Why The Beatles’ ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ Confused John Lennon

John Lennon put The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows” and “I Am the Walrus” in the same category in his mind.

John Lennon said he didn’t understand The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows” when he wrote it. Subsequently, he said it was up to others to analyze The Beatles’ songs. John put “Tomorrow Never Knows” in the same category as another Fab Four song which is very different.

John Lennon didn’t understand The Beatles’ ‘I Am the Walrus’ and ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’

During a 1968 interview with Rolling Stone, was asked about analyses of his songs. “Well, they can take them apart,” he replied. “They can take anything apart. I mean I hit it on all levels, you know. We write lyrics, and I write lyrics that you don’t realize what they mean till after. Especially some of the better songs or some of the more flowing ones, like ‘[I Am the] Walrus.’ The whole first verse was written without any knowledge.”

He then talked about another avant-garde Beatles song. “And ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ — I didn’t know what I was saying, and you just find out later, that’s why these people are good on them,” he said.

John further discussed his approach to writing lyrics. “I know that when there are some lyrics I dig I know that somewhere people will be looking at them, and with the rest of the songs it doesn’t matter cause they work on all levels,” he said.

“Anything,” he added. “I don’t mind what they do. And I dig the people that notice that I have a sort of strange rhythm scene, because I’ve never been able to keep rhythm on the stage.”

The 2 Beatles songs John Lennon mentioned couldn’t be more different

John felt the lyrics of “Tomorrow Never Know” were impenetrable at first. However, they seem to be about meditation. “Turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream” is a straightforward exaltation to rid oneself of all thought.

John compared the song to “I Am the Walrus.” That song is far more oblique. What yellow matter custard, policeman running like pigs from a gun, crying, Edgar Allan Poe, and a walrus have to do with each other is anyone’s guess. It’s interesting that “Tomorrow Never Knows” and “I Am the Walrus” are so far apart in terms of lyricism and yet John associated them with each other.

How ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ performed in the United States and the United Kingdom

“Tomorrow Never Knows” was never a single, so it did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100. The tune appeared on the seminal album Revolver. That album topped the Billboard 200 for six weeks. Revolver stayed on the chart for 94 weeks in total.

According to The Official Charts Company, “Tomorrow Never Knows” did not chart in the United Kingdom either. On the other hand, Revolver reached No. 1 in the U.K. chart for seven of its 34 weeks on the chart.

“Tomorrow Never Knows” confounded John but it’s still a great song.

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