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Old 11-10-02, 03:50 AM   #1
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What's Come Together (Lennon) all about?

I was just listening to Abbey Road and although I have been singing Come together for years, I have no idea what its about. I searched the web and found some of the references in the song to the whole 'Paul is dead' thing but nothing of real value as to the overall message of the song. I can't really even pick out the meaning of some of the metaphors. Anyone have more info? Lyrics reproduced here for your convenience.

SPY

Lyrics

Here come old flat top
He come grooving up slowly
He got joo joo eyeball
He one holy roller
He got hair down to his knee
Got to be a joker
He just do what he please.

He wear no shoe shine
He got toe jam football
He got funny 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.
Come together right now over me

He bag production
He got walrus gumboot
He got Ono sideboard
He one spinal cracker
He got feet down below his knee
Hold you in his armchair you feel his disease.
Come together right now over me

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 hard to see.
Come together right now over me

Yeah! Come together...
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Old 11-10-02, 06:48 PM   #2
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I heard they wrote the song for Timothy Leary's (LSD guru) California Governor campaign.
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Old 11-10-02, 07:31 PM   #3
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What a shame someone didn't ask about I am the Walrus!

Actually, there is at least one book that looks at all the songs, "A Hard Day's Write: The Stories Behind Every Beatles Song"
by Steve Turner.

An interesting, but I think ironic a analysis is to be found in this DejGoogle archived article! And this thread!

In another someone opined:
Quote:
John described it as "gobbledygook". And like other songs by John, the lyrical obsession with dissociated nonsense phrases takes precedence over pure meaning.
And although it is generally accepted that Lennon wrote the lyrics at the urging of Leary at the time of the campaign (in California, against Reagan?) I am fairly certain that Leary did not actually use it. "Come Together" was already his slogan, though.
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Old 11-10-02, 09:10 PM   #4
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I've always been amazed that so many people have covered this song. There's no real melody to speak of, the music is the result of a lot of fiddling about in the studio, the lyrics are terrible (IMO. Apparantly they have no real meaning), and it's spoken more than sung. But everybody from Aerosmith to Dr. John has taken a stab at it. With so many truly great songs (lyrically and musically) that the Beatles have done, this is an odd song to be so much at the forefront.
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Old 11-11-02, 01:07 AM   #5
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Jason,

I have always wondered the same thing, for a lot of people this is one of their favorite Beatles songs, and while it is cool, there are a lot better ones IMO.
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Old 11-11-02, 04:25 PM   #6
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I have an old book about the Beatles that "translates" what the lyrics mean. I'll see if I can dig it up.
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Old 11-11-02, 04:34 PM   #7
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They love it because after "Rain," it has the best Beatles bass line.
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Old 11-11-02, 05:00 PM   #8
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for some reason doesnt aerosmith sound stoned on the cover version.

and is there any way i can get the song with not as much bass (i have the #1 hits collection)
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Old 11-11-02, 10:13 PM   #9
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I heard, at one point, that Come Together was about Bob Dylan.
Although, I suppose, in a rather loose way some points in the lyrics could relate to Dylan one could argue that they could relate to just about anyone. Hell, I've got Ono sideboard.
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Old 11-11-02, 11:55 PM   #10
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Okay I've managed to find the book. The title of the book is "The Fabulous Beatles". It's a paperback spiral bound book that I've had in my possession since the early 1970's.

The "theasaurus" section was edited and compiled by a man named Harold M. Brauner.

This is the heading under "Come Together"

Come Together; ph. 1. Song title 2, Lyrics:
"old flat top" could refer to John
"Joo Joo eyeball", glasses
"holy roller", preacher
"no shoeshine", canvas shoes or buckskin type
"toe jam football", tight sneakers
"monkey fingers",nervous
"shoot Coca Cola" takes drugs for nerves
"he bag production", producer or director
"he one spinal cracker", exp. like breaks your back with hard work
"he roller coaster", has ups and downs
"he got early warning", bad breath or B.O.
"muddy water", mixed emotions
"over me", with me

well who am I to argue?

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Old 11-12-02, 05:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by ViewAskewbian
I heard, at one point, that Come Together was about Bob Dylan.
Although, I suppose, in a rather loose way some points in the lyrics could relate to Dylan one could argue that they could relate to just about anyone. Hell, I've got Ono sideboard.
But do you have Toejam Football ?
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Old 11-12-02, 06:39 PM   #12
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TMI

Quote:
Originally posted by Captain Harlock
Okay I've managed to find the book. The title of the book is "The Fabulous Beatles". It's a paperback spiral bound book that I've had in my possession since the early 1970's.

