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Doctor Robert by The Beatles

Album: RevolverReleased: 1966
  • This is about Doctor Robert Freymann, a "Speed Doctor" in New York who supplied many celebrities, including The Beatles, with drugs. Reportedly, Dr. Freymann, who died in 1987, treated patients with injects of amphetamine-spiked vitamin B-12 from his Manhattan East 78th Street clinic. It should be noted that most Americans, due to diet and convenience culture, suffer from a vitamin B deficiency, and so an infusion of B vitamins feels like a "pick me up" all by itself, which is why many popular "energy drinks" (Red Bull, Monster, etc.) have this in the ingredients.
  • The Beatles recorded this on Sunday, April 17, 1966. Two days later, they chose Take 7 to overdub all the vocals. (thanks, Ben - Cheverly, MD)
  • John Lennon did indeed peg this song as autobiographical, stating in interviews that he was the one who carried a pocket full of pills on tour. However, both he and Paul McCartney deny going to this specific doctor, but say that this song was kind of a piss-take at the idea, which struck them as funny.
  • John's vocals are double-tracked and then split into two slightly out-of-phase stereo channels to simulate a trip on drugs. Also, the pivot to the key of B during the bridge gives a sudden blissful shot to the song.
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Comments: 48

Oops, I sent my previous comment before finishing it. Just last night (April 21, 2012) I attended a performance by a "Classic Albums" group which performed the cuts from the BRITISH Rubber Soul and Revolver LP's. So the "Revolver" they did was the U.S. Revolver plus the 3 songs named here.Carl - Apg, Md
Tristan (of Philadelphia, PA) writes about "Dr. Robert":
>This is a really good song, taken off of Revolver and put onto yesterday and today. Takes a lot away from Revolver, as Im only sleeping, yellow submarine and "And your bird can Sing" were also taken off.

No, "Yellow Submarine" is on Revolver in both the U.S. and the UK. The other 3 songs you name are indeed on Yesterday and Today. Just last night (
Carl - Apg, Md
I think this song is a classic main stream rock song.It has a solid tempo and plenty of electric guitars.The lead guitar was well played and I'm sure there's a hidden meaning in the lyrics.John was always good at doing that.I agree with Shirley from Ocean NJ. It was well said.George - Belleville, Nj
According to an article of this song on the spanish version of Wikipedia, there is a theory that this song refers to Robert Zimmerman A.k.a. Bob Dylan, who supposedly provided marihuana to The Beatles for the first time.Tess - Ny, Ny
I think this was a reference to the doctor (an English friend of theirs) that turned them on to LSD, not an American doctor. He works for "the National Health". I think he had been supplying other drugs as well. The story I heard was that, after dinner, he produced this new drug for them to try. They spiked their coffee (special cup). None of them had any idea what it would do. Of course, I don't know any of this for fact.Vernon A Bird - Warner Robins, Ga
Tiffany, San Diego this is to you, LSD, not adictive, sure it's a drug and we are all taught that drugs are bad and you can be very adicting, LSD is one drug that happens to crontradict that theory, you see that is one of the reasons why Charlie Manson took it, while all of his "Family" was into the adicting kinds, he was cool and did not become adicted. So as to your girl there, Susan Dey, you sure it was not another drug? I have been told all of this by many people, though having never taken LSD, I can not tell you first hand how it is not adicting, though you are the first that I have heard that it is adicting.
Great song, though, even if it is about a guy who suplied them with drugs, every time I hear about a drug dealer now, I call them Dr. Robert.
Breanna - Henderson, Nv
I love this song. It is totally a tribute to the guy who got them all of their drugs. It is rather underrated, though.Superllama - Tallehase, Fl
While everyone seems to be on this subject - Heroine is a wonderful drug for helping people deal with emense physical pain. I know several doctors who say if it were legal to do so, they would inject post-op patients so that they wouldn't be in as much pain after major operations. People tend to heal better and faster when they aren't in pain. And it can be administered in ERs so that injured people can be operated on without going under!Linc - Beaumont, Tx
ummm Tiffany, you cannot be addicted to LSD.

