Lyrics you wonder about

Not that I particularly love this song as the OP would’ve hoped, but I always wondered about these lyrics in Cream’s “Swlabr”.

So while I have no idea what to make of these lyrics:

You’ve got that rainbow feel
But the rainbow has a beard

this line, however:

Such good responses

Uh, say what? “Responses”? What - are you working in some behavioral vivisection lab or something, Jack?

If I remember correctly, John wrote that song specifically because he was amused by the intensity of the critics to gain every nuance from the Beatles’ lyrics, and decided to mess with their heads. That part, apparently, was part of an old Liverpudlian schoolchildren’s rhyme. Such rhymes delight in the ugly (cf. “Great green globs of greasy, grimy gopher guts”).

The story I’ve heard is that he got a letter from a school child who told him that their class had done an analysis of one of his songs, which bemused him and motivated him to write a nonsense song so people had something to analyse.

SWLABR: She Was Like A Bearded Rainbow.

I recall an interview with Bob Dylan where he was asked about what a certain song means.

He said “It doesn’t mean anything … it’s just a song.”

In Dylan’s “Love Minus Zero / No Limit” it starts with wonderful poetry:

My love, she speaks like silence
Without ideals or violence
She doesn’t have to say she’s faithful
Yet she’s true, like ice, like fire

People carry roses
And make promises by the hours
My love, she laughs like the flowers
Valentines can’t buy her

But later on, I wonder if he’s messing with us:

The cloak and dagger dangles
Madams light the candles
In ceremonies of the horsemen
Even the pawn must hold a grudge

And when Don McLean was asked what American Pie means, said “It means I will never have to work again.”

The lyrics to Quinn the Eskimo seem beyond silly and well into nonsense. The line that caught my attention is “I like my sugar sweet,” which, I’ve just learned, appears in a 1941 recording by Fletcher Henderson.

I’ve never liked Quinn the Eskimo. There’s so little happening musically that the drivel is kind of annoying.

Knew a guy who worked on the lighting for a music venue. They would get the lyrics from the band, and mark them up with lighting cues.

Worked great, except when Michael Stipe was involved. He’d sing anything he wanted. Ignore the lyrics, change the lyrics, make up nonsense lyrics. On the spot.

Just after hearing that story, I read an interview where Stipe said he treats the voice as just another instrument and it really doesn’t matter what he’s saying. Made sense.