Arts/Literature

I’m So Tired: so say we all, John…

“I think it’s 100 per cent John. Being tired was one of his themes; he wrote ‘I’m Only Sleeping.’ I think we were all pretty tired but he chose to write about it.” – Paul McCartney

John Lennon, White Album period (image courtesy Best Classic Bands)

Being a Beatle was, to be sure, exhausting. John Lennon in particular found the constant stream of attention to his every waking moment (and sometimes to his sleeping moments) tortuous. From “There’s a Place” to “Help” to “I’m Only Sleeping” to “Strawberry Fields Forever,” Lennon consistently looked for escapes from the pressures of being a Beatle, of being John Lennon. One might note that Lennon sought solace from having failed to beware of the old adage “Be careful what you wish for.” Being at “the toppermost of the poppermost” was, he found, a mixed blessing.

The song itself is one of that large number of tunes that he, Paul, and George composed during their retreat in Rishikesh, India, studying transcendental meditation with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. While some of the songs such as “Dear Prudence” and “Julia” were playful or serious expressions of Lennon’s kindness and love,  “I’m So Tired” and “Yer Blues” were examples of Lennon crying in the wilderness – literally.

The lyrics tell a story of fatigue and frustration:

          I’m So Tired

I’m so tired, I haven’t slept a wink
I’m so tired, my mind is on the blink
I wonder should I get up and fix myself a drink
No, no, noI’m so tired I don’t know what to do
I’m so tired my mind is set on you
I wonder should I call you but I know what you would do

You’d say I’m putting you on
But it’s no joke, it’s doing me harm
You know I can’t sleep, I can’t stop my brain
You know it’s three weeks, I’m going insane
You know I’d give you everything I’ve got
For a little peace of mind

I’m so tired, I’m feeling so upset
Although I’m so tired I’ll have another cigarette
And curse Sir Walter Raleigh
He was such a stupid git

You’d say I’m putting you on
But it’s no joke, it’s doing me harm
You know I can’t sleep, I can’t stop my brain
You know it’s three weeks, I’m going insane
You know I’d give you everything I’ve got
For a little peace of mind
I’d give you everything I’ve got
For a little peace of mind
I’d give you everything I’ve got
For a little peace of mind

(Monsieur, Monsieur, Monsieur, how about another one?)

John had been spending day after day struggling with meditation in order to achieve some sort of tranquility. His problem was, he’d recently met Yoko Ono and couldn’t get her out of his mind. He was struggling with that as well as with his ever growing frustration with the limitations of being in the Beatles. And meditation, supposed to help free with his personal burdens and demons, wasn’t working. It only gave him insomnia.

So tired, indeed.

Here’s John’s paean to being worn out:

 

 

 

 

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