The Meanings, Stories, and Myths Behind Top Beatles Songs

Of all the bands in rock history, no group has had their lyrics scrutinized like the Beatles have. The Liverpool lads took the world by storm in the 1960s and even though they broke up in 1970, their legacy lives on, but you know that already. Many of their songs had multiple meanings, some of which were easy to define, others not so much. What we're trying to do here is bring you some of the history behind the songs, at least what we think we know. Trying to mull through conspiracy theories, myths, and other things surrounding Beatles songs isn't easy, especially with their biggest hits.

That said, every song has a story and a backstory. Sometimes they go together and other times, well, not so much. But people will believe what they want to believe when it comes to their favorite songs and favorite band. When a band like The Beatles creates something, there's always a meaning behind it. There are common misconceptions - look no further than "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" - and we're here to help explain some of the meanings behind Beatles songs you may not have known before.
Photo: flickr / CC0

  • Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds
    Video: YouTube

    When people think of this song off Sgt. Pepper's, the first thought that comes to mind is that it's a subtle nod to an LSD trip, right? WRONG. The John Lennon-penned track is actually about a girl named Lucy surrounded by, you guessed it, diamonds. Yep, Lennon's son Julian drew a picture of a mate named Lucy surrounded by diamonds in the sky, thus a song and myth were born.

    (Listen at 0:23 to hear)
  • Norweigan Wood
    Video: YouTube

    When John opens the song by singing "I had a girl, or should I say, she once had me," he's (allegedly) referring to, in nearly plain sight, his affair with an unnamed girl.

    (Have a listen at the 0:05 mark)

  • She Came in Through the Bathroom Window
    Video: YouTube

    Sometimes a band's biggest fans could be the biggest loons. This song off Abbey Road, written by Paul McCartney, refers to the time when superfan Diane Ashley put a ladder next to Paul's house to, well, climb in through a window.

    (Listen at the 30 second mark to hear Paul's plight)
  • Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite
    Video: YouTube

    This song alludes to John Lennon's musings on the power of advertising. Lennon bought a poster for Pablo Fanque's Circus Royal, and Mr. Kite is William Kite, who happened to work for the circus from 1843-1845. If you listen to the lyrics closely (in particularly the first four verses), you'll hear Lennon's singing about the items from that poster.

    (Listen at the 10 second mark to hear about the show)
  • Dear Prudence
    Video: YouTube

    During The Beatles's most psychedelic phase, which came around the time of The White Album, they went to India with George Harrison leading the way, to become immersed in eastern culture. They also brought pal Mia Farrow, who in turn brought her sister Prudence, who became very dedicated to the meditation that they were practicing. Due to this, she became reclusive and didn't socialize much. Thus, when Lennon sings, "Dear Prudence, why don't you come out to play" he's speaking directly to her and the words also focus on the beauty of nature.

    (Listen around the 27 second mark)
  • Come Together
    Video: YouTube

    As one of the most decorated songs in The Beatles's catalog, a lot of people pinpoint this song's meaning to the psychedelic sound. While they're right about that, they probably don't realize that "Come Together" was initially inspired by LSD creator Timothy Leary's California gubernatorial campaign against Ronald Reagan. Once that fizzled due to his arrest for marijuana possession, there were various hypotheses about the song with the most popular being that each verse ominously refers to each band member.

    (Listen for yourself to hear at the 20 second mark.)