"Baby You're a Rich Man" as written by John Winston Lennon and Paul James Mccartney....
How does it feel to be
One of the beautiful people
Now that you know who you are
What do you want to be
And have you traveled very far
Far as the eye can see

How does it feel to be
One of the beautiful people
How often have you been there
Often enough to know
What did you see when you were there
Nothing that doesn't show

Baby you're a rich man
Baby you're a rich man
Baby you're a rich man, too
You keep all your money in a big brown bag
Inside a zoo, what a thing to do
Baby you're a rich man
Baby you're a rich man
Baby you're a rich man, too

How does it feel to be
One of the beautiful people
Tuned to a natural E
Happy to be that way
Now that you've found another key
What are you going to play

Baby you're a rich man
Baby you're a rich man
Baby you're a rich man, too
You keep all your money in a big brown bag
Inside a zoo, what a thing to do
Baby you're a rich man
Baby you're a rich man
Baby you're a rich man, too


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"Baby You're a Rich Man" as written by Paul Mccartney John Lennon

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  • +4
    General CommentFirst, a clue about my age: I saw the Beatles first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show when it happened. So part of my opinion is based on information that was floating around when "Baby, You're A Rich Man" was originally released. I happened to be in NYC the day it was released as the B-side of "All You Need Is Love." I bought the single (45rpm) and took it home with me the same day, on a flight back to my hometown. The record wasn't available there yet, unlike today when CD's hit all stores on the same date.

    1. If you listen to the single version of the song, you can clearly hear John sing "rich fag Jew" before the fade. So if you can find a copy of the single and listen to it on a mono "hi-fi" from that era, it will stand out.

    2. Subsequent re-releases of the track, beginning with Side Two of the Magical Mystery Tour album (in the U.S. only), seem to show some attempt to make those particular words less obvious. With the release of the remastered CD's, you cannot hear it at all. So stop listening for it; you won't hear it.

    3. Consider that the "Baby, You're A Rich Man" segment was McCartney's contribution to the song, and as written, was very likely a reference to Brian Epstein. Lennon contributed the "Beautiful People" part of the song. For those of us at the time who were acquainted with the psychedelic drugs at the time, John's lyrics were LSD references, much like Jimi Hendrix asking, "Are You Experienced?" In John's lyrics, he asks the listener "How often have you been there?", "What did you see when you were there?", "Now that you've found another key, what are you going to play?", etc. Compare those questions to the Beatles interviews on LSD and you can see the connection.

    4. Devout Beatles fans know that Lennon frequently offered parody versions of songs, including Beatles songs. Example: From the album track of "Get Back", before they start playing, John sings: "Sweet Loretta Fart she thought she was a cleaner, but she was a frying pan." There are other examples out there. It was just John being John.

    5. There is no doubt that John was homophobic in his teen and early adult years. Do your research and you'll discover that John used the word "fag" as a derogatory term. John would later become more enlightened, but he did use that term up to and including that time period, and even in the post-Beatles era. Look it up. It's there.

    6. John was definitely ant-Semitic in his younger days. Again, it's out there if you're willing to search for it. Interestingly, by reading an early edition of "Lennon Remembers", you'll find John referring to a certain family as being "WASP Jews" and adding, "They're the worst kind." Those comments have been deleted from more recent editions, so you'll need to look for an older copy of the book.

    7. Larry Kane, who wrote a book about traveling with the Beatles on their U.S. tours, reported anti-Semitic comments coming from someone in the group. He said that at one point, Ringo took him aside to explain the history of anti-Semitic views in the U.K. Please note that Mr. Kane is Jewish, and also became a close friend of Lennon in the post-Beatles years.

    8. John's relationship with Brian Epstein was very complicated. Yes, he would say homophobic and anti-Semitic things in Brian's presence. And at the same time, he went on holiday and shared a hotel with him in Spain. John's taunting of Brian being both gay and Jewish was part of how he treated many people in the "inner circle" of the Beatles. Today, we might call this playful slamming, not unlike African-Americans playing the "dozens" back in the day. It was part of the Beatles/Liverpool culture, not unlike Harrison's famous, "For starters, I don't like your tie", to George Martin. I suspect Brian learned to accept it good-naturedly, as when John "retitled" Brian's autobiography from "A Cellarful Of Noise" to "A Cellarful of Boys."

    9. John was not only outspoken, but by today's standards, he would be considered very "politically incorrect." His use of words like "deaf", "dumb", and "cripples" would be deemed highly offensive today. But there was NO political correctness in those days, and such words were widely accepted.

    10. Published photos from 1967 suggest that Brian may very well have been visiting the recording studio when they recorded that track. I surmise this from pictures of Brian in the studio with the Beatles when their physical appearance and clothes indicate it was from the post-Sgt Pepper's period.

    By the way, I am a huge John Lennon fan, and none of this is meant to be anti-Lennon. I admire John, warts and all. But my conclusion is that John adlibbed the "rich fag Jew" spontaneously during the session, possibly because Brian was there.

    Over the years, someone has attempted to engage in a little revisionist history where Lennon is concerned. Perhaps it was EMI or Apple in the late 60's. Now it may be a case of Yoko trying to clean up John's history for posterity. Remember, there was talk of removing the cigarette from Paul's hand on the Abbey Road album cover, right?

    Anyway, I challenge all of you to go back and study the original sources for this information. Ignore the current revisions.
    svjunioron May 29, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI like the song...except the zoo line. It's a cop out rhyme.
    airforbes1on May 02, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's not exactly true that John didn't like Brian Epstein. He liked him as a person; he described him as a "real person" as opposed to the fake John Eastman in the 1970 RS interviews. He did, however, acknowledge that Epstein had somewhat taken advantage of them financially.

    I don't know if the "rich f*g Jew" thing is often cited, but I don't know whether it is accurate or even whether Coleman claimed it was accurate or mentioned it as a rumor.
    DJacques75on May 25, 2004   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningEverybody seems to agree that the song's about Brian Epstein, but I don't see where anyone has used that fact to interpret the lyric "tuned to a natural E". Of all notes, why E? For Epstein of course. "Happy to be that way". Epstein was happy to be who he naturally was. Gay, presumably. "Now that you've found another key, what are you going to play?" Another key? Had he expressed romantic interest in a woman maybe? Nothing I found in Wikipedia suggests anything of the sort. Just thinking aloud what this passage might mean. Am I nuts or am I on to something here?
    drewmikeon January 06, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Commentive never actually heard this song... but i remember reading about it in book by Ray Coleman, (a close associate with the Beatles), "Lennon." supposedly this song was "dedicated" to the late Brian Epstein; originally titled "Baby youre a rich f*g jew." If u wanna check it, the title and author of the book are there. The song def shows Lennon's disgust of the "business type." But i always thought him and epstein were friends. maybe its some of John's dark humor??
    strwberryf1dson April 09, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyep. this song was definitely written about brian epstein. john didn't like epstein that much...
    weezerific:cutleryon June 12, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti remember reading this song was about hippies. i dunno. don't ask me. i just really, really like it.
    classicrockgirlon June 25, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMaybe if you play it backwards itll reveal secret lyrics about Brain Epstein, Satan and the meaning of life.
    Grobuson January 07, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyeah i love all the subliminal messages in queen and beatles songs...i personally believe that they were put there lol :)
    julesruleson January 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHow do you know this aint about himself, Paul or one of the Beatles like?
    knowhaimean?
    nosleeppoliceon February 16, 2005   Link

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