I'm Only Sleeping (2:57)

Cover of Revolver

From Revolver and 19 other releases

“I’m Only Sleeping” is a song by The Beatles that appeared on their studio album Revolver (in the US on the Yesterday and Today album). Though the song-writing credit is Lennon-McCartney, it was written mostly by John Lennon. It is unique because it features a dual guitar solo by George Harrison played backwards and an electronically compressed rhythm guitar track. The solo is consistent with the rest of the song because Harrison took great pains to practice the entire melody of his solo backwards, so that when reversed and mixed in, it would fit the overall dreamlike mood of the rest of the song.

This hazy, disjointed mood on top of the lyrics suggest a drug-induced state rather than actual dreaming, and this is the most widely accepted interpretation of the song. However, the first draft of Lennon’s lyrics for “I’m Only Sleeping”, written on the back of a letter from 1966, suggest that he actually was writing about the joys of staying in bed rather than any drug euphoria. In fact, Lennon loved staying in bed or on a couch, and when he wasn’t sleeping, he would sit in it and read, write, or watch television. In a March 1966 interview with Maureen Cleave, the same interview in which Lennon made his “more popular than Jesus” remark, Cleave said, “He can sleep almost indefinitely, is probably the laziest person in England.”

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