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Piggies by The Beatles

Album: The White AlbumReleased: 1968
  • George Harrison wrote this song as a takedown of the upper crust, who he felt could be greedy and slovenly. The Beatles were already rich and famous, but came from very humble beginnings - Harrison grew up in a working-class family in Liverpool.
  • Harrison intended this as social commentary, but many people interpreted it as an anti-police anthem. Charles Manson, in his very disturbed mind, thought the term "damn good whacking" meant against the American police. During the murders of Sharon Tate, the LaBianca's and others, knives and forks were used to stab them because these utensils were mentioned in the song. The words "pig and piggy," were written with the victims' blood on the walls. Harrison was horrified when he learned his song took on another meaning. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Dominic - Pittsburgh, PA
  • John Lennon did not play on this, but he improved this slightly with the line, "Clutching forks and knives they eat their bacon" - adding a touch of cannibalism to the proceedings. This replaced the line, "Clutching forks and knives to cut their pork chops" which can be heard on Anthology 3. The pig noises were his idea. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Mountlake Terrace, WA. U.S.A
  • This keeps the animal theme between "Blackbird" and "Rocky Raccoon" on The White Album.
  • There was an extra verse that wasn't included on the song. It goes:
    "Everywhere there's lots of piggies playing piggie pranks
    You can see them on their trotters
    At the piggy banks
    Paying piggy thanks
    To thee pig brother." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    James - Ashland, OR
  • Harrison's mother Louise contributed the line: "What they need is a damn good whacking."
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Comments: 60

When the White Album came out and George was asked about the meaning of the song Piggies he said it was about the politicians . Oh and his Mum helped him with the lyrics....adding whacking. Nothing to do with the police or the nick name pig , in the UK at that time they were never called pigs either.John - Uk
George Harrison´s "Piggies" is really a little masterpiece. It has got too little attention! Forget the lyrics and enjoy the music. Absolute one of the best songs in the "White album"! The falling melody, and when it repeats the second time, it only changes a little. Very effective and emotional. It´s wunderful. And the middle part is totally corresponding to the A-part melody.Johan - Stockholm, Sweden
Piggies is basically about the English Police - (referred to by some people as 'pigs'). At the time the Police were looking to make high profile busts for drug use and the Police wanted to bust the Beatles who the establishment thought were a bad influence on British society.
They got to the Stones but as far as I know no Beatles were busted.
Digging in the dirt and starch white shirts are other references.
Chris - York, United Kingdom
when i bought the white album i couldnt enjoy any of the songs on it because it reminded me to much of manson, and creeped me out, but i love it nowBen - Rohnert Park, Ca
Hey Jude has the phrase F*cking Hell buried in the mix, Paul hits a bum note, and cusses off mic. So like, that was before this, so yeah.Nikolai - Los Angeles, Ca
it takes a smart person to understand that this song can mean anything you want it to mean. It can mean corporate greed, it can mean society, it can mean selfishness, it can mean stupidity and self righteousness. Thats what I hear when I listen to it. it can be a million different things.Jennifer - Winston Salem, Nc
Ok you know what's REALLY creepy, ok listen to this song then think what the Manson family did, ok "Clutching forks and knives" The LaBiancas' had over 100 stab wounds and a fork sticking out of one and 'War' carved in the other, "What they needs a d.... good wacking" the Tate murders had all of the victems were stabbed to the point of over kill, at the Tate, LaBianca, and Hinman murder sites there was a veriation of 'Piggies' somewhere written in blood, in the Hinman residence, 'POLITICAL PIGGY' was written, Tate residence, on the door was 'PIGGY' and in the LaBianca home, 'DEATH TO PIGS'(in that murder there was also 'HEALTHER SKELTER' written, another song off the White Album) all can be traced to this song, which was taken SO the wrong way by Charlie Manson.Breanna - Henderson, Nv
Definitely one of Harrison's absolute best songs with the Beatles. A great reflection on society.David - Youngstown, Oh
I love The Beatles. But I can't dig this song... What am I missing here??Dean - Sydney,
George said the line "What they need's a damn good whacking" was something his mother would say about anyone who displeased her.Ken - Louisville, Ky
I love the instrumentation and bass of this song as it's found on the White AlbumBuck - Liverpool, --
Piggies by The Beatles has just been abnned on BBC Radio Jersey, apparently it is not great taste! Moorons!Linda - Jersey C.i., United Kingdom
the first time i heard this song, i was like, What are they saying? it was funnyJude - Toronto, Qc
Holy crap dude craig just go and retire from listening to music in all. This is the beatles probably one of the greatest bands ever. This song is crazy awsome. it's out of the oridnary which is cool cause it's unexpectedKris - Wichita, Ks
Craig, If you don't like The Beatles then stop being stupid. You say something bad about almost every Beatles song! I like this song! Danm's not a swear word. watch Danm danm danm. What they needs a DANM good walking. he he I like that partBianca Sanchez - Alburquerque, Nm
lol it maybe a pathetic example of this childrens pop band trying to appear "tough" and "topical"... but charles manson obvously didnt think so.. lets play children..Elyse - Auckland, New Zealand
This is another pathetic example of this childrens pop band to try to appear "tough" and "topical" in the changing political climate of the times.