Unlike cocaine, heroine and ecstasy, LSD doesnt generate any immediate personality change, does not cause you to have 'withdrawl' symptoms when you stop taking it, cause a change in your eating habits...and so on. It does result in possible flashbacks, but it is defitely not addictive. Drugs like ecstasy releases endorphins, which is what makes you feel intense happiness and elation (one of the main reasons why it can be so addictive). LSD doesn't do that at all. LSD expands your mind, so that's a completely different thing. It has been used to help with schizophrenia, alcoholism, and depression. In the 1950s, it was given to alcoholics to test its impact. About a year later, about half of the group of alcoholics did not have a single drink.

...so there you go.
Sara - Victoria, Bc
It's awesome how they were open about their use of drugs, but I hate how just because some of their songs were in fact about drugs people thought that any of thier songs that didn't have to do with love was drug related. I think its very messed up. Just because they used drugs doesn't mean that all of their songs were about drugs. They had to much talent to waste it all on drug related songs. Am I right? They wrote about more important things most of the time, it wasn't even that common for their songs to refer to drugs.Faith - Liverpool, --
tiffany u cant be addicted to lsd.Gigi - Miami, Fl
I've been reading Can't Buy Me Love by Jonathan Gould (which is excellent by the way) and he implies that the butcher cover of Yesterday and Today was a protest against Capital Records for butchering the Beatles albums, taking songs off albums that were released in Britain and holding them back to put on additional albums in the USA to make extra money for Capital. That makes a lot of sense. I had always assumed the butcher cover photo was a statement about Vietnam or something along those lines.Steve - Fenton, Mo
If you look at the definition of a song, you'll see that Revolution 9 can, in fact, very loosely be called a song. My high school band teacher once told me that a song is art put to a beat. And art is considered to be repitition and variation. Revolution 9 has a distinguishable beat. It has repitition ("Number Nine. Number Nine." and so on) and variation (the other various noises). Now, whether it's a good song depends solely on a persons taste in music.Colten - Longview, Wa
I'm going to have to admit-this song is definitely about drugs.Peter Griffin - Quahog, Ri
Don't you all know? We aren't supposed to "get" Revolution 9...it was a secret message to Manson! (obviously, I'm joking)Cobain - Memphis, Tn
This is a really good song, taken off of Revolver and put onto yesterday and today. Takes a lot away from Revolver, as Im only sleeping, yellow submarine and "And your bird can Sing" were also taken off. Dr. Robert gave them shots of legal stuff, I believe high in vitamin B. The Beatles, as most bands back than were very creative in the way that they disguised songs about drugs, they had too because they were more censored, but the ends justify the means, they come out to be much more interesting.Tristan - Philadelphia, Pa
Eric from Edinburgh, I can't think why you said "There's A Place" is a non-relationship song. Listen out for "like I love only you" in the lyrics. If you count the covers as well, "Roll Over Beethoven" on "With The Beatles" doesn't have THAT much to do with relationships, but... !Michael - Oxford, England
Shirley has it exactly correct. A great deal of Beatles music was at least parenthetically about or related to drug experiences. LSD is not, contrary to poor Tiffany's comment, a "terrible drug." It is a very useful and valuable substance used by many of the greatest musicians of our time to good benefit. Where people go wrong is in using it without caution or respect. I haven't "dropped" in over thirty years ... but it may be near time again. Doctor Robert has one of the catchiest and most dancible beats of any song I can think of. It's impossible for me to sit still when it's playing. At the time, I never realized what a great guitarist George was. Now, I just simply miss George and John ...Kenneth - Coeur D'alene, Id
LSD is such a terrible drug. I admit to dropping it in college back in the late 1960s, but it's terrible. You don't know the difference between reality and illusion. I don't personally know Doctor Robert Freymann, but I've heard horrible stories about him. I've heard he supplied nineteen year old Susan Dey with hallucinogens when she visited him for a cold. She didn't even know she was taking LSD at that time. Unfortunately she became an addict until recently.Tiffany - San Diego, Ca
Fiona, from Philadelphia: the "first non-relationship song" wasn't Nowhere Man from Rubber Soul, but There's a Place, from their first LP Please Please Me.Eric - Edinburgh, Scotland
Intresting fusion of country with acid rock.I don't think many people realize how many country influenced songs they did before it became popular in 1968.
