“Run For Your Life” by The Beatles? Better run indeed.

Posted: April 15, 2017 in Music, Rock Lyrics, Rock Music, Rock Videos, Things I Love

True Beatles fans are well aware that the boys from Liverpool were capable of some crazy stuff, especially later in their career. After all, they wrote a song called “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” about a murderous bro who killed people with a hammer. The song was done with such a pleasant, melodious tune that people didn’t really care. They also recorded weird songs like “Revolution #9” that has to be heard to be believed, because it’s that damn weird.

Still, it began way before those two tunes, as early as 1965 on their Rubber Soul album. At this point The Beatles were still sort of thought of as four lovable Mop Tops and not the anti-establishment hippies they’d be looked at as later. Once again, the song I’m about to talk about is upbeat, with a pretty melody. But, when you listen to the lyrics it paints a much darker picture.

The song is called “Run for Your Life” and it is downright frightening. A video is below, but let’s examine the lyrics first. Since the Beatle that wrote the song always sang lead back then, we can assume John Lennon penned this little ditty. Why am I not surprised? With a deep breath, let us proceed . . .

Well I’d rather see you dead, little girl
Than to be with another man.

Well, well. Didn’t beat around the bush, now did we? That’s a little harsh, man. Jeebus.

You better keep your head, little girl
Or I won’t know where I am.

So basically John is saying, “Sweetie, better keep your head or I’ll lose mine.” Good God.

You better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That’s the end, little girl.

A-n-d, there it is. Cheat on me and die. Boom.

Well I know that I’m a wicked guy
And I was born with a jealous mind
And I can’t spend my whole life
Trying just to make you toe the line.

I know, I know, not a real New Age way of thinking for sure. Making a woman “toe the line” is a little outdated, fo sho.  Then again, so is threatening to commit homicide if they don’t. John actually touched on his jealousy issues later on when he wrote “Jealous Guy” as a solo artist. However, Mr. Lennon wasn’t done making his point.

Let this be a sermon
I mean everything I’ve said
Baby, I’m determined
And I’d rather see you dead.

Because nothing makes a song come together better than combining religion and manslaughter, amirite?

You better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That’s the end, little girl.

From this point forward the boys pretty much repeat their morbid threats of death until they merrily fade out at the end.

Perhaps the most amazing aspect of the song is that their was no public outcry, no wringing of hands, really no complaints at all about the song. Nobody said, “Hey, isn’t that Beatle dude threatening to kill his girlfriend? That doesn’t seem right.” Hey, it was a simpler, more naive time. Folks just rolled with it.

Then again, there were artists like Liberace and Little Richard who in retrospect were clearly gay, but I don’t remember that occurring to anybody either. On the other hand, I was 9-years old so what the hell did I know about the world?

Maybe this song was the beginning of the end of the innocence, you know? Because shortly thereafter music took a turn from being mostly about love, cars, and dancing to being about the Vietnam War, Civil Rights, sex, and doing drugs.

The Beatles. Always ahead of the times, man. Anywho, turns out YouTube has been scrubbed of all Beatle tunes, which sucks.Still, I found the song being performed by a Beatles cover band, and quite nicely, it turns out. Enjoy.

Note: The song “Baby, Let’s Play House” actually featured the lyrics “I’d rather see you dead little girl, than to be with another man” back in 1954 by Arthur Gunter, then in 1955 by some dude named Elvis Presley. People were weird back in the day, man.

  1. Ricardo says:

    Lennon took it from an Elvis song” Baby Lets Play House “. I’d rather see you dead little girl than to be with another man..

Gimme a holler.

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