Thursday, October 01, 2009

John Lennon on the Skill of Creativity

John Lennon, the English rock musician and member of 'The Beatles' was asked in an interview whether his song Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds was inspired by drugs.

In his reply he revealed some secrets into the source and skill of his creativity.

On the Dick Cavet Show Lennon remarked how the song’s initials spelt ‘LSD’ but the inspiration for the lyrics had nothing to do with the taking or advocacy of drugs:

“This is the truth. My son came home with a drawing and he showed me this strange looking woman flying around and I said, ‘What is that?’ And he said, ‘Lucy in the sky with diamonds’ and I thought ‘That’s beautiful.’

Lennon said he immediately wrote a song about the painting and Lucy, the Weybridge nursery friend of Julian Lennon who has recently died.

The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes
Lucy may have been the one with the enchanting ‘kaleidoscope eyes’ yet there is something about Lennon’s eyes and his way of looking at ordinary scenes that tells us how creativity is stimulated.

Sometimes, as with his son’s painting, we might get a flash of inspiration that suggests a lyric, a tune, a project or a plan that we had never contemplated before.

Reflective Eyes
In the same interview John Lennon gives other examples that suggest he was practiced at reflecting on things and seeing something more.

Lennon expanded:

“Another song, ‘Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!’, most of the lyrics I got came from an old poster for an old-fashioned circus in the 1800s.”

He said a similar thing happened with the writing of the song, ‘Happiness is a Warm Gun’:

“It was the front of a gun magazine that said, ‘Happiness is a Warm Gun.’ They’re advertising guns and I thought it was so crazy so I made a song out of it.”

Seeing Something More
John Lennon may have been born with the disposition for creative brilliance but the stories behind these songs, indicate a skill which we can all cultivate:

“Reflecting on the ordinary things that happen everyday, seeking to see something more and using the insights to spark our creativity.”

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at) on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: John Lennon and the drawing by Julian Lennon of Lucy that inspired the song.