On The Beatles’ classic double record The White Album, John made sure he left a few red herrings ensured to send fans and Beatles aficionados into overdrive. He filled one song to the brim with false information or deliberate intrigue and it became a Beatles classic because of it. Of course, we’re talking about ‘Glass Onion’.
The knowledge of The Beatles mythology was palpable by 1968 when the group were writing and recording the new record. John decided to write a song which would send fans through a loop and make reference to several other Beatles tracks at the same time. The song notes Fab Four compositions, ‘I Am The Walrus’, ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, ‘Lady Madonna’, ‘The Fool On The Hill’, and ‘Fixing A Hole’.
Thanks to the self-referential moments the song itself begins to loop in on itself almost from the very beginning as it offers a psychedelic view of The Beatles past work. But according to John, it was far simple than that. “That’s me, just doing a throwaway song, à la ‘Walrus’, à la everything I’ve ever written.”
The track had become a fan favourite for its psychedelic tendencies and the classic allegory it shared.
“I threw the line in – ‘the Walrus was Paul’ – just to confuse everybody a bit more,” recalls John in 1980, speaking with David Sheff. “And I thought Walrus has now become me, meaning ‘I am the one.’ Only it didn’t mean that in this song. It could have been ‘the fox terrier is Paul,’ you know. I mean, it’s just a bit of poetry. It was just thrown in like that.” “The line was put in partly because I was feeling guilty because I was with Yoko and I was leaving Paul. I was trying – I don’t know. It’s a very perverse way of saying to Paul, you know, ‘Here, have this crumb, this illusion – this stroke, because I’m leaving’.”