met John last year," Elton John said of his introduction to John Lennon in Paul Roland's biography, Elton John. "Then when I was in New York getting off the SS France I saw him again and he said, 'Come down to my sessions.' So I did, and ended up doing, 'Whatever Gets You Thru the Night' and 'Surprise' from the album. And he was going to L.A. to do a song which he had written for Ringo and I said, 'On the way back why don't you come up to Caribou? Cos we're gonna do 'Lucy in the Sky.' And he said 'sure.'"
Lennon was asked if the images in the song, which had the initials LSD, were drug-related. "The images were from Alice in Wonderland," he replied. "It was Alice in a boat. She was buying an egg and it turns into Humpty-Dumpty. The woman serving in the shop turns into a sheep and the next minute they are rowing in a rowing boat somewhere and I was visualizing that. There was also the image of the female who would someday come save me -- a 'girl with kaleidoscope eyes' who would come out of the sky. It turned out to be Yoko, though I hadn't met Yoko yet. So maybe it should be 'Yoko in the Sky with Diamonds.'
"It was purely unconscious that it came out to be LSD. Until somebody pointed it out, I never even thought of it. I mean, who would ever bother to look at initials of a title? It's not an acid song."
The song first appeared on the Beatles' archetypal Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album in 1967. Although none of the songs on Sgt. Pepper were released as singles, Joe Cocker's first American chart single was a cover version of "With a Little Help from My Friends" (number 68 in December, 1968).
Elton John's "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 48 on November 30, 1974. When it became Elton's third number one single five weeks later, it also became the second John Lennon and Paul McCartney song not by the Beatles to top the chart ("A World Without Love" was a No. 1 single for Peter and Gordon in June 1964). It also took the title of most successful Beatles cover version of the rock era. The runners-up included "The Fool on the Hill" by Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66 (number six in September, 1968), "You Won't See Me" by Anne Murray (number eight in July, 1974), "Got to Get You Into My Life" by Earth, Wind and Fire (number nine in September, 1978), "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" by Silkie (number 10 in November, 1965) and "We Can Work It Out" by Stevie Wonder (number 13 in April, 1971).
- Fred Bronson, The Billboard Book of Number One Hits, Billboard, 1988.
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