Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
- John Lennon – piano, lead guitar, double-tracked lead vocal
- Paul McCartney – Lowrey organ, bass, harmony vocal
- George Harrison – acoustic guitar, tambura, sitar
- Ringo Starr – drums, maracas
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds is perhaps the prime example of psychedelic rock, Beatles style. It is a centerpiece of the 1967 album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The song is famous for the controversy it inspired concerning the first initials of the name itself, which spell "LSD." For that reason, the BBC would not play the track on the radio. Lennon always maintained that the name came from a drawing made by his son Julian. Paul later acknowledged that the reference to LSD was "pretty obvious." Nothing in logic prevents the conclusion that both statements are true. John Lennon's son, Julian made a drawing in nursery school in 1966 of his friend, Lucy (O'Donnell), with diamond eyes. He showed it to his father and described it as "Lucy in the sky, with diamonds." Lennon took that as an inspiration for a song in which he also re-examined images from his own childhood, especially those of Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass and The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland. The dreamy texture of the song and its lyrics, combined with the child-like phraseology, makes Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds a stellar example of psychedelic music, a bit of surrealism capable of sending the listener on new, personal mental voyages.
Lennon wrote Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds with some input from Paul McCartney. Musically, the song creates its mood by switching rhythms and keys frequently. The verses create a dreamy mood and are in 6/8 time, in A major. The bridge moves to B-flat, and then the chorus comes along in 4/4 time, and in G major. The fairly simple melody (somewhat reminiscent of a nursery rhyme) repeats throughout, but the instrumentation grows increasingly complex. Harrison plays a tamboura and Paul plays an organ counterpoint with a celesta stop. Recording started with rehearsals on February 28 and recording of seven takes on March 1, 1967. Vocals and lead guitar were overdubbed on March 2. It was completed very quickly -- too quickly, according to Lennon in 1980 interview, in which he said he thought the production did not do justice to the song. On Anthology 2 (1996), Apple Records released a combination of the base track from take 6, tamboura from take 7 and the backing vocal overdubs.