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Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

Back in the early 70’s, I remember my junior high school music teacher explaining to the class the secret meaning of the title “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. He wrote the title on the black board and asked if anyone knew what the title meant. Of course we all knew the song, the Beatles were still very popular even though they had recently broken up, but no one knew the answer to his question. Then he circled the first three letters of the main words in the title and pulled them together like this:

The title was not about a girl named Lucy, he said, the actual meaning behind the code was the drug LSD! Listening to the lyrics of the song, there is no reason to doubt this theory. Especially since the authors of the song, John Lennon and Paul McCartney both admitted to taking LSD.

An interesting side note, a few years later in 1974 came the discovery of the Australopithecus afarensis fossil named “Lucy”. The famous fossil was named after Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. The song was playing loudly on a tape recorder at the excavation sight at the time of the discovery.

For over 30 years, every time I heard the song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, I remembered what my music teacher said about the song’s title. I even remember the teacher’s name. His name was Mr. Ciccone, but the kids used to call him “crater face”. Mr. Ciccone must have had very bad acne in his younger days. Mean, I know, but remember, this was middle school. I also remember that he was very good at spotting kids chewing gum. Even if you didn’t move your mouth at all, if there was gum in there, he somehow knew it. He was way too strict and serious for a music teacher. But I digress…

Yesterday, I read a headline on CNN that caught my eye: “‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ dies”. According to John Lennon, the song title actually came from his then pre-school son Julian. Lucy was a classmate of Julian’s. One day Julian came home from school with a drawing of his friend Lucy. His father asked him about the drawing and Julian said, “That’s Lucy in the sky with diamonds.”

Regardless of the song’s meaning, John Lennon said that his son’s drawing was the inspiration behind the title and that the fact that the letters LSD were in the title were just a coincidence. Here is a scan of the drawing that I found online. The original is probably with Julian’s mother (John’s first wife) Cynthia. Sure looks like Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds to me!

The real Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds has died aged 46 from the chronic disease Lupus.

CNN Article: ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ dies

Lucy Vodden
Lucy Vodden

Whether the song title came from the drawing or the initials LSD or both, I would venture to say that someone would have to be on some sort of hallucinogenic drug to come up with these psychedelic lyrics:

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

Picture yourself on a boat in a river
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes

Cellophane flowers of yellow and green
Towering over your head
Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes
and she’s gone

Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds, ah

Follow her down to a bridge by a fountain
Where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies
Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers
that grow so incredibly high

Newspaper taxies appear on the shores
Waiting to take you away
Climb in the back with your head in the clouds
and you’re gone

Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds, ah

Picture yourself in a train in a station
With plasticine porters with looking glass ties
Suddenly someone is there at the turnstile
The girl with kaleidoscope eyes

Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds, ah

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6 thoughts on “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

  1. Jacqueline Pooler says:

    Isn’t fascinating how we interpret the things we hear see and read based on our own experiences. I wonder about your teacher. Maybe the song represented an escape for him (crater face?). Maybe, just maybe if we learn to take what we need from our collective experiences we can leave plenty for all everyone else.

    A thought from a weary brain.

    JP

    Reply
  2. susan says:

    That would be Mr Cicconi, now Father Cicconi…just a side note, but I did love that class as he made you think. And yes, he could spot a gum chewer a mile away…

    Reply
  3. Cindy says:

    Hi Jackie, thanks for visiting.

    Reply
  4. Cindy says:

    I don’t remember thinking much in high school. But funny that I remember that one class. Susan, did he leave teaching to become a priest?

    Reply
  5. george says:

    Shame she died so young.
    Hard to believe we aged so quickly.

    but then there was Puff The Magic Dragon. Another RIP great singer and performer gone. Far too many this year.

    Reply
  6. Cindy says:

    And my poor dragon died a long time ago.:-(

    Reply

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