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The Beatles and #MeToo

It was 55 years ago today (Feb. 1, 1964) when I Wanna Hold Your Hand became the first #1 hit for The Beatles in the USA. I was a very young lad when The Fab Four made their big splash. I went along for the ride because my two older brothers were in high school at the time and bought all the albums. So, I’ve been a Beatles fan for as long as I can remember. In fact, I can only remember a little bit of the music that I listened to before I listened to The Beatles.

I have several favorites, or near-favorites on my Beatles playlist. There’s one song that haunts me. For many years I paid no attention to the lyrics. This song has a great beat and an awesome sound. It’s a real toe-tapper. But then there’s the lyrics.

Lyrics – Run For Your Life

  • I’d rather see you dead, little girl,
  • Than to be with another man.
  • You’d better keep your head, little girl,
  • Or I won’t know where I am.
  • You’d better run for your life if you can, little girl,
  • Hide your head in the sand, little girl,
  • Catch you with another man,
  • That’s the end ah, little girl.
  • Well you know that I’m a wicked guy
  • And I was born with a jealous mind.
  • And I can’t spend my whole life
  • Tryin’ just to make you toe the line.

Repeat 2nd stanza.

  • Let this be a sermon,
  • I mean ev’rything I said.
  • Baby, I’m determined
  • And I’d rather see you dead.

Repeat 2nd stanza

Repeat 1st Stanza

Repeat 2nd Stanza

John Lennon wrote these words. I guess this was before he tried to be a pacifist. He admitted in a 1980 Playboy interview that he treated women badly. “All that ‘I used to be cruel to my woman, I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved’ was me. I used to be cruel to my woman, and physically… any woman. I was a hitter. I couldn’t express myself and I hit.”

I’ve heard many people argue that even though John wrote these lyrics, he wasn’t writing about himself. Apparently, he was writing a story about some crazy jealous dude – but not him. Based on his own words as a younger lad, and based on his statements that he wished he had never written this song – I tend to believe that it’s autobiographical.

It’s a shame that this song has such nasty lyrics. Take this same beat and melody and put it with decent lyrics and it would probably be my favorite Beatles song. Bummer.

One Response

  1. Thanks, Barry – and Happy Birthday!

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