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LONDON - 24th JUNE: Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and John Lennon (1940-1980) from The Beatles arrive at EMI Studios in Abbey Road, London for the recording of 'All You Need is Love' on 24th June 1967. (Photo by Mark and Colleen Hayward/Redferns)

The Story and Meaning Behind The Beatles’ “And Your Bird Can Sing” and the Mystery of Who John Lennon was Targeting with the Song

Revolver features some of the most iconic songs in The Beatles’ catalog, including classics like “Eleanor Rigby,” “Tomorrow Never Knows,” and “Here, There and Everywhere.” But where it really gains separation from other rock albums is in the depth of its lineup of songs. That includes “And Your Bird Can Sing,” which is somehow catchy and elusive all at once.

What is the song about? What did its main writer, John Lennon, think about it? And what unique instrumental touch did The Beatles add to the song to help it stand out? All the answers and more ahead as we explore “And Your Bird Can Sing.”

Lennon’s Throwaway
Songwriters can often be harshest on their own material. This was especially true of John Lennon, who often denigrated work from his past that many fans absolutely loved. “And Your Bird Can Sing” was one of those songs. In interviews discussing his Beatles work, he quickly dismissed it as nothing more than a throwaway.

Many have speculated that Lennon did so because he didn’t want to reveal the target of the song. Over the years, folks have hazarded various guesses about whom Lennon was addressing and who their “bird” was supposed to be. Since Lennon didn’t specify, there’s no way to verify it.

Part of the problem with this guessing game is the lyrics don’t necessarily take a one-sided approach to the subject. That’s why there might be some holes in the theory that Lennon was taking aim at someone like Mick Jagger or Frank Sinatra. It’s possible Lennon, whose lyrics were taking on a more oblique tone at that point anyway, had started with some specific target in mind, only to let his imagination take the song in another direction.

Harmony Overload
In an interview with author David Sheff, Lennon called “And Your Bird Can Sing” “fancy paper around an empty box.” While we’d vehemently disagree about the emptiness, he was correct about the fanciness, considering all The Beatles did to adorn this Revolver track. There were engaging vocal harmonies within the song, but that wasn’t too surprising.

Where “And Your Bird Can Sing” innovated was in the addition of the twin lead guitars that open the song (and keep returning throughout) and play the main riff in harmony. Although there’s some debate over who played those guitars (the memories of the group members were a bit fuzzy about it), it’s most likely that George Harrison and Paul McCartney delivered this part of the song.

One other note about “And Your Bird Can Sing”: The version found on Anthology 2 displays the camaraderie between John Lennon and Paul McCartney while creating the song. Although it’s not clear what caused them to do it, the two men can be heard cracking up with laughter while trying to lay down their vocals. Listen to it, and you just might get the giggles as well.

What is the Meaning of “And Your Bird Can Sing”?
In “And Your Bird Can Sing,” John Lennon seems to be addressing a friend or lover who prizes material goods and their own achievements more than companionship. The narrator is the one holdout, the one hurdle this person can’t clear: Tell me that you’ve got everything you want / And your bird can sing / She don’t get me, you don’t get me.

While the verses might display a touch of bitterness, the middle eights take on a slightly more empathetic tone, even as they predict the struggles of the person they’re addressing. When your prized possessions / Start to weigh you down, Lennon sings. Each of these sections is punctuated with the somewhat reassuring line, I’ll be ‘round.

Of course, you could also read that as the narrator coming around to gloat instead of to help. It’s one of the joys of “And Your Bird Can Sing” that this somewhat unassuming little song can invite countless interpretations, even if its main writer didn’t see the song in the same positive light.

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