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The Truth Behind "LSD"

Could "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" really be about drugs? For Beatles fans, a time of reckoning.

12:00 AM, Jun 9, 2004 • By VICTORINO MATUS
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The cuddly anecdote of Julian showing his father his artwork turns out to be true. It actually does exist and can be seen here. And that you get the letters LSD out of the title can indeed be sheer coincidence. As Ron Schaumburg writes in Growing Up with the Beatles, "[Lennon] has always been open and honest, if not always careful in what he says. He admitted to using drugs, he admitted to taking over a hundred LSD trips. Why on earth would he bother to deny one little story about the origins of a song unless it wasn't true?" Even the urban-legend-busting snopes.com agrees there's no connection.

But while Lennon referenced Alice in Wonderland and insisted that "It's not an acid song," McCartney now states it's "pretty obvious" the song is about drugs. And Beatles fans are left wondering who is right. "I've always half-thought that both stories were true," says blogger and Beatles expert Kenneth Killiany. "The kid did do the drawing, and Daddy found it hysterically funny. They were in their mid-twenties, after all, and people on dope seem to giggle about everything."

As for McCartney's recent admission of drug references in songs, including "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds," Killiany agrees that "It is kind of odd that he's saying it now. John contradicted himself on virtually every story, and Paul has been more consistent. But relying on memories of who said what while on some drug or other is probably pretty dicey at best. They supposedly agreed not to talk about LSD, and then Paul went and told Life magazine when they ran the psychedelic portraits by [Richard] Avedon. He does seem to have a penchant for portentous announcements." Another journalist well-versed in Beatles lore, who I refer to as The Walrus, also found it funny that "though McCartney may be one of the most famous people in the entire world and of all time, he still has this need for attention."

If only Lennon were alive to give his side of the story. Maybe he would explain it was all a big joke (such as getting away with singing "tit-tit-tit-tit" on the song "Girl"). But alas, he's gone. Beatles fans will have to decide for themselves.

And if we were wrong about the truth behind "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds," could we also be wrong about those rumors that Paul is dead?

Victorino Matus is an assistant managing editor at The Weekly Standard.