They decided their gay satin pirate suits were not "cool" anymore (were they ever?) and tried to rough up their image, with hilarious pretentious results.
Craig - Melbourne, Australia
Creepy, creepy, creepy...Manson, you ruined nearly all the White album tracks for me!!Sarah - Kennewick, Wa
and to throw a wrench into the works, the section that was later removed:

"Everywhere there's lots of piggies playing piggie pranks
You can see them on their trotters
At the piggy banks
Paying piggy thanks
To thee pig brother."

Seems to be a reference to 1984 and animal farm both as pig brother and big brother are almost identical and the people of 1984 LOVE to thank Big Brother every fricking day.
Alex - Rialto, Ca
Rev. David Noebel of the Christian Anti-Communism Crusade had a field day with this one. He was certain that this song confirmed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the Beatles were knowingly instilling Marxist ethics in the minds of young listeners. Whee!Ekristheh - Halath, United States
A lot of the Beatles' later songs were anti-establishment, anti-capitalist, pro-Communist (esepcially anything written by Lennon), and pro-middle or working class. This song is no exception. The "little piggies" are the working class. They have to play, or dig in the dirt. They have to toil endlessly, and life for them isn't going to get any better. The "bigger piggies" are the upper class, who thrive off of the working class. They don't have to do any of the hard work, just take credit for it. They reap in the rewards (going out to no doubt fancy restaurants with their wives, eating their bacon) from the hard work put in by the working class. I guess this song is anti-business too. The bigger piggies are management, and little piggies are the laborers. The management takes in all the benefits the hard workers put in, such as bonuses, whereas the workers get squat.Patrick - Tallapoosa, Ga
This is a protest song with a harpsichord, tape loops of pig noises contributed by Lennon, string quartet, acoustic guitar and Paul's imitation pig sounding bass. A fasle ending with pig noises at the end a wierd tune it's style is hard to define.
Sal, Bardonia, NY
Sal - Bardonia , Ny
Hey, Im back... to make another comment on this song. I was listening to it recently, and I would just like to say that it's plain BRILLIANT. I absolutly love it. I think it describes WONDERFULLY, how some people in this world can be real PIGS and have such little respect for others. I especially love the line "What they need's a damn good whacking!". It makes me laugh. I think its very appropriate. I enjoy this song, a lot. I think its very cool.Mandy - Calgary
This is my least favorite song by the beatles. maybe it's because i don't liek thinking abotu pigs...?Melody - Brooklyn, Ny
yes, this song also reminded me of Orwell's 'Animal Farm'..in fact the image was quite strongChitra - Bangalore, India
When i first heard this song i thought it was a funny little song abou tcannibalistic pigs. but the more i listened to it the more i thought of Animal Farm by George Orwell.Daniel - Cincinnatti, Or
Okay, about the swearing and stuff. Yes, "damn" IS a swear word. It's a mild swear, but it's still a swear. Either way though, this isn't the first Beatles song to have a swear. In "I Am The Walrus", "bloody" is used as an exclamation.

So there!

But anyways, even with the swear, "Piggies" is a great song! I like this one!
Ian - Lethbridge, Canada
I always liked this one...the harpsichord is one of my favorite sounding instruments and i love the lyrics. Quite a commentary on our society.

