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"Glass Onion"

Categories: Beatles songs


Welcome back, Ringo!

His unmistakable drum-in has Lennon "looking through a Glass Onion" at a crash revision course of Beatle songs. An aide-mémoire for himself as much as anyone else, probably: on account of all those "dove-tail joints" he'd been making while making most of the songs, leading up to The White. I actually first heard that line as 'cocktail joint', thinking martinis with little umbrellas — still too young and innocent to pick up on the double-meaning I'd inadvertently inserted!

The immediate backtrack tally is five — but we could get it to six if the "bent back tulips" were the incredibly high flowers from "Lucy In The Sky"; seven, if "everything flows" "Within You Without You"... I've always thought it was a little mean of him not to include a more overt reference to a George track. That old faithful "Oh Yeah" catchphrase gets a good working over, and there are probably a whole load clues more tucked in there for you all: or at least those of you who go in for the kind of pathological dissection which John so despised. [["I'm Looking Through You"]]? [["There's A Place"]]? [["Girl"]]? Probably a whole bunch more, if you really know your onions.

"The Walrus was Paul", of course, got most attention; but was just another bit of poetry 'to confuse everybody a bit more', according to the composer — though, in stating that "we're as close as can be, man" — it was probably also a back-handed attempt to placate his partner in the face of their ever-widening rift.

For 'just another throwaway song', it's a highly polished piece of work. Having being trialled in various forms, now Anthologised, it was George Martin who suggested a change in approach. Paul reprises his recorder riff from "The Fool On The Hill", as well as playing the piano; and a whole host of strings add to its layers, including — I believe — the first banjo to be featured on a Beatles number.

With all the musical memories the onion evokes, small wonder GM sliced it in to flavour the first psychedelic section on LOVE.

Listen to me!
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