Sunday, May 25, 2008

Dead Air Church: Tomorrow Never Knows

Welcome to all you intrepid explorers of the psyche, you mad adventurers of the gray matter, out there on Facebook and an unnamed message board, currently musing over my Dr Hofmann post. YES, this week, Dead Air Church is for you, you stratosphere-hopping maniacs!

Today, we feature Tomorrow Never Knows, the last song on the Beatles' influential Revolver. I was momentarily concerned that I had used a John Lennon song for Dead Air Church only a couple of weeks ago. And then I thought, wait a minute, regular churches uses the same prophets and mystics over and over again. I guess I can do the same here. I found a wonderfully appropriate psychedelic version.

Wikipedia gives us the background, as if you couldn't tell by just listening:

John Lennon wrote the song in January 1966, closely adapted from the book The Psychedelic Experience by Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert and Ralph Metzner, which they based on, and quoted from, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, with the understanding that the "ego death" experienced under the influence of LSD and other psychedelic drugs is essentially similar to the dying process and requires similar guidance.

Peter Brown claimed that Lennon's only source of inspiration for the song came from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, which it says Lennon read whilst tripping on LSD. George Harrison later stated that the idea for the lyrics came from Leary, Alpert, and Metzner's book. McCartney confirmed this by stating that he and Lennon once visited the newly opened Indica bookshop—as Lennon was looking for a copy of The Portable Nietzsche—and Lennon found a copy of The Psychedelic Experience, which quoted the lines: "When in doubt, relax, turn off your mind, float downstream". Lennon bought the book, went home, took LSD, and followed the instructions exactly as stated in the book.
That you may see the meaning of within: It is being.


The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows

[via FoxyTunes / The Beatles]


peterandthehare said...

Hello Dead Air Church,
While I'll be damned if anyones gonna convert me to anything, after this post you can consider me at lets say - for the sake of argument - 60% a dead air devotee. I'm feeling kind, I'll treat you and this supeb blog to 70%. Haha, just a numbers game of course - I like this blog, and I like this song, even though it always meant more to me than these sources would suggest, so I don't know what I feel about hearing of Lennon's aspirations for it. Oh well.

A stellar post, and a great read.