the girl with kaleidoscope eyes
September 29, 2009 12:52 AM   Subscribe

Though many have long suspected that the title of John Lennon's Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds was a barely-concealed reference to the drug he was so fond of, Lennon himself always maintained otherwise, as in this interview with Dick Cavett, explaining that the inspiration for the fanciful name was from his son Julian, who'd brought him a drawing of his nursery school friend. That friend, one Lucy O'Donnell, just passed away.
posted by flapjax at midnite (29 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Damn. Lupus. Wikipedia says it's not all that deadly, usually, accordingly, it is Wikipedia but my last link says about the same thing. She was young, sad.

Anyway, here's the St. Thomas Lupus Trust mentioned in the last link. There's also the Lupus Foundation of America, and some info from MayoClinic.
posted by IvoShandor at 1:29 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


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posted by Obscure Reference at 1:59 AM on September 29, 2009


It's never lupus. Until it's lupus.


and: .

In the sky, with diamonds.
posted by chavenet at 2:00 AM on September 29, 2009


John describes his first LSD trip.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:10 AM on September 29, 2009


Lennon elevated Lucy, sanctified her, canonized her. His strategy is amazing. First he disarms and disorients us with the strange, petal-falling keyboard figure, the surreal imagery, the drifting, seemingly aimless verse, then - "boom-boom-boom" - the chorus: Magnificent, triumphant, pointed and insistent. Lucy ascends before us like our Lady of Guadalupe, her toes wrapped around a gleaming crescent moon, a stellar circle around her head -- the chorus ends with the complete failure of language, and the heavenly "ahhhhhh" of the combined voices. Lucy gazes down at us with her beneficent eyes, her upraised palms, and four little cherubs with Beatle faces peeking out of the clouds around her feet.
posted by Faze at 4:36 AM on September 29, 2009 [10 favorites]


Vodden lost touch with Julian Lennon after he left the school following his parents' divorce, but they were reunited in recent years when Julian Lennon, who lives in France, tried to help her cope with the disease.

He sent her flowers and vouchers for use at a gardening center near her home in Surrey in southeast England, and frequently sent her text messages in an effort to buttress her spirits.

"I wasn't sure at first how to approach her," Julian Lennon told the Associated Press in June. "I wanted at least to get a note to her. Then I heard she had a great love of gardening, and I thought I'd help with something she's passionate about, and I love gardening too. I wanted to do something to put a smile on her face."

posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 5:08 AM on September 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


It isn't about hallucinogens. It's an innocent song about a boy's love for a girl.

A girl with kaleidoscope eyes.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:41 AM on September 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


The lyrics could have more than one meaning. ;)
posted by caddis at 6:03 AM on September 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's never lupus . Until it's lupus.

What would you say about a disease that makes you as tired when you wake up as you were when you went to bed... every single day? Certainly that it's tiresome and annoying, right? Okay, what would you say if it gives you arthritis in your hips, knees and ankles so bad that even if you can muster enough energy to get out of bed, it is excruciating to walk to the bathroom? Sounds pretty nasty, doesn't it? Now, how about if I told you that when you finally make it to the bathroom, you have to pray you will be able to pee? Why? Because this disease also attacks the kidneys, in some cases causing complete renal failure.

This sounds like a horrible affliction. Well, wait a minute, I'm not through yet. What would you say about a disease that inflames the joints in your hands to the point you can't hold your toothbrush to clean your teeth? Or that it takes nearly twenty minutes to do something as simple as putting on your socks because every joint you use to perform such an easy task burns beyond imagination? This is beginning to sound like one mean, painful ailment you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy, isn't it? There's more.

What would you say about a disease that causes mucus membrane anywhere within your body to bleed uncontrollably without notice, and without fail? Nose bleeds, blood from your gums, your intestines or genitals... while you're driving in your car, or serving dinner to guests. What if every other day you look in the mirror and see the mark of the wolf or the butterfly, that telltale rash sufferers of this insidious disease know oh so well? Now, what if I told you that to look at this person, you would think they look wonderful, despite all this pain and suffering they endure each and every day?

Okay. What if I told you this nasty, nasty auto-immune disease is Lupus? Doesn't mean much to you, does it? The sad truth is, very few people even know this disease exists, yet, Lupus afflicts more people than muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, leukemia, Addisons Disease, cerebral palsy, sickle cell anemia, HIV and AIDS combined. Still, with all those who are affected, awareness is limited and research is under-financed. Do I have your attention? Now you may ask, "but what can I do?"

