For 10 points: What is the meaning of 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds'?

Thu May 14, 2015 10:57am EDT
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By Estelle Shirbon

LONDON (Reuters) - Is the Beatles song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" a rebellious anthem to wild drug-taking or a touching tribute to a child's imagination? Discuss.

The question, which has exercised Beatles fans since the song appeared in the seminal 1967 album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", could soon form part of an exam curriculum for British teenagers.

Exam board AQA, which sets and marks papers for about half of all GCSE exams taken by British 16-year-old high-school pupils, plans to introduce three songs from Sgt. Pepper into the music curriculum from September 2016.

"Pop music began in this country with The Beatles in the swinging sixties, so what better band to look to for the study of contemporary music than the Fab Four," said Seb Ross, head of AQA's music department.

The addition of the Sgt. Pepper tracks to the board's music GCSE curriculum puts The Beatles in the company of classical composers Joseph Haydn and Aaron Copland as well as influential guitarist Carlos Santana, whose works also feature.

AQA said students would be asked to look at the melody, harmony, structure, rhythm and meaning of three songs from the Beatles album, which influenced generations of musicians and changed recording techniques.

"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" has long been the subject of disagreement between those who say the title's letters refer to the psychedelic drug LSD and those who accept John Lennon's more innocent explanation.

Lennon always maintained that the song was inspired by a drawing by his five-year-old son Julian about a schoolfriend called Lucy.   Continued...

Paul McCartney (L) and Ringo Starr perform during the taping of "The Night That Changed America: A GRAMMY Salute To The Beatles", which commemorates the 50th anniversary of The Beatles appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, in Los Angeles January 27, 2014.   REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni