I read the news today, oh boy
About a lucky man who made the grade
And though the news was rather sad
Well, I just had to laugh
I saw the photograph

He blew his mind out in a car
He didn't notice that the lights had changed
A crowd of people stood and stared
They'd seen his face before
Nobody was really sure if he was from the House of Lords

I saw a film today, oh boy
The English Army had just won the war
A crowd of people turned away
But I just had to look
Having read the book
I'd love to turn you on

Woke up, fell out of bed
Dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup
And looking up, I noticed I was late
Found my coat and grabbed my hat
Made the bus in seconds flat
Found my way upstairs and had a smoke
And somebody spoke and I went into a dream

I read the news today, oh boy
Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire
And though the holes were rather small
They had to count them all
Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall
I'd love to turn you on

Lyrics submitted by Ice, edited by PTCGAZ, GeoJoe1000

A Day In The Life Lyrics as written by Paul Mccartney John Lennon

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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A Day in the Life song meanings
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  • +13
    My InterpretationI believe the structure of the song is crucial to understand what it means;

    the first part is about laying in bed, waiting to fall asleep, thinking of the day that is about to finish. he thinks of the irony in life, he can't help but laughing at someone dying in such an absurd way, after "having made the grade" in the life. the orchestral section is the moment when he falls alseep, with so much meaningless thinking going on (beautiful how the last thing he thinks is his loved one, and how he would like her to be there with him).
    Then he suddenly wakes up and starts his day routine; he has to hurry, no time for thinking; but then he smokes, and while people are talking about something he probably doesn't really care about, once again he goes away with his mind just like when he was about to sleep ("i went into a dream"), and again the orchestral section is the division between the everyday world and the world he has in his mind. Yet again, the last thought that comes to his mind is her... He'd love to turn her on...

    Sorry about my poor english, i did my best
    Urasawaon November 18, 2012   Link
  • +6
    My Interpretation"He blew his mind out in a car"
    The car crash is about Tara Browne whose father was part of The House Of Lords. On 18 December 1966, Browne was driving with his girlfriend, model Suki Potier, in his Lotus Elan through South Kensington at a speed over 100mph. He failed to see a traffic light and proceeded through the junction of Redcliffe Square and Redcliffe Gardens, colliding with a parked lorry. He died of his injuries the following day.

    "I saw a film today oh boy. The English army had just won the war"
    John was in the film, How I Won the War which was about an inept British WWII commander who lead his troops to a series of misadventures in North Africa and Europe. Both the movie and song were released in 1967.

    "Woke up, fell out of bed"
    This part was written by Paul and it describes a typical day for him when he was a teen living in Liverpool. He often took the bus around town because of the proximity of the bus stop being but a few feet from his home.

    "I read the news today oh boy. Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire"
    John had read in a newspaper that there were enough holes in the local roads to fill the Royal Albert Hall. Four thousand holes, to be exact.
    nelliewilsonon July 07, 2013   Link
  • +5
    General CommentJohn contemplating a world that is quickly devolving and coming apart at the seems.. while at the same time moving into interesting new frontiers.. and his response to all of this is that of a slightly passive, stoned, outside observer... his reflections are filtered through the world of media and art, all of which were in the process of becoming increasingly innovative and pervasive in everyone's lives. The disinterested quality is kind of a product of that and, to my mind, was something that continued on through many years later, into the 90s, with the 'slacker' label we all got (rightfully so, perhaps). I wonder if there is also a subconcious thought he's having here about whether his contributions to this new emerging 'art', and that of his contemporaries, is really helping the situation, or just making it worse. He was always so smart like that, being able to see both sides of the coin when it was most critical to have done so, but also when so few people actually were able to like him. So, at the end of the day, I think this is a song that contemplates a life of confusion, bewilderment, ecstasy, ambilivence, engagement, tempation, violence, brilliance, all converging on eachother simultaneously... that's why you hear the cacophy at the end.. but remember, that's followed by the incredible 4 beatles all hitting the same chord on the grand pianos in unison (then followed by a loop of weirdo beatles chatter if you have the actual LP). Good stuff. Hardly gets any better.
    caucasianon September 05, 2010   Link
  • +4
    General Comment"I saw a film today oh boy
    The English Army had just won the war"

    John was acting in a movie "How I Won The War" at the time the song was written.

    "Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire"

    Another Daily Mail article, about a politician commenting on the state of repair of Blackburn's roads - yes, they were potholes! Lennon made the phrase surreal by treating the holes as objects that could "fill the Albert Hall" (London's Royal Albert Hall, a famous Victorian concert venue).
    butterfingersbeckon March 18, 2002   Link
  • +4
    My InterpretationA Day in the Life can be looked at as a criticism of our own society. In the song, three key events are depicted; the man who died in the car crash, the movie about the English winning the war, and the holes in Blackburn's roads. For each one, the lyrics displayed the public's reaction to each occurrence. After each piece of negative news (in this case the gruesome car crash and the holes), the people could not get enough of it. "A crowd of people stood and stared" at the horrifying car crash, and the attention to detail was so great on the story in Lancashire that every hole in the streets was recorded and then relayed to the world. These pieces of negative news which amassed great attention contrasted to the movie about winning the war (a positive event in history because this song was written by UK writers), which received little to no consideration. "A crowd of people turned away" from the movie, thus highlighting the public's boredom with good news. The message of this song is that the news has turned our society into a world of cynics. Our news outlets feature only the ills of our time, always leaving out any sort of favorable news. This is the reason why after every time in the song when it said "I read the news today", it was immediately accompanied by an "oh boy". When was the last time you read news about a policeman who saved a man's life? Or about a child who beat an illness and survived? Our news instead is dominated by current atrocities; our ugly government and state politics, corrupt police murdering innocents, hate crimes, etc. We all have societal cravings to see the worst in our world. But we have to remember that we can't just look at the dark; there must be times when we can shed light on the good in our world.
    JohnPhillipson July 13, 2017   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationMany have noted the meaning of the small facts, strung along the way. What's the big picture?

