a bundle of joy” it’s all but impossible to to imagine he is speaking of heterosexual love. Better still, The Beatles actually back up Ringo, singing “yeah yeah, boys” as if to say, “Yes, Ringo, we support this homoerotic sentiment.” The Beatles were so open-minded.

Possibly inspired: The Weather Girls – It’s Raining Men


4. Why Don’t We Do it in the Road? –The White Album

There are bad pick up lines, and then there are bad pick up lines. Why don’t we do it in the road? In honor of this ridiculous question, I would like to forgo further analysis, and instead offer the first ever Top 5 list in a Top 5 list. Here are the Top 5 Reasons Why We Shouldn’t Do it in the Road:

5. Because I haven’t consumed nearly that much alcohol.

4. Because the idea of gravel imprints on my naughty bits is enough to make me shudder.

3. Because though you seem sure that “no one will be watching us,” seeing as how you’re one of the lead singers in the most famous band ever, I’m thinking that us having sex in the middle of a road might attract some onlookers.

2. Because I obviously don’t crave attention as much as you do.

1. Because it’s unbelievably dangerous, that’s why.

Possibly inspired: Ludacris – What’s your Fantasy?


3. Dr. Robert – Revolver

Though The Beatle’s psychedelic songs may rightfully be thought of as more trippy, Dr. Robert may be the most blatant drug song in the band’s catalog. Who is Dr. Robert? No mystery here, he’s a drug pusher. The Beatles don’t seem to be shy about praising his products: “If you’re down he’ll pick you up, Dr. Robert.” Sounds good to me. It’s difficult to say what might be in “his magic cup” that will have you feeling so fine, but don’t worry. He’s a doctor.

Possibly inspired: Jay-Z – Dope Man


2. Maxwell’s Silver Hammer – Abbey Road

“Hey lads, I have an idea for a song.”

“Oh yeah, Paul? What’s it about?”

“It’s about a deranged lunatic who brutally murders people with a hammer.”

“Great! That will be perfect for our new album. You know, our album WHICH HAS LOVE AS ITS CENTRAL THEME.”

I think it’s fair to say this is the world’s cheeriest song about a serial killer. Here’s the narrative: a guy named Maxwell goes around bludgeoning people to death. That’s it. Pure Lennon/McCartney gold. It’s almost like they threw this onto Abbey Road on a dare. “I’ll bet if we make a happy enough sounding song, no one will notice that it’s about a twisted psychopath.” Mission accomplished.

Possibly inspired: Talking Heads – Psycho Killer


1. Run For Your Life – Rubber Soul

All you need is love. Unless of course your lover spurns you, then you might have to kill them. Sure, Maxwell runs up a bigger body count, but somehow this song is more disturbing. Probably because Maxwell is obviously a character, while John Lennon seems to be speaking directly about committing murder. Here’s the cheerful chorus: “better run for your life if you can little girl/ hide your head in the sand little girl/ catch you with another man/ that’s the end little girl.” In case it was ambiguous what John Lennon means by “the end” he spells it out for you: “I’d rather see you dead little girl than be with another man.” And in the end, the love you take is equal to the creepy stalker threats you make.

Possibly inspired: Eminem – 97′ Bonnie and Clyde


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