Glass Onion Lyrics - The Beatles
Review The Song (27)
I told you about strawberry fields,
You know the place where nothing is real
Well here's another place you can go
Where everthing flows.
Looking through the bent backed tulips
To see how the other half lives
Looking through a glass onion.
I told you about the walrus and me-man
You know that we're as close as can be-man.
Well here's another clue for you all,
The walrus was Paul.
Standing on the cast iron shore-yeah,
Lady Madonna trying to make ends meet-yeah.
Looking through a glass onion.
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah.
Looking through a glass onion.
I told you about the fool on the hill,
I tell you man he living there still.
Well here's another place you can be,
Listen to me.
Fixing a hole in the ocean
Trying to make a dove-tail joint-yeah
Looking through a glass onion
Writer: LENNON, JOHN / MCCARTNEY, PAUL
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
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Views derived from "Revolution In The Head" | Reviewer: Tommy Henchen | 2/14/14
I think Ian McDonald has made this track pretty clear.
John was sick of people trying to find hidden meanings in the Beatles' work when there weren't any and so wrote this as a retaliation. This is shown clearly in the image of a "glass onion".
Glass: Transparent, clear
Onion: Many layers, complex
So looking through a glass onion would be looking for hidden layers (meanings) in something that is ultimately very clear.
You may well have noticed something off musically in the "Looking through a glass onion" part of the song. This is because "onion" doesn't fit with the metre of the song: it's stretched to two syllables instead of one (un-yun). At least that's what I think McDonald means when he wrote that. But the fact that the line doesn't flow is shown to be significant when John sings how Strawberry Fields was a place where "everything flows". I suppose this is a jibe aimed at The Beatles' psychedelic work and John's distaste for it in later years (during the "Get Back" sessions, John insensitively said that he didn't want any of George Martin's "jiggery pokery" on these tracks like on "I am the walrus", "Strawberry Fields" etc.).
"Bent backed tulips" are apparently tulips with their petals bent back as to conceal the bottom part of the flower (I'm not sure what it's called). They were found in fancy restaurants as decoration in vases on tables. Rich people go to fancy restaurants. Therefore "To see how the other half lives" would apparently be referring to checking out the high class. I'm not clear on the significance of this, but that may well be the point.
"The walrus was Paul" lyric was cleared up by John in an interview somewhere. I think it was meant to be a "thank you" to Paul for something, you can look it up.
The "cast iron shore" was a shore in Liverpool where a lot of random things washed up because the Mersey was used for dumping up river I suppose, again, this is from memory so you can look it up to be sure but it's an apt image that continues the theme of random and meaninglessness.
A "dove-tail joint" is a joint in the builder, carpenter sense and nothing to do with drugs. Therefore, John has managed to trick us into believing that he's on about illicit substances again when it's something very innocent.
The orchestral sigh at the end of the song represents John's bored attitude to all those "freaks" who claim conspiracies and genius hidden meanings etc. He was very much against the view of The Beatles as gods which was a major reason in him never re uniting with the band because he didn't want to go up on stage to be seen as some divine presence. He said this in an interview you can find on YouTube.
Thanks for reading this, I'm sorry if I've made some factual errors, I know how annoying it is when someone claims something that is untrue.
Another thought | Reviewer: Rob H | 6/11/13
I always thought the glass onion could be a nicknack In the kitchen window . So you're doing the dishes but you can't help but spy on the neighbors. But you hide behind that ugly glass onion that distorts everything.....
To the little buzzkills | Reviewer: Dr. Benway | 2/2/13
This discussion is weird and not much was said about the song. Yes, the Beatles took LSD; so what? So did plumbers, teachers, doctors and cops. If someone asked your opinion of" Ulysses", would your first comment be, "You know Joyce drank a lot"? Works of art have a life of their own. I can add a trivia note, however: "cast iron shore" is Liverpool. The city went mad for cast iron when it was first mass produced and used it to build piers, bridges, building facades, even furniture. The world is stranger than fiction, especially the part that lies within that "tight little, right little island", England. The Beatles' later music contained a lot of that dry, surreal British wit. Americans seem to have a tough time grasping the humor, maybe because of the newness and vulgarity of our "culture". Think about it: cast iron furniture? Perilously close to cast iron clothing...wait a minute; they had that, too. It was called armor, you can see it in the Tower of London. See what I mean?
