Monday, December 10, 2012

THE MYSTERY BEHIND THE BEATLES’ SONG, “I AM THE WALRUS”

For years, there have been discussions about who played the role of the Walrus in the song “I Am The Walrus” featured in the film Magical Mystery Tour. Of course, the composition was written by John Lennon (credited to Lennon-McCartney) and he sings lead in the song, which uses the first person, “I am the Walrus” chorus. The words were filled with acid-tinged mysterious lyrics. Lennon loved the fact that teachers were starting to analyze Beatles lyrics. While writing the song, he remarked to his childhood friend Pete Shotton, who was visiting at the time, “Let the fuckers work that one out.”

In the film, we see John Lennon playing the piano and singing the song presumably in the Walrus costume. However, if you get the new Magical Mystery Tour DVD and listen to Paul’s audio commentary during the Walrus scene, Paul admits that both he and John had a little fun and both wore the Walrus costume at different points in the scene.
This sure looks like Paul in the Walrus costume!
You may recall that a year later, the Walrus issue came up again on The Beatles (White) Album. On the song, Glass Onion, we hear Lennon sing,
I Told You ‘Bout The Walrus And Me, Man
You Know That We’re About As Close As Can Be, Man
Well, Here’s Another Clue For You All
The Walrus Was Paul



Clearly, both Lennon and McCartney delighted in playing with their lyrics and putting in funny little things to see if their fans would catch them.
When the “Paul is Dead” rumour arose in the fall of 1969, college kids grabbed at the “Walrus is Paul” concept as yet another clue that Walrus’ were symbols of death. Paul became even more closely associated with the Walrus.


 


 
 However, just as some fans came to believe that the Walrus was Paul, Lennon stepped in to make things a bit more confusing.... In 1970, Lennon sang the lyrics to his song “God” which appeared on the Plastic Ono Band album. He sings:

I Was The Walrus
But now, I am John
     
And just when we thought The Walrus question couldn’t get more confused, things got even more mysterious...

In 1987, George Harrison got in on the act with his song and video from the Cloud 9 album, When We Was Fab. The video featured George on guitar, Ringo on drums and a mystery man in a Walrus costume playing left handed bass. Was it Paul? Was this a “Beatles” reunion? Unfortunately, the answer is no. 
Who is wearing the Walrus costume?
In a 1995 issue of "Record Collector, which featured an interview with Paul McCartney, he was asked, “Did you appear in George Harrison's video for "When We Was Fab"? There were stories that it was you inside the walrus costume.”

Paul replied:  “No. George wanted me to be in it but I wasn't available. So I suggested that he put someone else in a walrus costume & tell everyone that it was me. We've always had fun with the walrus thing. We don't lay many false trails but the walrus has always been one of them. Anyway, though it was me in the walrus costume in "Magical Mystery Tour", it WASN'T me in "When We Was Fab" - it was a joke between George & me, which we purposely decided not to tell anyone.”
So that leaves us with yet another mystery. Who was the Walrus in costume in George’s video? Given George’s sense of humour, he probably wanted us to spend eternity debating this silly question.

The Rock And Roll Detective® has just written a new book entitled, The Beatle Who Vanished. For more information: www.thebeatlewhovanished.com

© 2012 Rock And Roll Detective, LLC. Rock And Roll Detective® is a registered trademark of Rock And Roll Detective, LLC.

4 comments:

  1. i think that line in God by lennon "I was the walrus, but now i'm John" he was saying that there was a time when he was picturing himself as a character, but then he changed, so now he was talking about himself as a human being, as john, naked... reality.

    i don't think he was adding a new clue into the walrus game at all.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good point Maukel. Thanks for your comment!

    ReplyDelete