P.S. never put the knives and forks together with the Manson murders but it makes alot of sense to me.
Mike - Newark, Nd
Makes me think of "Animal Farm". The lyrics really do fit the context of the book in subtle ways.Pat - Boston, Ma
"Clutching forks and knives to eat their bacon." Is a purely ironic line. They are pigs, eating bacon. I interpreted this to mean that the "pigs" or people in high society(as Charles Manson thought...not the police-he killed as an act against powerful people. His family wanted to kill people to shock the world and show them that the "little people" were making a revolt.) are really only hurting themselves(eating themselves) by always wanting something more, when they are already successful:"In their eyes there's something lacking"Audrey - Urbana, Oh
This song reminds me of my ex-wife, so so much.Lee - Clearwater, Fl
The song is about all of the materialistic people that started to come about during this era. For the first time in the history of mankind your average joe could have material items and act, well :P like piggies. Who would hanve thought that it would have went as far as it has in todays society.Derek - Brampton, Canada
A word to the wise: this thing doesn't always let me type certain words so my comments don't come out right. Anyway, I read "Animal Farm," but I never thought about the Piggies song. Ha, that's a funny connection. It's kinda strange... the book is actually kind of serious and has a lot of meaning to it, and George's song kind of does too, but we still laugh when we hear it. At least I do. Also, Liza, on one of the Anthology albums, John is singing "Happiness is a Warm Gun" and he screws up and swears. I crack up every time I hear it. It's something about the Beatles swearing that's funny... =DJo Bob - Mccleary, Wa
Ive read the book, "Animal Farm" before, and I liked it, and I love this song, and also thought of animal farm the first time I heard it.Sam - Thompsons, Tx
Ah, yes- Nessie from Sapporo, Japan. So you know about Animal Farm too?! I dont agree that it was REFERANCE to it, but this song DOES remind me of that book.Mandy - Calgary, Canada
This song reminds me of a book we read called the "Animal Farm". In the end of the book, the pigs become so much like humans that the other animals see them as humans. Very strange book. And tis not even a children's book either. Has any-one else read this book?Mandy - Calgary, Canada
this song reminds me of Gir from Invader Zim...Nick - Solvang, Ca
This song cracks me up. I'm pretty sure it's a harpsichord...the use of it in the song is interesting. Goes with the whole elite group representation.Lisa - Sf Valley, Ca
I can't tolerate this song.Ben - Cheverly, Md
This is one of my favorite novelty Beatles song from The White Album. That song makes me laugh.Melissa - Fairborn, Oh
Does anyone know the answer to this: What song did George Harrison write to describe how he felt about the Beatles before they broke up?Tessa - Miami, Fl
I crack up every time I hear this song. I know it's not right but I always had immages of piggies, as in the animals doing all those things... going out to dinner, crawling in the dirt, clutching forks and knives! i can see how it would be about greedy people though. That line about the piggies clutching forks and knives to eat bacon is awesome, because you know they wouldn't do that. After all, bacon comes from piggi8es! Anyway that song's funny, and George's awesome!Stefanie Magura - Rock Hill, Sc
John Lennon claims to have given George the line about "clutching forks and knives to eat their bacon".Ken - Louisville, Ky
It's a clear musical reference to Orwell's "Animal Farm." "Eat their bacon," right?Nessie - Sapporo, Japan
also, those with an interest in swearing-beatles should listen to hey jude. Right before the "better better better ooooh!" transition into the nananas you can hear john yell out "F***ing hell!" And I think there was another swearing lyric, before The White Album, but I recall it not.Jack - St. Paul, Mn
It IS a song about greedy humans. The line about the piggies eating bacon may refer to the fact that humans don't care what they have to do, as long as they themselves are happy- they'd go to any lengths, even knocking their fellows, to obtain personal satisfaction.Chiaki - Nagoya, Japan
The line in Revolution 9 is "...joined the BLOODY navy and went to sea" not f--cking navy. Just for the record.Josh - Plainview, Ny
If you are intrested in Charles Manson's interpretations of the Beatles, I suggest you read "Helter Skelter" by Vincent Bugliosi.Taylor - Wheaton, Il
One wonders if Roger Waters wasn't listening to this song before he wrote "Pigs (Three Different Ones" for Pink Floyd's Animals. "Pig noises - why those buggers are brilliant!"Kent Lyle - Palo Alto, Ca
9in Nails, and Pink Floyd liked to use heavy Pig references as well
Usually as the type of people who would be seen at a Scull&Bones meeting
George - Hell, Pa
C'Mon,Liza!Damn is not a swear word.in fact,from Rvolution 9:so said id mary,join the ^%$&ing navy and went to sea".Scott Baldwin - Edmonton, Canada
Lennon wasn't using Christ's name as an expletive, he was actually talking to Jesus Christ. Read the lyrics carefully: "Christ, YOU KNOW IT AIN'T EASY, you know how hard it can be; the way things are going, THEY'RE GONNA CRUCIFY ME". He's sardonically "talking" to Jesus, recounting his story and comparing it to the Crucifixtion. Lennon respected Jesus as a philosopher, and even wanted his face on the cover of Sgt. Pepper's. In this case, he was, in a sense, dedicating the song to Christ. It wasn't reverent by any means, but he also wasn't saying "Christ!" in the sense that one would when, say, they'd been stabbed in the leg, so Harrison's use of "damn" here does, indeed, qualify as the first swear in a Beatles song.Brett - Edmonton, Canada
Hmmm...I was always under the impression that this was a song about greedy over-rich peopleSi - London, England
John says "Christ" several times as an expletive (rather than with any reverence!) in "The Ballad of John & Yoko"; and Paul says "Oh s--t" in the Anthology version of "A Day In The Life". But is it important?Martin - London, England
Also, Liza, you may want to check out Revolution 9.Dominic - Pittsburgh, Pa
"Damn" is not a swear word.Moonunit - Greensboro, Nc
Alot of people think George was high when he wrote this. I don't. It makes perfect sense to me. Just stop taking songs so literally. It's not actual pigs he is talking. It's actually one of my favourite songs he did whilst in the Beatles.Brittanie - Liverpool, England
Did anybody get that the piggies are eating bacon? The beatles were awsome. Trent Resnor also refers to piggies in alot of his songs.Zayne - Houston, Tx
"Piggies" is the only Beatles song with a swear word.Liza - The Dalles, Or
"Piggies" was a Manson Family song, meaning Charles Manson interpreted this song in his own twisted way as a message for him to murder. "Piggies" to the Manson Family were any member of the Establishment. At one of the Manson murder scenes (the LaBianca murders), one of the murder victims was found with a fork and knife stuck in his stomach - note the last lyric of the song: "You can see them out for dinner, with their Piggy wives, clutching forks and knives to eat their bacon."Dan - Fort Collins, Co
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