    John's reading the newspaper. An impression one can't miss at the beginning is the contrast between John's unemotional vocals and diction and the first news item, about a man dying in a car crash, and people being unsure if they know him or not. The alienation of the people from the victim, and the voice of the singer (John, at this point) is jarring. The singer is emotionally dead to what's going on around him.

    As he discusses the film, the unemotional tone continues. The singer doesn't respond to the power of death or war.

    When Paul takes over, we get a man (the same one who read the news?) rushing to get to work. In the middle of it all, he loses focus on what's going on around him, and goes into a dream. Again, a man detached from life.

    John comes back singing (as the same persona?) with another news story and resuming the flat tone.

    The final line, which occurred once before, is the most significant statement: "I'd love to turn you on." John's voice warbles teasingly, calling the most attention to this line. Turn you on…with LSD? It doesn't matter. The problem with the persona (or personas) in the first 90% of the song is the detachment from what's going on around him (or them). The statement of the song, the album, and possibly the Beatles' career is that they'd like to wake people up from that detachment.

    What this song is about isn't the details of the three or four small anecdotes. It's about the detachment, in John's and Paul's two different ways of narrating it, and how they'd like to turn us on. And for my money, the song, at least in some small way, accomplishes that.
    rikdad101@yahoo.comon June 29, 2015   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI've always thought the song starts with "About a lucky man who made the GRAVE" which made the first verse be about suicide. The narrator reads the news about a man who had shot himself in a car while perhaps he hadn't noticed that his terrible situation had changed (to what the traffic light might allude to) and thus the situation is ironic/funny – the man shot himself too early to realize things have resolved already. The shot makes his face unrecognizable and so people stand and stare out of shock, wondering if he is ‘famous’.
    The narrator continues to tell about a movie that he saw and while people couldn’t bear to watch it, his interest was deeper and he continued till the end. This sets him apart from “crowd of people” once again. The line “I’d love to turn you on”, is what lies underneath all this distancing from the “crowd”, the man is in love and all the news/books/movies are just a façade of interests beneath which are the thoughts about the girl he wants.
    The song switches to another narrator who is more upbeat and whose life is more structured and a little more stressful who does not have time to think about either a woman he might love or the news. His life revolves around the mundane activities of life.
    The song switches back to the first narrator where he continues to leaf through the newspaper where he notices a peculiar story that he finds funny. But once again, beneath it all are the thoughts about the girl.
    lemonyminton December 12, 2016   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis is very much Johns swan song. And although it could make more sense starting from the end & going backwards, the point he makes is quite clear.

    Yes, he is talking about Potholes, but makes an omission because he believes that the upper class in the House of Lords consider the people who live in a shit-hole lesser than a Grade A Politician. And further then refers to people as "holes" by jesting that somehow poor people aren't good enough to understand music; the Albert Hall had a capacity of about 4,000 seats back then.

    He also expresses his disdain for War, for people who turn their backs & bury their heads in the sand whilst keeping the typical English pride in winning wars, as well as hinting "I'd Read the Book" - as in Manifesto, which subsumes his initial remark "Nobody was really sure if he was from the House of Lords" the very people or person who start wars, most potentially could have been distracted by one of the Potholes & got killed on the road."

    "I Had to Laugh" merely reassures the listeners that if the Rich don't care about the poor, the poor aren't about to care about them. Even from a human perspective.

    "I'd love to turn you on" is a play on words once again. At first, it would appear that John is being cheeky as usual! But he is also saying very covertly to those who introspect "I'd love to turn you on to these issues".

    It's the only line he repeats & is a metaphor for the whole song. The Orchestral [orgasm] Crescendo is a clandestine statement that we can either make love, or war. [With the end of the song representing a Nuclear Explosion]

    Paul's section is merely there to play out as a philistine; a servile Joe worker who just daydreams his life's journey away with all the other passengers travelling in the same direction; "being taken for a ride".

    In a nut shell, John is unhappy with all the things that segregate us & wishes everyone would stop long enough to come out of the dream. He had a point back then, & it is fundamentally quintessentially relevant now more than ever.

    If only he had know about The Venus Project back then. I think he would have supported it :) No Poverty, Greed, Politics, or War? Who wouldn't want that?
    caldera115on April 22, 2017   Link
  • +1
    General CommentPaul's my favourite Beatle for some reason, I know his earlier lyrics are often about love and are pretty cliched. But his later ones were experimental too, it's just that John was more innovative and went along more psychedelic routes. However, most of the *really* famous Beatles songs are by Paul (Yesterday, Hey Jude). Both John and Paul are important to the Beatles though
    Cherub Rockon August 19, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit's good
    maxpower7489on January 08, 2002   Link

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