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John Lennon will always be associated with LSD. Some of that association was warranted. However, John decried the notion that LSD inspired one of his songs.

John Lennon preferred LSD to other drugs

The book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono features an interview from 1980. In it, John discussed his opinion of LSD at length. “Acid is only real life in CinemaScope,” he said. “Whatever experience you had is what you would have had anyway. I’m not promoting, all you committees out there, and I don’t use it because it’s chemical, but all the garbage about what it did to people is garbage.”

John seemed to be more comfortable with LSD than other drugs. “A little mushroom or peyote is not beyond my scope, you know, maybe twice a year or something,” he said. “But acid is a chemical. People are taking it, though, even though you don’t hear about it anymore.” He said the drug had the capacity to take people to the cosmos. John said the drug “works in mysterious ways,” echoing a well-known saying about God.

John was asked about LSD flashbacks. “I’ve never met anybody who’s had a flashback,” he said. “I’ve never had a flashback in my life and I took millions of trips in the ’60s, and I’ve never met anybody who had any problem. I’ve had bad trips and other people have had bad trips, but I’ve had a bad trip in real life. I’ve had a bad trip on a joint. I can get paranoid just sitting in a restaurant. I don’t have to take anything.” John went on to criticize cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol.

He said LSD didn’t inspire ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’

The main reason why the public associates The Beatles with LSD is that many fans have claimed “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” is about the drug. Notably, the initials of the song are “LSD.” The “Imagine” singer dismissed the idea that “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” had anything to do with acid. He said he never thought about the initials until someone else brought them up.

Two things inspired “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” One was a passage from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass where the main character, Alice, rides in a boat. The other was John’s desire for a woman who was going to come and save him from his problems. It’s notable that John’s relationship with his first wife, Cynthia Lennon, was not great around the time he wrote “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” In retrospect, John said he should have called the song “Yoko in the Sky with Diamonds,” though he had not met Yoko when he penned the track.


The Beatles’ Producer Hated When ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ Was in a Show About LSD

John Lennon’s explanation didn’t stop ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ from getting banned

According to the 1997 book Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, the association between “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and LSD caused radio stations across the globe to ban the song. What a different time the 1960s was! It’s hard to imagine a modern radio station banning “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” for drug references, especially considering the song isn’t explicit.

John said “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” isn’t about LSD even if John enjoyed the drug.