It's all a matter of point of view. | Reviewer: Anonymous | 10/21/12
In poetry, readers have the right to decide what they think a poem mean. The same goes for music. Listeners have the ability to give any song meaning even if it wasn't what the song was originally written to mean. That's the beauty of music.
A bit of sense people | Reviewer: Jack Pearl | 9/3/12
Ok people, there are two very important things to realize. 1) Not all songs have a meaning. 2) The Beatles were on a lot of acid when they made this album.
They decided to make a song that was highly self-referential. Beyond that, the song could mean anything or nothing at all, or something that only makes sense while high. I'm leaning towards the latter.
Good song, but you really can look too deep for something that isn't there.
sometimes a cigar is a cigar | Reviewer: Anonymous | 2/25/12
Eh.. glass onion is actually an onion shaped glass bottle, used for alcohol. So if one is looking through a glass onion, one has probably just finished the contents of the bottle.
to beatles fans | Reviewer: Anonymous | 1/13/12
Real Mccartney died in car crash in 1966 and when somebody saw his face destroyed said that he looks like walrus.John makes reference at this accident at many of his songs:"Those freaks were right when they said you were dead".Watch the movie <<Paul Mccartney Really Is Dead: The Last Testament Of George>>
i am the walrus | Reviewer: Fred | 3/5/11
Lennon wrote I AM THE WALRUS, because he heard one of his former teachers, apparently one who had told him he was worthless, had students analyzing Beatles songs as part of his music class. After finishing the song, he showed it to a friend, laughed and said "let them analyze this". He said the song was nonsense and meant nothing.
According to Lennon, even though people considered him the leader, The Beatles had no leader. Without any one of them, they would not have been the same.
paul being the walrus | Reviewer: email@example.com | 1/22/11
the only reason he said the walrus was paul was to make the bloody song rhyme you dickheads, theres no "secret meaning" in that at all.
(that's not saying there's no secret meaning in the song)
if you disagree email me
After quite some review. | Reviewer: Harleen | 11/28/10
I will say only these few things, not that anybody will listen:
1. Get over yourselves, more than likely you don't/didn't know The Beatles in any way other than being "fans" of their music so please stop talking like you knew them personally and had lunch with them every tuesday and discussed their psychological states with them. Disclaimer: I do not claim to know them personally in any way, shape, or form. I do not claim to know everything about them, I do not.
2. Love and peace, man.
3. The Beatles lyrics mean a world of things.
4. The Beatles lyrics have no meaning.
5. You can't hate one of them and say you love The Beatles. Its all or nothing, they are a harmony group.
6. How do you think Paul or Ringo would feel if they happened upon this? I don't believe they'd like to see that their "fans" are argueing over something so insignifigant. Disclaimer: I am in the wrong for even posting a comment regarding any of this fighting because it is just fuel on the fire. I apologize Mr. Paul and Mr. Ringo.
7. Just enjoy the music, with John gone we will never know if there is a "True Meaning" behind many of the songs.
Love and Peace.
Feel free to email me if you've disagreed with anything I've said, anything at all.
glass onion | Reviewer: Music lover | 9/21/10
Geez people , lighten up. The Beatles wouldn't have been the beatles without all of them. Crazy you all are aguing about a group who is half dead and know none of you. How about enjoy their music because none of you were in their heads and know for sure whether they did or didn't mean this or that. They were a legendary group, influenced a lot of people.
you are all wrong about everything! | Reviewer: I am always right | 9/12/10
everyone here is wrong! i know everything, listen to me. i want everyone to listen to me now, its my turn! the beatles used to blaze with the creators of aqua fresh tooth paste. so, like, imagine you are banging your mom and start having kids and then someone calls the cops on you. they show up and find out what you are doing and they are just like, 'thats gross... and illegal'
and THAT is the real story about how i beat jury duty!