Sal Bardonia, NY
Sal - Bardonia , Ny
This song was indeed written about LSD. To keep this short, George, John and their wives went to dinner with a dentist who spiked their coffee with the drug. Afterwards, these two Beatles would use LSD quite frequently. I am not saying that as a great thing or being 'pro drug' or whatever, I am just stating a fact.Brian - Sydney, Canada
Never mind stoned, the first time I heard revolution 9 I was sober as a whistle and I still felt all the poster's on my wall were staring and laughing at me.Alan - Liverpool, England
for all the peapole who dont like REV. 9 try listing to it stoned and the song will become clear to you.J - Watertown, Ma
Agreed Brendan from NJ, Jerry from Portland, Shirley from NJ, Brittanie from Liverpool, Scotts 2nd post, Fiona from Phili except for one thing: Don't Bother Me is a respone to critics, made way before Nowhere Man. There are others but I cannot think of them right now off the top of my head. Also agreed to Stefanie about Rev. 9, but I also dislike Wild Honey Pie. There's John for you again. Not to Peter from Carmel, Not to Alan if you consider Ciggaretes a drug (George Harrison), not to Peter from Kitchener even though his idea is interesting, and not to John from Austrailia. The Beatles discovered pot in a party after A Hard Day's Night. Bob Dylan, who John greatly admired, came up to them and asked if they wanted to smoke some grass. They were confused, and Bob had mistaken the part of I Want To Hold Your hand (I get high, I get high) which John Immidiately corrected. From then on, the Beatles were big pot smokers, almost constintly stoned on Help. It shows on it's only love (look at the lyrics) You got to hide your love away and others that i cannot think of off the top of my head. I'm done.Johnny - Los Angeles, Ca
Did anyone happen to mention this is a really good rock song, fun to dance to and to listen to?Jerry - Portland, Or
If you think Revolution number nine sucks, you should listen to the album "Two Virgins", by John and Yoko. The album sucks so bad, that it is the reason why space is a complete vaccum.Lee - Clearwater, Fl
haha stephanie if you consider revolution 9 a "song"...more like random people saying revolution 9 for 8 frikkin minutes. that "song" sucks. but i agree, all the other beatles songs are awesome.Jeanette - Irvine, Ca
Hey I get it Lee. Song's good, but not my favorite. The only Beatles song I really don't like is "Revolution 9." That song's so out there. But that's john Lennon for ya!Stefanie - Rock Hill, Sc
In response to Stephanie: Yes, that is what I was trying to say. I am a real Beatles fan, but I still recognize that which I refer to as not so hot. I was spoiled by the group in that they did so much so well, for so long, that when something came out that I did not thing was any good, I was in shock so to speak.Lee - Clearwater, Fl
this is about lsd possibly other drugs as well.
doctor robert is a dealer of some sort.

Take a drink from his special cup
Rigo - El Centro, Ca
I love this song, I like it better when they start chanting "Well, Well, Well...."Ben - Cheverly, Md
Actually DR. ROBERT was a Lennon/McCartney collaboration. Although most of the lyrics and the original idea came from Lennon, McCartney contributed some of the words.Barry - New York, Nc
Alan, whilst you're right to say that none of them have died directly from doing drugs, it could be argued that if John had not got into doing smack with Yoko and moved to NY with her, he wouldn't have got shot there. He'd've been living in Surrey with Cynthia and Julian in 1980.Richard - Newport, Isle Of Wight, England
it's not directly about drugs. But it does hove some drug references.Stefanie Magura - Rock Hill, Sc
In reference to Peter from Carmel's comment, they all first truly experinced cannabis (i.e. got high) courtesy of Bob Dylan (and a mutual friend, journalist Al Aronowitz) at the Delmonico Hotel in New York City, at a party after the first of their two performances at Forest Hills Tennis Stadium on the night of Friday, 28 August 1964. From there on, all four Fabs were committed devotees of the Herbal Jazz Tobacco. Which means their first release under that resinous influence was "Beatles For Sale" (or for the Americans getting fleeced by Capitol, "Beatles '65", followed by "Beatles VI") The first songs recorded after that heady tour were "Every Little Thing", "I Don't Want To Spoil The Party" and "No Reply", with work started (but reattempted a few sessions down the line) on "What You're Doing". As for where they were at as regards substances by early 1967, Paul had only just tried LSD in March that year (some say it may have been late '66, given the imagery of "Penny Lane", which was started 12/66) and all of them were using that regularly (the other three tried it in '65), in addition to pot and barbituates (downers) and by that stage had pretty much given up on their pre-MJ road fuel of Scotch & Coca-Cola and amphetamines. But the main essence of the song is about the said NYC doctor (as mentioned at the top) who did indeed administer IV shots of vitamins laced with amphetamine, to boost the flagging energy levels of his (often, celebrity) patients.John - Fremantle, Australia
Cynthia is very much alive! Mo died of Leukemia, but Pattie, Cynthia, and jane(the orig. Beatle girls) are alive and well!Nicole - Boston, Ma
Um...I don't think Cynthia Lennon is dead.Gina - Paradise Valley, Az
Although Lennon was careful not to make it too obvious, I think he's playing with the notion of doctor-robber'. This would make the song a social commentary something like "Taxman". The all too cheerful 'well, well, well" voice simply implies that the doctor has an ulterior motive - the profit motive.Peter - Kitchener
For all the commotion about the Beatles and drug references, let me at least point out that none of the Beatle's deaths so far have been due to drugs. So far, murder, cancer and a car accident (heh, heh, just kidding about the car accident Paul). Even the dead Beatle wives (Linda, Mo, and Cynthia) died mostly from cancer!
