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Old Jun 15, 2016, 03:08 PM   #21
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First, I thought it was pretty clear that HDYS is directed at Paul. John has said so himself although later self-analysis made him reflect that he probably actually wrote about himself using his animosity towards Paul as a base.

And no, I don't believe there's any connection between LSD and the Sgt Pepper line. In fact, I don't understand the confusion. Paul originally saw Sgt Pepper as a concept album but, except for a few songs, it really isn't. The end result probably took Paul by surprise. The public's overwhelming response to it probably also took him by surprise. To this day, slap it if you must, it's still considered one of the greatest albums of all times.

My hunch is the song's being over-analyzed. As said, the lyrics are such a hack job. We do know that some of them were changed considerably before the song ended up on the album. Toned down to avoid libel suits and the like. That mother's eye line have the feel of being altered, which generates special problems in song lyrics where you want the lines to rhyme. So whatever written had to work with the 'surprise' in the preceding line, although 'mother's eyes' isn't a very good one - except for having the required number of syllables.
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Old Jun 16, 2016, 01:30 PM   #22
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Thanks for your thoughtful reply hibgal. But I really don't see how you can say that Pepper surprised Paul. He was supremely confident that Pepper was going to amaze everybody, as indeed it did.
And I think that for Paul (and a hell of a lot of other peple) the concept worked fine. The criticism of the concept not working came from Lennon in his 'tell all' interviews and is now applied in hindsight. At the time everybody accepted that the concept worked. It was a psychedelic show put on by an imaginary group with an intro, a middle and an end and even an amazing unexpected encore.
As far as I can see you have no explanation for the 'mother's eyes' line but surely Lennon must have had a good idea of what he was saying here. The rest of the song is very, very clear.
If you do have an explanation then please tell us!
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Old Jun 17, 2016, 01:45 AM   #23
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Something can surprise in may different ways, you know? Yes, Paul expected Sgt Pepper to be a success because that's the way he thinks. However, it's been stated by everybody involved that the completed album differed considerably in its final execution compared to Paul's original concept. "So sgt. pepper took you by surprise" meaning the album became different from what Paul expected. Pretty much everything The Beatles touched turned into gold so an album flop wasn't even in the cards.

As to the line "You better see right through that mother's eyes" we're dealing with an English idiom, a saying. For instance, when you look at a child through its mother's eyes, you see it through the bias of motherly love and affection. So John's telling Paul to see right through his idea of what Sgt Pepper was supposed to be to what it actually became and how. John's basically saying that Paul should stop pluming himself on the album being his brainchild and realize that its success and what it became did not rest on Paul alone but on ALL that contributed to it. In other words, don't be so cocksure Paul! It may have been your idea but without us (John, George and Ringo) it would've been nothing!
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Old Jun 17, 2016, 04:50 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by hibgal View Post
Something can surprise in may different ways, you know? Yes, Paul expected Sgt Pepper to be a success because that's the way he thinks. However, it's been stated by everybody involved that the completed album differed considerably in its final execution compared to Paul's original concept. "So sgt. pepper took you by surprise" meaning the album became different from what Paul expected. Pretty much everything The Beatles touched turned into gold so an album flop wasn't even in the cards.

As to the line "You better see right through that mother's eyes" we're dealing with an English idiom, a saying. For instance, when you look at a child through its mother's eyes, you see it through the bias of motherly love and affection. So John's telling Paul to see right through his idea of what Sgt Pepper was supposed to be to what it actually became and how. John's basically saying that Paul should stop pluming himself on the album being his brainchild and realize that its success and what it became did not rest on Paul alone but on ALL that contributed to it. In other words, don't be so cocksure Paul! It may have been your idea but without us (John, George and Ringo) it would've been nothing!

OK. I'm not sure I agree but I understand better your viewpoint on Sgt. Pepper.

But for the second line, why does John say THAT mother? This I suppose refers back to Pepper and means Paul should reconsider things given the success of that 'mother' of an album (I'm trying to follow your logic).

The English expression is to see something through 'a mother's eyes'. If what you're saying is correct John changes the idiom in two ways. First with the 'that' and then by adding 'right'. This is weird beacause idiomatic expressions are not usually changed.

For example, once a woman has had children she might say 'I can now see the world through a mother's eyes'. Do you think she would say 'Now I can see the world right through a mother's eyes' Sounds strange to me.

You've also added the different expression of 'seeing right through someone' which means not being influenced by their outward appearance and seeing the true person, usually in a negative sense. I think this is what Lennon was aiming for and nothing to do with motherly love.

Does that make any sense to you?
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Old Jun 17, 2016, 10:08 PM   #25
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Seems we have a bit of a language problems here. Let me try again.

First, we have to recall John's love of witticisms and puns. Remember, he's the guy who wrote A Spaniard in the Works. The original idiom for the title is 'a spanner in the works'. A spanner is a tool, while a Spaniard is of course a man from Spain. The two words (spanner and Spaniard) have nothing in common except for sounding somewhat similar. That book (A Spaniard in the Works) is filled with idioms given the John Lennon touch.

So, in "You better see right through that mother's eyes" we deal with at least two idioms; 'see right through' and 'see through a mother's eyes'. A third, 'to see right', meaning to correct or help [somebody], could also be implied.

To see right through means to ignore, pay no attention to. Through a mother's eyes means to hold cherished illusions about something dear to you or your creation. Properly it should be 'you better see right through through that mother's eye' but that's a very clumsy way to expressing it and it also leaves out the third idiom. So John eliminated the second through and we're left with the line above.

Thinking further on the first line "So Sgt Pepper took you by surprise" it's probably a reference to something said by Paul in an interview. Paul has always credited Sgt Pepper to himself. And it's true, the original idea was Paul's and he contributed to it but he has exaggerated his role. That's what John's getting at. If so, the second line makes even more sense.

In plain English then, the two lines would read something like: So you're taking credit for Sgt Pepper and its success. Well, you better correct that cherished illusion. It also ties in well with the rest of that that verse, in particular "The one mistake you made was in your head."
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Old Jun 18, 2016, 12:49 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by hibgal View Post
So, in "You better see right through that mother's eyes" we deal with at least two idioms; 'see right through' and 'see through a mother's eyes'. A third, 'to see right', meaning to correct or help [somebody], could also be implied.

To see right through means to ignore, pay no attention to. Through a mother's eyes means to hold cherished illusions about something dear to you or your creation. Properly it should be 'you better see right through through that mother's eye' but that's a very clumsy way to expressing it and it also leaves out the third idiom. So John eliminated the second through and we're left with the line above.

Thinking further on the first line "So Sgt Pepper took you by surprise" it's probably a reference to something said by Paul in an interview. Paul has always credited Sgt Pepper to himself. And it's true, the original idea was Paul's and he contributed to it but he has exaggerated his role. That's what John's getting at. If so, the second line makes even more sense.

In plain English then, the two lines would read something like: So you're taking credit for Sgt Pepper and its success. Well, you better correct that cherished illusion. It also ties in well with the rest of that that verse, in particular "The one mistake you made was in your head."
Thanks for taking time to explain but...I'm beginning to get confused.

Before I give a longer answer can you make it clear? Is 'that mother' Sgt Pepper or Paul or someone else?

By the way I agree that the first line looks like a reaction to something Paul said in an interview but I've looked around and can't find anything. I expected to find something in Rolling Stone from that period but didn't come up with anything. It should be something Paul said after the breakup but before the Imagine sessions. But so far nada.
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Old Jun 18, 2016, 09:25 PM   #27
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C'est un bon mot d'anglais, oui?

That = Sgt Pepper

Mother's eye = [Paul's] illusion chère.

Tu comprends maintenant?

Sorry, my French isn't very good.
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Old Jun 19, 2016, 10:52 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by hibgal View Post
That = Sgt Pepper

Mother's eye = [Paul's] illusion chère.

Tu comprends maintenant?

Sorry, my French isn't very good.
J'essaie de comprendre mais ce n'est pas facile!

So, if I do in fact understand, according to you we can paraphrase the first two lines like this :

John is telling Paul directly that his oft-repeated claim that Sgt. Pepper couldn't have existed without him is an illusion that he should accept as false.

Right?
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Old Jun 20, 2016, 02:56 AM   #29
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I don't agree with higbal's theories as you might be overthinking it. To me "You better see right through that mother's eyes" just means "Don't be fooled by Paul's charm and pretty looks - see beyond it". i.e "I can see right through that motherf***er"

I also didn't initially buy into the LSD theory but when you read the quote from Macca via Barry Miles it does seem to fit very well. He even mentions looking into each others eyes and Lennon asking how he can sleep so there is a double meaning to both phrases. The "How Do you sleep" line also relating to Macca taking the others to court.

It also contains references that only those two would have understood at the time so would have made a real connection with Paul.

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Old Jun 20, 2016, 06:29 AM   #30
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I don't agree with higbal's theories as you might be overthinking it. To me "You better see right through that mother's eyes" just means "Don't be fooled by Paul's charm and pretty looks - see beyond it". i.e "I can see right through that motherf***er"
Thanks for that Kerouac. At the moment I'm trying to clarify hibgal's interpretation to try and see if I can agree with it.

I agree with you though when you say this is a very direct song and there's a danger of overcomplication.After the first two lines the song is really easy to understand. No puns or word play apart from the Yesterday/Another Day jibe.

When you say "Don't be fooled by Paul's charm" this implies that the YOU in the second line (YOU better see...) is the listener not Paul.Is that right?

Does this mean that you think the YOU in the first line (So Sgt Pepper took...) is also directed at the listener and not Paul?
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Old Jun 21, 2016, 04:17 AM   #31
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I think YOU in the second line is referring to the listener. But YOU in the first line (if the LSD theory is correct) would refer to Paul. Now that I've said that it does sound odd that he would address Paul and then the listener.

Another theory would be that "Sgt Pepper took the public by surprise because they underestimated Paul/The Beatles". But this doesn't really add up to an attack on Paul as it's more of a compliment so I don't know.
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Old Jun 21, 2016, 05:46 AM   #32
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I think YOU in the second line is referring to the listener. But YOU in the first line (if the LSD theory is correct) would refer to Paul. Now that I've said that it does sound odd that he would address Paul and then the listener.
As I said, I agree that we shouldn't overcomplicate things. I'm still hoping hibgal will confirm that I've understood correctly what he/she said.

Personally I think the first two lines address the listener.

To me John is saying : OK Paul was behind Sgt Pepper and that was a great success that took everybody by surprise but don't let that blind you to the fact that he's really a nasty piece of work.

And after that the song becomes a direct attack on Paul.

I'm willing to be convinced otherwise concerning the first two lines, but none of the other possiblities (LSD, Paul Is Dead, cherishing mother's eyes or whatever) have ever really convinced me.
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Old Jun 21, 2016, 05:47 PM   #33
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