Songs (By Talented Artists) Are Poems | Reviewer: Roar | 9/3/10
Everyone here is wrong. There IS a very deep meaning to this song and many others that John and Paul (mostly John) wrote during the last few years of the Beatles. If you know anything about John or Paul you will realize this: John was a REAL rebel; Paul was a sellout. Their split had very little to do with Yoko. It was more about the fact that John and George had epiphanies during their time with Hinduism. They realized that they were living in the capitalist elite's game, and they didn't like it. Especially John. Paul decided that he didn't care - that he deserved the money and success, and didn't want to end the Beatles over "principles". John was a Poet. Paul is "Mr. Melody". Paul is a capitalist - John was a man of the people. John wanted to wake the world up. Paul preferred to let the idiots slumber. It breaks my heart honestly - because I used to adore "Sir" Paul.
truth | Reviewer: Anonymous | 8/25/10
The truth is it took all of them to create the Beatles as we know them, Just as a bird needs two wings to fly, we need two hands to clap and a car needs four wheels to make it to its destination, The Beatles without any single one of the others would have been a vehicle with a flat tire, a bird with
a broken wing, a hand waving silently. I ws never a big fan of theirs, I knew their music, and liked some of their songs, but didn't really think they were any big deal. But then my eight year old daughter "discovered" them, She wanted to know "everything " about them, I helped her with her research. In doing so I became as fascinated by them as any of thier die hard fans. I'm no expert on them, I can't quote them.There is one thing I have come to believe about them and that is this- that their existance as a group was no accident, They needed each other to reach their ultimate destiny,
To all the "Paul-haters" outside there ... | Reviewer: Anonymous | 6/4/10
I can't help it, I just have to say something. This may e to all of you who read this, all of you who call yourself "Beatles-fans", still hating Paul.
Because ... you just can't CALL yourself Beatles-fan, while hating one of them! The Beatles was, were, a harmony, consisting four people. If there is one part of this union you don't like, the point of being a fan is gone. You may for example like George best, but you can't HATE one of them! Jesus Christ, are you stupid, or just acting like one? You say stuff like "Paul was a loser", and that he glued his name to everything John did. Oh,
don't you really know?! every Lennon-fan should, you see, he and Paul decided very early in their career entering into a partner-ship, and then credit the songs Lennon/McCartney. There was stupid by Paul, trying to change this, but man, averyone does failures! You say that, if there hadn't been for John, Paul would never had stepped into the world of fame. John said clearly that he recond that Paul was very talented, he was actually a bit nervous, taking Paul into the Quarry-men, becase he was afraid of competition.
No, Paul wasnæt always a good friend, especially not in the end, he was stupid when he "took over as a band-leader", I agree with that. But you know, John wasn't exactly a good fried at that time, either, extremely selfish and self-assured, and with a 'care-attitude to everything but himeself and Yoko. When The Beatles were about to start with the Abbey Road-album, John actually said that he wanted all the McCartney songs on one side, and all the Lennon song on the other side, because he didn't want Paul's "rubbish" to destroy for himself. I don't say John was like this all the time, but you can't seriously say that John always was the kind one ... I still love John, though, you know, I can get really upset about thing I read about every single one, but I still adore them, because I feel if I dopn't like one of them , I don't like the others. Or something. It is quite difficult to explain. One more thing; Youre argument, like "Paul was just a talentless egomaniac!" ... Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Paul is NOT talentless! As late as this week, he got the Gershwin Prize by Barack Obama. And think of what he have written! Not everything is great, oh, no, of course, personally I like his songs from the Beatles-period best. And there are some really, really great stuff, just LISTEN to OH! Darling! Man, that's a FANTASTIC work! And Hey Jude, and Here, There and Everywere ... that song is one of John's absolutely favourite Beatles songs, you know! Paul is one of the greatest musicians ever. Just like George, John and Ringo. Everyone of them had their own fantastic properties and specialities, this was what made them such fabulous!
A last thing, just accorded to your ... objective comment about the "talentless Paul": He is one of the greatest, most musical bass players ever, that he plays the bass like few others. You know, this is a phrase by John. So, before all of you ignorant, black-hearted people continue speaking unfair nonsense, you should just check up your opinions, start with John himself, for example, check out what he had to say about the case ...
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