P.S. Anybody notice that all the Beatle first wives have died except Patti Boyd?
Alan - New Baltimore, Mi
I can only say that you must all be young and unfamiliar with the level of anticipation that accompanied all anticipated Beatle releases whether singles or LPs. After release, the speculation about hidden meaning was rampant and pretty much constituted the essence of discussion about their music. Drugs certainly weren't their only references. Their subject matter evolved as they did. Christ, the first non-relationship song wasn't until Rubber Soul with Nowhere Man. These guys were clever and mischievous. They enjoyed the energetic banter and speculation that thier lyrics spurred as much as the attention to the craft of melody that became their hallmark under the brilliant tutelage and guidance of the fifth Beatle, George Martin. Anyone who has studied and played the music of the Boyz can certainly attest to the precision and complexity of chord and melody structure that was an idispensable part of who they were. As for Doctor Robert, I believe it was about drugs but not sibgularly. It ws double-entendre with neither being overt. There is and was at the time a ridiculous picture that emerges with the juxtapositon of readily available recreational drugs and substances "well, well, well, you're feeling fine." and the absurdly selective and discriminatory system of health care delivery in the US particularly but to a lesser degree in the UK "My friend works for the National Health
Doctor Robert Don't pay money just to see yourself Doctor Robert." And yes, it is about discovering noe's inner psyche through the use of drugs. Of course this is all intellectual speculation on my part and subject to any criticism that one would like to level. The sad truth is that many of us in that generaton took them very literally and got carried away with drug use, some in bags.
Fiona - Philadelphia, Pa
I dont. I'm just saying that not evry damn beatles song is about drugs.OKAY,KARL?!In fact:Hey Jude Is not about drugs, paul said that "Hey Jude" was gonna be "Hey Jules" but it seemed too much of a mouthfull so he changed it to "Jude"/Now why would he lie about drugs?Scott Baldwin - Edmonton, Canada
Scott ( Scott Baldwin, Edmonton, Canada), Why do you have such a problem with drug references in music? They are a fact, they happen, and, believe it or not, some musicians have taken drugs and written about them. I just discovered this site and I see many of your posts making mocking questions of what are (jesus-tap-dancin'-christ) BLATANT drug references. BTW it's aboyt drugs because doctors prescribe drugs. Now; however, if your posts are menat to be dry and sarcastic, then congratulations 'cause you got me and in such a sense they're damn funny!Karl - Bangladesh, Indonesia
It's not directly about . This is the first cd that was released after Bob Dylan introduced them to pot. The Beatles did not get into until '67, while recording Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. This song is merely about a big story within the celebrity communitty. In this sense, this song is no different than John's song "Happy X-mas (War is Over)". So Brendan and Scott, I dare say you're wrong.Peter - Carmel, In
If its about Dr.Robert Freymen,how is this about drugs?!Scott Baldwin - Edmonton, Canada
The line, "Take a drink from his special cup" is (At least I think) about the Wicked Dentist who put LSD in John and George's coffee. This was the first time they had LSD.Brittanie - Liverpool, England
At least when the Beatles wrote about drugs, it was creative and you had to ask yourself: are they or aren't they? Today's groups are just very blantant about taking drugs, committing suicide, killing people and other bizarre things you don't see in a Beatles song. The Beatleas were and will always be a class act. Together, and separately. There's not much talent out there today.Shirley - Ocean, Nj
For those of you who say that the beatles only did a little pot and didnt sing about it much... I dare say you're wrongBrendan - Colts Neck, Nj