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The lyrics were inspired by nursery rhymes and the songs Donovan was writing: Donovan's songs were "fairy tale" like. Donovan states, "I think the eventual imagery was suggested by my own songs of fairy tales. We had become very close in exchanging musical vibes." The song was based in part by two nursery rhymes, "Sing A Song Of Sixpence" and "Cry, baby, cry...stick a finger in your eye...etc."
John Lennon said he got the title for the song from an advertisement. The original line from that advertisement was, "Cry, baby cry. Make your mother buy." John told Hunter Davies (the Beatles official biographer) "I've got another (song) here, a few words, I think I got them from an advert - 'Cry baby cry, Make your mother buy.' I've been playing it over on the piano. I've let it go now. It'll come back if I really want it." (thanks, Adrian - Wilmington, DE)
At the very end of the song, there is a conversation between George Martin and Alistair Taylor. Here is what's said:
Alistair Taylor: "bottle of claret for you if I'd realized. I'd forgotten all about it George, I'm sorry..."
George Martin: "Well, do next time"
Alistair: "Will you forgive me"?
Alistair: "cheeky bitch."
This is one of the songs begun in Rishikesh, India when the Beatles were staying with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
In the song, John mentions the "Duchess of Kircaldy." Kircaldy is in Fife, Scotland and when he was young, Kircaldy was a stop that John always made when in route to visit his relations in Durness. The Beatles also performed in Kircaldy in their early years.
Richard explains how Joe Walsh kickstarted his career, and why he chose Hazard, Nebraska for a hit.
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Long before Eminem, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj created alternate personas, David Bowie, Bono, Joni Mitchell and even Hank Williams took on characters.
Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Greg talks about writing songs of "universal truth" for King Crimson and ELP, and tells us about his most memorable stage moment (it involves fireworks).
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