"You Can't Do That" as written by John Lennon and Paul Mccartney....
I got something to say that might 'cause you pain
If I catch you talking to that boy again
I'm gonna let you down
And leave you flat
Because I told you before
Oh, you can't do that

Well, it's the second time I've caught you talking to him
Do I have to tell you one more time, I think it's a sin
I think I'll let you down (let you down)
And leave you flat (gonna let you down and leave you flat)
Because I've told you before, oh
You can't do that

Everybody's green
'Cause I'm the one, who won your love
But if they'd seen
You're talking that way they'd laugh in my face

So please listen to me, if you wanna stay mine
I can't help my feelings, I'll go out of my mind
I'm gonna let you down (let you down)
And leave you flat (gonna let you down and leave you flat)
Because I've told you before
Oh, you can't do that

You can't do that
You can't do that
You can't do that
You can't do that
You can't do that

Everybody's green
'Cause I'm the one who won your love
But if they'd seen
You're talking that way they'd laugh in my face

So please listen to me, if you wanna stay mine
I can't help my feelings, I'll go out of my mind
I'm gonna let you down (let you down)
And leave you flat (gonna let you down and leave you flat)
Because I've told you before
Oh, you can't do that


Lyrics submitted by Ice

"You Can't Do That" as written by Paul Mccartney John Lennon

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Royalty Network

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You Can't Do That song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentWow, John Lennon had some jealously issues...this, Run For Your Life, I'm sure I can come up with a few more examples...
    new_york_eyes27on September 16, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentHa, I love this song. He's basically saying that he's the boss in the relationship and the girl better straighten up or he will leave her.
    josh87on March 13, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOkay I heard that this was Lennon having a conversation with God. So many people think that Lennon and the Beatles were pretty much the 60's "saviors" and that they were blessed with this responsinility to help out America and attempt at instilling love and peace which ultimately saves us you know? A lot of people thought and still do think of their music to be almost "divine,"
    So let's just say Lennon *was* God's chosen one...Lennon was saying, "I'm gonna let you down and leave you flat" and then he talks about himself in third person Lennon says, "Well, it’s the second time, I’ve caught you talking to him,
    Do I have to tell you one more time, I think it’s a sin,"
    'I think I'll let you down' he says...

    "Ev’rybody’s green,
    ‘Cause I’m the one, who won your love,
    But if it’s seen,
    You’re talking that way
    They’d laugh in my face.
    So please listen to me, if you wanna stay mine,
    I can’t help my feelings, I’ll go out of my mind,"
    See with following this whole idea, this part is saying to God, "I won your love and people are jealous about it. I mean if they heard what kind of ideas you wanted me to communicate for you, they'd laugh at me." Then he says, "Please listen to me if you want to stay mine"
    which means he's laying it down and kind of venting to this higher power he is communicating for.

    Okay so this was done in the very beginning of the Beatles' musical career so this idea makes sense with the timing. And then at the very end of their career, their last performance on a roof top singing, "Don't Let Me Down" it's kind of like the Bealtes saying, "We gave you all this music and tried to instill some peace. We have taught you. Our job is over. It's up to all of you now. 'DOn't Let me Down'" It's kind of a word from God as well, don't you think? Continuing with that whole savior idea of course...
    2worldon January 02, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentNice theory, 2world, but I don't think Lennon had too much interest in religion at that stage in his life. This song is probably nothing more than a mysogonistic Lennon tune fuelled by his border-line maniacal jealousy. This song shows the "tough" side of Lennon to counter his softer side on songs like "If I Fell" and "Tell me Why"
    born to runon January 17, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment2world your theory is so weird man...Its a kick-ass song by Lennon...lyrics are pretty simple its just the music which is killing..one the few songs which my poor friends who dont understand the concept of beatles can listen to...lennon yells and leads follows nothing like it...
    vishal_wallon January 18, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHaha, 2world, I love your premise! Why not. I 've always just assumed it's that side of Lennon that I actually really admire. That honest side. If anybody can put themselves out there and be vulnerable in song it is John Lennon. Think 'Help', 'I'm A Loser', 'Yer Blues', 'Don't Let Me Down' etc. I love that about him.

    In this song he's showing typical male entitlement anger, and he knows it. I think it's interesting that in the bridge he makes his main point by telling us that it's not so much about him being hurt by her giving attention to other guys but by how people will laugh at him once they find out. It's something different than him just being a jealous guy. It's him facing public humiliation. Is that a real thorn in John's side or is he making a point to other men who would react this way at what might be behind their anger in similar situations.

    In any case, the music in this song equals the tenor of the lyrics. The opening guitar lick is one of his best and his voice drives the song relentlessly thrusting on the downbeat in an angry, dirty way. The rhythm guitar sound is nasty, too, and syncopates in a raunchy accompaniment to his vocals. One unique, perfect song from the nearly perfect album, 'A Hard Day's Night', made at the pinnacle of their pure rock song/ballade writing.
    motifxf8on October 09, 2018   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthanks guys :) yeah, I still really love this song. I've heard about his jealousy, yes. And I very much agree with vishal wall about his yells and leads. Powerful stuff.
    2worldon March 10, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI can relate to his jealousy, but I don't really like this side of John Lennon. But, you know, he got better. :P
    missworld77on April 29, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhen listening to pop music with a story like this, I often imagine what the other person's response would be. In this case it had to be something like this:

    "You pompous ass, don't flatter yourself. Here's a clue -- you say 'I told you before' -- and how's that working out for ya? You say 'everybody's green' with envy that you scored such a hottie. So how long do you think I'll be crying on my own? How 'flat' do you think you're really going to leave me? As if.

    'Wanna stay mine'? Didn't know I ever was your property.

    'I'm gonna let you down' -- Oh yeah? Know what, I'll save you the trouble. I'm gonna DTMFA as Dan Savage likes to say... Buh-bye."

    Forgive the anachronisms, like John's girlfriend in the 60s quoting Dan Savage, but the song is "timeless", right? Twaddle and tripe can be timeless too.

    That said, the song IS impossibly catchy, a well-crafted pop song from one of the top geniuses of the genre.
    bulgieon September 09, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Commentnaw....this is a male empowerment song...his problem isn't with her talking to another man...its the WAY she is talking to that man...he gives hints...she is talking to that man in a manner that is "extra"...so extra in fact that all them dudes(who are envious of his relationship) if they witnessed the manner in which she is talking to this other man they wouldn't be envious anymore...they would be laughing at him...the envy would turn to ridicule...he isn't jealous...he just wants his woman to act like a wife...he isn't going to have a whore-off with her...he will simply dump her ass and leave her flat..she chose him for a reason...because he is a man of character who won't engage in such whore-ish behaviors...nobody wants people laughing at them because their girlfriend/boyfriend is acting innappropriately with someone else...

    eye have had girlfriends like this...girls who chose me over a bunch of other lame dudes with no effort on my part...those dudes were envious but once they ceen her whore-ish behavior in action they was clowning me...not cool when you got inferior lame dudes laughing at you...one thing eye notice is this type of female can dish out all the innappropriate behavior but when you come anywhere near the vicinity of her behavior she gets butt hurt...she isn't having it...the reason she acts innappropriate is because she is insecure about herself...

    so he is basically saying if don't want to be with a King, then get with those losers who are going to be doing the same fuck shit behind her back

    let whores be with other whores and let Kings be with Queens

    the song is about a man standing strong on his square
    mattycakeson July 28, 2019   Link

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