Come Together; ph. 1. Song title 2, Lyrics:
"old flat top" could refer to John
From the DejaGogle thread I cited above, a little while after those definitions that someone lifted from yet another Beatles book ["The New Beatles Top 40 Pop Song Book" published byCharles Hansen] someone mentioned:
Quote:
You may find it amusing to get a hold of a copy of Chuck Berry's "You Can't Catch Me," there are some lyrics in "Come Together" which were lifted from "YCCM." [Morris Levy, who owned Big Seven Music Corp., the copyright owner of Berry's "You Can't Catch Me" sued Lennon....] .... and this led to Lennon being forced to record the "Rock And Roll" album, which contains a version of "YCCM."

"Here come a flattop, he come movin' up with me, he go sailing goodbye in a little ol' souped-up jitney."

Plus, if you haven't heard it, Berry's "YCCM" is one of the highlights of rock'n'roll, IMHO of course.
And an entirely different take (tongue in cheek?]later followed:
Quote:
Ju-ju eyeballs - a ju ju was California slang for marijuana therefore ju
ju eyes is someone who looks stoned

spinal cracker - refers to the practice of japanese wives (ie. ONO) to walk on their husbands backs

ono sideboard - yoko ono

bag production - Lennon and Ono's labal/production company

come together over me - a sexual reference, but also a reference to Timothy Leary's campaign slogan for an attempted Presidential campaign (just the come together); in fact the song was original inspired by a request from t.l. to write a theme song for his campaign

old flattop - i think this is the bit Lennon copied from Chuck Berry and got sued over (by the publishers, not Berry); the song is a classic Berry style blues shuffle of the old school played in the then new laid back California style

hold you in his arms to you can feel his disease - I've seen some books prints this as hold you in his armchair feel his disease; that's just stupid

he shoot coca-cola - a pun on cocaine which Lennon was more than mildly addicted to

In general, most of the lyrics are menacing nonsense meant to scramble the brains of fans looking for cryptic messages in his lyrics. (See his comment on this sort of thing in Glass Onion on the White Album). He's just having fun with his own identity as an icon, a sort of self-reflexive inter-textual comment on the relationship of the artist and the observer of art mixed up in a politico-sexual statement. And some spooky piano by Paul.
Followed by:
Quote:
They're about John. The song is autobiographical.

The song is written in a Dylanesque style, i.e. a form of impressionism, where, although nothing is said directly, many diverse images converge to form one picture---in this case an autobiographical picture of John Lennon. (The song itself is a derivative of Chuck Berry's "You Can't Catch Me," which wouldn't have been apparent if Lennon hadn't used "Here come ole flat-top, he come groovin' up slowly" as the opening line. Like George, he paid for that one many times over.) [....]

The song's further images: "ju ju eyeballs" beady, like ju ju beads, "one holy roller," impassioned, committed, evangelistic, "hair down to his knees," "a joker," (as in Dylan's reference in "All Along the Watch Tower") are all personal depictions. "No shoeshine," "toe jam football" refer to being both socially unpolished and scruffy. Here "ball" is added to foot as a literary word play, much like "shooting star fish." "He got monkey fingers," "he shoots Coca-Cola" word play as in "HDN" in reference to heroin. "He got Bag Productions" is a slip of the tongue from earlier "bad production"--(a self criticism) but since Bag Prod. was J & Y's production company, it was appropriate. "Walrus gum boot" is a reference to the Beatles in "Walrus," and gumboots are what you use to wade through sh*t. "Ono side boards," another word play with Ono at his side, attached to him like side boards (burns), and "spinal cracker" is a reference to being a real hard ass. "Hold you in his armchair, you can feel his disease" is John's description of his life-long "disease"--sex-obsession, and on his lap that becomes evident. "Roller coaster" is both his personality and personal life. "Early warnin'" refers to early knowledge that he was different from others, "Muddy Waters," a word play on the bluesman's name referring to the murky confusion in his life. "He one mojo philter," might be confusing. A mojo is a voodoo power charm for holding women, and a philter is a drug or a love-potion. Just a sexual swagger here. "One and one and one is three," as the Beatles lack a fourth member, and "Got to be good-looking cos he's so hard to see" (or "hard to please" which I prefer) is glorious male posturing--Lennon at his best.
Ho hum.
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