Paul McCartney Confirms The Beatles’ ‘Sun King’ Includes Coded Profanity: ‘We Got a Little Seditious Word in There’

The Beatles often hid references to drugs and sex in many of their songs. However, most of the band’s music is relatively clean in terms of profanity and swear words. Still, The Beatles were creative in hiding their provocative references, and Paul McCartney reveals the Fab Four managed to hide a curse word within the lyrics of their song, “Sun King.”

The Beatles included several languages in ‘Sun King’

Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney of The Beatles attend the world premiere of The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years in London, England
Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney | Fred Duval/FilmMagic

The Beatles made up some words and phrases for their songs, such as “Goo goo g’joob” in “I Am the Walrus” and “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.” However, the band mixed actual words from other languages in “Sun King,” a song from Abbey Road. The final group of lyrics contain words from Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. In a 1969 John Lennon interview (shared by Beatlesbible.com), Lennon shared how he and McCartney came up with the blend of languages. 

“When we came to sing it, to make them different, we started joking, saying ‘cuando para mucho’. We just made it up. Paul knew a few Spanish words from school, so we just strung any Spanish words that sounded vaguely like something,” Lennon shared. “One we missed: we could have had ‘para noia’, but we forgot all about it. We used to call ourselves Los Para Noias.”

Paul McCartney reveals The Beatles snuck in a coded profanity into ‘Sun King’

In an interview for his website, Paulmccartney.com, Paul McCartney discusses some of the nonsensical lyrics and Liverpool slang that could find itself in the lyrics of The Beatles songs. The British singer says the phrase “chicka ferdy” in “Sun King” is a secret profanity based on a phrase he learned in Liverpool. 

“There was a thing in Liverpool that us kids used to do, which was instead of saying ‘f-off’, we would say ‘chicka ferdy!’. It actually exists in the lyrics of The Beatles’ song ‘Sun King’. In that song, we just kind of made up things, and we were all in on the joke. We were thinking that nobody would know what it meant, and most people would think, ‘Oh, it must be Spanish’ or something. But, we got a little seditious word in there!”

Macca has put in other Liverpool slang in his work, such as “mumbo” and “cranlock pie.” However, “chicka ferdy” could have gotten The Beatles in trouble if people had figured out what it meant. 

In a 1987 interview, George Harrison revealed that “Sun King” was based on the Fleetwood Mac song “Albatross.” Harrison said The Beatles were inspired by the reverb on guitar used by Fleetwood Mac.

“At the time, ‘Albatross’ was out, with all the reverb on guitar,” Harrison explained. “So we said, ‘Let’s be Fleetwood Mac doing ‘Albatross,’ just to get going.’ It never really sounded like Fleetwood Mac… but that was the point of origin.”

“Albatross” is an entirely instrumental song released on the compilation album The Pious Bird of Good Omen. The song was successful in many countries and remains Fleetwood Mac’s only No. 1 hit on the U.K. charts. 

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