John Lennon Accidentally Created a Beatles Song Whilst Stoned
John Lennon live in 1969 - BeatlesAndSolo / Youtube
It’s quite an interesting thing that while conscious intent drives most songwriters to create some of their best works in history, those that came forth unconsciously have also been proven to be as equally potent. This has been the case for most bands and artists, the Beatles’ John Lennon included.
One great example of this is the song “Rain”, which was delegated to Ringo Starr but was perfected by Lennon. The song served as the B-side to “Paperback Writer” on the band’s 1966 album, Revolver. This was the era when the Beatles decided it was time to put down the pop star image and stay true to their creative wiles.
As everybody knows by now, the band wasn’t new to recreational substances which were done in conjunction with songwriting. Lennon was now coming from a place of deep introspection, which was paired with a relentless drive of musical experimentation. He recalls one serendipitous moment, saying: “After we’d done the session on that particular song — it ended at about four or five in the morning — I went home with a tape to see what else you could do with it. And I was sort of very tired, you know, not knowing what I was doing, and I just happened to put it on my own tape recorder and it came out backwards. And I liked it better. So that’s how it happened.”
He unknowingly put the first backward tape on record all because he was stoned on pot. “I got home from the studio and I was stoned out of my mind on marijuana… and, as I usually do, I listened to what I’d recorded that day. Somehow it got on backwards and I sat there, transfixed, with the earphones on, with a big hash joint,” he shared in a 1980 Playboy interview.
“I ran in the next day and said, ‘I know what to do with it, I know… listen to this!’ So I made them all play it backwards. The fade is me actually singing backwards with the guitars going backwards. ‘Sharethsmnowthsmeanss!’ That one was the gift of God… of Ja actually—the god of marijuana, right? So Ja gave me that one.”
The song also saw Starr step up from his usual backing role, saying: “My favourite piece of me is what I did on ‘Rain.’ I think I just played amazing. I was into the snare and hi-hat.”
He added: “I think it was the first time I used the trick of starting a break by hitting the hi-hat first instead of going directly to a drum off the hi-hat. I think it’s the best out of all the records I’ve ever made. ‘Rain’ blows me away. It’s out in left field. I know me and I know my playing… and then there’s ‘Rain.’”