Come Together and know what the song really means | Reviewer: WHOOBEATLES!
This is what the song really is about:
OK, the meaning of the lyrics are actually quite clear and relevant if you know some history about the Beatles and are somewhat familiar with the idioms and slang of the era:
"HERE COME OL' FLAT-TOP,
HE COME GROOVIN' UP SLOWLY.
HE GOT HAIR DOWN TO HIS KNEE,
GOT TO BE A JOKER HE JUST DO WHAT HE PLEASE."
This verse references Ringo. "Flat-Top" makes reference to Ringo's bluesy musical roots and the disparaging stereotype that was often applied to those that played that style of music.
"Groovin' up slowly" refers to the fact that Ringo was the last to join the final and 'official' line-up of the band, yet his drumming ability was very limited and borderline acceptable at the beginning, especially compared to the abilities of the rest of the band. As he honed his skill, he slowly became better and better at holding down the beat of the music, or 'groove' as it was also loosely referred to. As the group continued to record and release music, his talent slowly came up to the standards of the other three.
"He got hair down to his knee" simply refers to the fact that Ringo had a longer, shaggy hairstyle when he joined the band, while the other three had the short, close-cropped style favored by the 'mods' of the day.
"Got to be a joker he just do what he please" is obvious: Ringo was the funny one, the 'cut-up' of the group and he often said and did bizzarre and unexpected things in formal situations the group found themselves in during the early years. His enthusiastic, upbeat attitude was a major influence of the early writings of John and Paul.
"HE WEAR NO SHOE-SHINE,
HE GOT TOE-JAM FOOTBALL.
HE GOT MONKEY-FINGER,
HE SHOOT COCA-COLA.
HE SAY I KNOW YOU, YOU KNOW ME.
ONE THING I CAN TELL YOU IS YOU GOT TO BE FREE.
The subject of this verse is George. "He wear no shoe-shine" is a reference to going to bare-foot, a quite-common state of dress that George adopted once he became so enamored of the Indian Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Bare feet and simple robes were the accepted dress of the followers of the Yogi, and George's influence quickly spread to the other three Beatles.
Toe-Jam football is just a reference to bare-foot 'soccer' style football playing, the common social outdoor activity practiced by many while worshipping at the yogi's temple.
"Monkey-Finger" refers to George's manual dexterity and amazing abilty to master many, many different styles of stringed intruments, notably the 'sitar', an almost unknown instrument at the time that he was introduced to and quickly learned how to play while worshipping at the yogi's temple.
"He shoot coca-cola" is obvious: 'coca-cola' is street-slang for cocaine, a drug that George, as well as the others, would often 'shoot up' directly into thier veins.
"I know you, you know me...we got to be free" is simply the basic premise of the entire teachings of the Yogi, that George was so whole-heartadly promoting to his fellow bandmates.
"COME TOGETHER RIGHT NOW...OVER ME" refers to the message the Yogi deleivered to the band asa group that would supposedly heal the growing rift and dissention between the four members of the band and unite them as a single cohesive unit once again.
"HE BAD (NOT 'BAG') PRODUCTION,
HE GOT WALRUS GUM-BOOT.
HE GOT ONO SIDEBOARD,
HE ONE SPINAL CRACKER,
HE GOT FEET DOWN BELOW HIS KNEE,
HOLD YOU IN HIS ARMCHAIR YOU CAN FEEL HIS DISEASE.
No questions about this one, it's about John all the way:
"Bad production" refers to John's increasing level of drug use and the negative effect it had on his abilty to effectivly create acceptable music with the rest of the band, and to function with the rest of the band.
John was the 'Walrus' referred to in the 'I am the Walrus; lyrics', clearly this refers to him.(notwithstanding the later lyric 'the walrus was Paul' from "Glass onion")
A 'sideboard' is the term used when attorneys would be called away from a trial during court for private discussion. "Ono sideboard" makes refernce to the growing distraction that the rest of the band felt Yoko Ono was having on John.
John's increasing uncooperative attitude towards the professional and musical direction the rest of the band wanted to follow manifested itself in John constantly griping and complaining to the others, or in slang terms "breaking thier backs", a term referenced with 'spinal cracker'.