The Lupus Foundation of America and the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Foundation are conducting a campaign to raise Lupus awareness. I've known someone for nearly ten years who has been afflicted with Lupus for more than 15. She is a dear, dear friend who is charitable and giving, positive and helpful, but also miserable with everything I've described above. She suffers horribly nearly every day. There hasn't been a new drug for Lupus treatment in nearly 50 years. It is very sad that Lucy Vodden lost her battle with Lupus. Perhaps her death will help just a little bit with Lupus awareness that might aid in research. Maybe she won't have suffered for nothing.

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posted by netbros at 6:06 AM on September 29, 2009 [8 favorites]


It's pretty disingenuous for someone who loved (a) LSD and (b) wordplay (see In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works) to claim that a trippy song with hallucinogenic images isn't about LSD. Lennon was probably telling the truth about his initial inspiration for the song--here's Julian's drawing--but it's silly to deny that LSD was also an inspiration.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:33 AM on September 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


but it's silly to deny that LSD was also an inspiration.

For the record, Lennon himself never explicitly denied (as far as I'm aware) that LSD was an inspiration. He never said (again, as far as I'm aware) that the song was not "about" LSD. He merely stated that the title wasn't inspired by the letters L, S and D, but rather by something his son said to him. He also said that he hadn't noticed until it was noted by others, which may well be true.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:46 AM on September 29, 2009


Oh, and thanks, kirkaracha, for that link to the drawing. Fantastic! I'd never seen it.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:47 AM on September 29, 2009


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posted by jquinby at 6:50 AM on September 29, 2009


actually: ♦
posted by jquinby at 6:52 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


kirkaracha: "someone who loved... LSD"

Maybe the timers here can enlighten me on a point of curiosity...

What did the millions of people who discovered The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show - when they looked like this - think was going on when, a mere 40 months later, they showed up looking like this?

Did they think "Oh yeah... they're totally on drugs" ? Because it seems like some kind of explanation would have been necessary.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:56 AM on September 29, 2009


We thought "Oh yeah... they're totally on drugs". Unless we were on drugs ourselves, in which case we probably didn't notice.
posted by ubiquity at 7:21 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


PS: ♦
posted by ubiquity at 7:22 AM on September 29, 2009


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posted by Xoebe at 7:31 AM on September 29, 2009


a mere 40 months

3 years is a long time.
posted by the cuban at 7:55 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


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posted by Halloween Jack at 7:56 AM on September 29, 2009


Also: Shatner, just because.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:58 AM on September 29, 2009


3 years is a long time.

Heh. Joe Beese knew that. Why else would he have chosen the bizarre "40 months" as a time indicator? Who says "40 months"?

But of course, the Beatles weren't alone in their style transformation. Tons of other musicians, movie stars, etc. showed similar metamorphoses across the same, er, 40 month period.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:00 AM on September 29, 2009


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posted by Spatch at 8:19 AM on September 29, 2009


To be fair, most of the US and Britain were undergoing the same kind of transformation at around the same time, partially led by the Beatles and partly with the Beatles surfing the changes. When the kids who graduated high school with 50s haircuts are coming home after one year away at college wearing love beads, etc, it's not hard to simply see the rock bands they are listening to as being part of that same wave.

Plus, there was the whole Mod thing happening in England, which was also an odd fashion shift.
posted by hippybear at 8:36 AM on September 29, 2009


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I thought it was colitis that she had.

You know, "the girl with colitis goes by..."
posted by Lou Stuells at 9:03 AM on September 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Amen, netbros. Most Lupus patients also suffer from several collateral conditions as well, such as Sjogren's Syndrome, Raynaud's Syndrome and Anti-Phopholipid Antibody Syndrome. Nine out of 10 Lupus patients are women, and six of those nine are women of color.

It used to amuse me how so many people would never believe John when he said that "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" was about a drawing, not code for LSD; he was so honest about everything else, including his drug use, why would be bother lying about that?
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:02 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Did they think "Oh yeah... they're totally on drugs" ?

I would've been seven when Sgt. Pepper's came out. I remember the kid across the street got it for his birthday and the verdict was pretty much instantaneous. "They're totally on drugs now."
posted by philip-random at 10:26 AM on September 29, 2009


Did they think "Oh yeah... they're totally on drugs" ? Because it seems like some kind of explanation would have been necessary.

Their funding and signing of that full page ad in The Times was something of a hint what they had been up to.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:57 AM on September 29, 2009


.

A friend tweeted that he had just heard the song and wondered about the girl, only to wake up and see the story this morning.
posted by soelo at 2:02 PM on September 29, 2009


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