Written by: John Lennon & Paul McCartney
Released: June 1, 1967
Appears on: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Lead vocal: John
"Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" has turned into one of the least understood Beatles songs, fueled by the persistent myth that the nouns in the title purposefully spell out LSD. This is not the case - the truth is a lot more innocent than that. Julian, John's son, came home with a drawing of a friend in school, which he called 'Lucy in the sky with diamonds'. Thus, the inspiration for "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" was born. I can't tell you how many times, as a Beatles fan, that I've had to correct people about that.
Anyway, the song itself is really the first true psychedelic song on the album, featuring a trippy intro played by Paul on a Lowrey organ that really feels like you're descending into someone's imagination. George gets lead and acoustic guitar parts. Ringo plays a fantastic drum part (probably his best on the album). Surprisingly, even though he is the singer, John only plays guitar on the track, sharing lead duties with George. I really love John's double-tracked vocal here. It's really dream-like and adds to the whole atmosphere of the song.
The lyrics are perfect stuff about really nothing but images and a series of visions. It feels more like John is describing a painting than a real event. I still want to know what it's like to ride in a newspaper taxi, though.
The song was never released as a single, although Elton John's tastefully done cover (on which John appears) reached #1 in 1975. The Beatles' original has appeared on 1967-1970 and remixed on the Yellow Sumbarine Songtrack. As an animation buff, I still marvel at the "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" sequence. It's probably the finest sequence in the film and one the highlights of 1960's animation.
I really love this song. It's got to be a great example of how the Beatles never lost their taste for straight-up rock 'n' roll even as a studio-bound band.