"Feet down below his knee" also makes refernce to his stubborn, uncompromising desire to do things his way only with little or no regard for the rest of the band's wishes. To give in was to be seen as being on 'your knees', but John had 'feet below his knees', so there was no way he was going to kneel(stand on his knees) and be subserviant when he could 'stand on his feet' and be the decison-maker.
"Hold you in his armchair (possibly..."arms, yeah...) you can feel his disease" refers to the fact that John's tough exterior persona barely fooled anyone, as his self-loathing and self-doubt, fueled and magnified by increasingly excessive drug use began to consume him. To be close to , or to 'hold him in your arm...' was to know the real John, where one could 'feel his disease'.
"HE ROLLER COASTER,
HE GOT EARLY WARNING.
HE GOT MUDDY WATER,
HE ONE MOJO FILTER.
HE SAY ONE AND ONE AND ONE IS THREE
GOT TO BE GOOD LOOKING 'CAUSE HE'S SO HARD TO SEE"
Well, last of the four is Paul, and this is clearly all about Paul.
'Roller coaster' refers to Paul's aggravating habit to the rest of the band by constantly changing his stated desire to either break up and move on to a solo career or to remain as a band and contue on as the 'Beatles'.
'Early warning' makes reference to the fact that they all made it clear to Paul long before that his selfish, superior attitide was going to create a rift between them and in fact it finally did.
'Muddy water' describes the bad feelings and growing poor relationship between Paul and the rest of the band due to his constant lying and manipulation of them, and particularly about his attempts to convince the others to let his father-in-law manage the band as opposed to the choice the others made.
'Mojo filter' refers to Paul's habit of 'spin doctoring' information to the others and manipulating thier perceptions so as to ultimately get his way.
'One and one and one is three' refers to Paul's attempts to try and convince the others that if he did indeed leave the band and start a solo career, they remaining three could carry on and continue to be 'the Beatles' without him, contray to everyone else's opinion.
'Got to be good looking...': a straightforward reference to the fact that he was typically considered the 'cute, good looking one' of the group.
'...so hard to see' desribes the increasing time away from the rest of the band that Paul was spending on persoanl projects, to the detriment of any possible group projects.
So, there you have it!
The Beatles- Coming Together or Growing Apart? | Reviewer: Anonymous | 12/6/09
It is true that the song was originally inspired for Timothy Leary Gubernatorial campaign against Ronald Reagan. Leary was arrested for marijuana possession and the project was shelved by Lennon.
In my opinion, Come Together became an insight to the rise and fall of the Fab Four from John's perspective. Listen to the song's four verses and think of caracteristics from each member in this order...George, Ringo, John and Paul respectively.
George was 15 years old when he first met John. A tall, thin and lanky youth with a flat-top hair style. Ju-Ju eyeball refers to George's lazy eye. Holy Roller refers to him as the "spiritual" Beatle. Towards the end, George had the longest hair of the group. He was regarded as a jokester during early press conferences as he easily drew laughs. George was also known as the quiet/loner Beatle who just did as he pleased.
During Beatlemania, Ringo was known to not shine his boots as the others did since they would be scuffed while drumming. He was reportedly an excellent soccer player (English football) until he injured his foot (toe-jam football). Monkey finger refers to the movie Help! in which he wore the ring of the monkey god. Shooting Coca-Cola is either a reference to later drug use or abstaining from alcohol during the early Hamberg days. At the time of the White Album recordings, Ringo contemplated leaving the group and communicated to Paul that each "had to be free".
John refers to himself as the founder of the production. Walrus gumboot points to the Magical Mystery Tour period when each member started to become disgruntled. Ono sideboard speaks of Yoko as his new love. He then refers to this relationship as the spinal cracker (the straw that broke the camel's back). Feet down below his knee could refer to the Amsterdam bed in that was happening during this period. Also, John was in his "white period" at the time of Abbey Road. Is it possible that he felt diseased due to all the pressures of the preceeding years (divorce from Cynthia, Beatles are bigger than Jesus quote backlash, prevelant drug usage, etc.)
Finally, he regarded Paul as the roller-coaster (up and down) who gave early warning of the break up. Paul was known to be influenced by Muddy Waters early in his career. Mojo Filter refers to Paul as the center of the bands sex appeal. John then states that Paul said, "One & one & one is three" refering to only three Beatles remaining after Paul's departure. Paul was always regarded as the good looking Beatle but now he was nowhere to be found (so hard to see).