The Beatles Love Song Paul McCartney Actually Wrote About Marijuana

When you read about the inspiration for Beatles songs, you get some surprises. A good example comes with John Lennon and “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” Because of the song’s trippy nature — and the initials in the title — many thought it was written about LSD.

But John said that wasn’t true. Looking back, he said Alice in Wonderland served as the main inspiration, while a drawing by his son Julian supplied the title. (On “Hey Jude,” the wildly popular Paul McCartney ballad, the songwriter also had Julian Lennon in mind.)

Other tracks speaks for themselves. It’s no mystery what inspired “The Ballad of John and Yoko” or John’s “In My Life.” On the other hand, Paul was much less inclined to write autobiographically and include personal details in songs.

We can’t say for sure, but we doubt many understood Paul was speaking about the U.S. civil rights movement when he penned “Blackbird.” An even bigger surprise comes when you hear about him writing “Got to Get You Into My Life.” Paul said it’s not about a woman at all.

According to Paul: ‘It’s actually an ode to pot.’

‘The Beatles’ perform ‘All You Need Is Love’ on the first live satellite uplink performance June 25, 1967. | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

While it’s rare for a songwriter to say explicitly he wrote a song about drugs, Paul had no qualms about it. In the fascinating Barry Miles biography Many Years From Now, Paul explained in detail what was on his mind.

“I’d been a rather straight working-class lad, but when we started to get into pot, it seemed to me to be quite uplifting,” he told Miles. “It didn’t seem to have too many side effects like alcohol or some of the other stuff, like pills, which I pretty much kept off.”

Paul went on describing how he enjoyed marijuana and its “literally mind-expanding” effects. So when he wrote the song, he was saying he liked the idea of smoking weed more and would be doing so for the foreseeable future.

“‘Got To Get You Into My Life’ is really a song about that, it’s not to a person,” Paul said. “It’s actually an ode to pot, like someone else might write an ode to chocolate or a good claret.” While we don’t know anyone who writes odes to chocolate, we do get the point.

The Beatles first tried marijuana hanging out with Bob Dylan in ’64.

The Beatles' Paul McCartney and George Harrison ride in a bus in 1966.
Beatles Paul McCartney and George Harrison sit on their tour bus in 1966.| Express Newspapers/Getty Images

Sometimes, you hear a Beatles story that sounds too good to be true. That certainly applies to the first time they tried marijuana. According to everyone present, Bob Dylan turned them on to the drug while visiting the band at a New York hotel.

Dylan’s visit came in 1964, so Paul waited a few years before writing “Got to Get You Into My Life.” (It appeared on 1966’s Revolver.) Many years later, Paul said his best advice would be to “stay straight.” However, for those who will partake regardless, he recommends pot.

“In a stressful world I still would say that pot was one of the best of the tranquilizing drugs,” he said in Many Years From Now. “I have drunk and smoked pot and of the two I think pot is less harmful. People tend to fall asleep on it rather than go and commit murder.”

Also see: Why The Beatles Recorded ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ Without John Lennon