Inspiration and Song StructureEdit
The song was originally written as three independent songs by Lennon. One was inspired by the up and down patterns of a police siren (the "mister city p'licemen" portion). Another was an odd line about cornflakes ("sitting on a cornflake/waiting for the van to come"). The third was a tune about sitting in his garden ("sitting in an English garden/waiting for the sun). One line of the song was taken from a nursery rhyme. Lennon had asked his friend, Peter Shotton, to remind him of the lyrics to. The rhyme went:
- Yellow matter custard, green slop pie, all mixed together with a dead dog's eye,
Slap it on a butty, ten foot thick, then wash it all down with a cold cup of sick
(the rhyme inspired the lyric "Yellow matter custard, dripping from a dead dog's eye")
"I Am the Walrus" was also inspired by the Lewis Carroll poem, "The Walrus and The Carpenter." Lennon was later dismayed as he found out that the Walrus in the poem is in fact the villain, who represented capitalism.
The song was also written in response to a letter he recieved about how a teacher had begun to analyze songs of the Beatles. The song was intentionally written to decieve those trying to find a meaning within the song.
The intro lyric "I am he/as you are he/as you are me/and we are all together" is a boiled down version of Indian philosophy.
The line "elementary penguin singing Hare Krishna" is a political statement aimed at blind worship of religion. The "penguins" were praying without aking why. This is an example of Lennon incorporating obscure lyrics into his songs, which was inspired by Bob Dylan.
The lyric "semolina pilchard climbing up the Eiffel Tower" which occurs just before the above is a dig at DS Norman Pilcher of the Drug Squad, who was notorious for cracking down on pop/rock stars and for using often dubious methods in doing so.
This song is rumored to be inspired by LSD. This may or may not be true, as it is widely known The Beatles experimented with the then legal "wonder drug."
"I Am the Walrus" is famous for its unique chord structure, which uses each letter in the musical alphabet in succession (A-B-C-D-E-F-G). The bridge of this song (sitting in an English garden ...) basically is still following this main pattern, but starting on a B chord, rather than an A chord.
After the chorus of, "I am the eggman (woo) they are the eggman (woo) I am the Walrus", Lennon exclaims a series of nonsence words, spelled "goo goo g'joob" (as in the lyrics in the album state).
Towards the end of the song, a choir sings the lines "oompah oompah stick it in your jumper!" and "got one got one everybody's got one!" The latter of the two lines has often been mistaken as "smoke pot smoke pot everybody smoke pot," but this is completely false. These lines also came from a nursery rhyme.
The song has virtually no meaning. As said above, the lines have partial meanings, and references to many things, a favorite of Lennon's.
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- The song makes a reference to "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" in the line "See how they fly like Lucy in the Sky."
- This song is referenced in "Glass Onion" by saying "the walrus was Paul."
- This song was covered in the Beatles movie-musical Across the Universe by Bono who was playing a man called Dr. Roberts (referencing the song Doctor Robert by The Beatles) in the film.
- The line "goo-goo-ga-joob' is a reference to the book "Finnegan's Wake", in which Humpty-Dumpty exclaims "goo-goo-ga-joob!" before he falls and breaks his head.
- A dramatization of Shakespeare's King Lear (Act IV, Scene 6) can be heard throughout the song.
- A episode of the Nickelodeon television show Spongebob Squarepants the original title of the episode was named "I am the starfish" because Patrick writes a song that makes no sense much like what many people think about "I am the walrus".
- Who actually is the walrus remains a total mystery. Although John is the one singing the "I Am The Walrus" lines, in "Glass Onion" he says, "I told you 'bout the walrus and me, man * Yeah, we're about as close as can be man * Well here's another clue for you all * The walrus was Paul." Also, in Lennon's solo song "God", he tells us, "I was the walrus, but now I'm John." Also, on the back of the Magical Mystery Tour album, underneath the words "I Am The Walrus", the words: "'No you aren't,' Little Nicola said." ▬ Nicola is a character in MMT film.
- The extra instrumental intermission that leads to "Yellow Matter Custard" only exists in mono because it's only on the US single.
- The Walrus represents death in Nordic Culture(Paul was the walrus due to the conspiricy about him dying in the 1960s)