Run For Your Life

Album: Rubber Soul (1965)

Songfacts®:

  • John Lennon was inspired by an Elvis Presley song, "Baby, Let's Play House," when he wrote this. The title and entire first line came from Elvis' song: "I'd rather see you dead little girl, than to be with another man."

    "Baby, Let's Play House" was written in 1955 by Richard Gunther and was based on a 1951 Country & Western song by Eddy Arnold titled "I Want To Play House With You," written by Cy Coben. That song contains the lyric, "I'd rather see you dead, little girl, than to be with another man."
  • We'd all rather forget this song, an otherwise sour note on the monumental Rubber Soul album, but here it is, so we have to look at it anyway. John Lennon made no bones about this being his "least favorite Beatles song." Many agree. Do keep in mind that this was 1965; there was more slack attitudes towards gender equality than there are now.

    There are a couple of other songs by Lennon with misogynist undertones, including "I'll Cry Instead" and "You Can't Do That." Paul McCartney, in interviews for the book Many Years From Now, explains that while he had girlfriends and open relationships, Lennon had a marriage and hence a wife to worry about while he was on the road touring all the time. Interestingly enough, Yoko Ono mellowed him out and Lennon and Ono became crusading activists for all kinds of civil rights causes.
  • In December 1992, the Ottawa radio station CFRA banned this song when a listener complained that the line, "I'd rather see you dead little girl, than to be with another man," promoted violence against women. Most surprising about this news item was that they were playing the song at all!

Comments: 42

  • Joel from San FranciscoSilly commenters about homosexuality references in the opening lines need to learn a little history. "I'd rather see you dead, little girl/Than to be with another man" is an exact replication of phrasing from the 1954 song Baby Let's Play House written by Arthur Gunter. It was covered by Elvis Presley in 1955. Clearly, the Beatles were making an artistic reference, not a statement.
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaLiked the song, sadly for me. And sadly still there are a lot of guys still running around with the attitude of If I can't have you no on else will either.
  • Don from Sevierville, TnDryattz, that's interesting, I never thought about the song having anything to do with homosexuality. I know the Beatles' late manager, Brian Epstein, was gay and had an attraction to John, but I've also heard that both Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono have agreed and insisted that John was not gay (one of the few things Paul and Yoko do see eye to eye about).
  • Dryattz from Atlanta, GaJohn hated it because it revealed his sexual ambiguity. Most hear the line "I'd rather see you dead little girl, than to be with another man" as intending to say "than to see you with another man." But, taken literally, John sings that he'd prefer she be dead than for him to have a homosexual encounter. Later, he worked through his homophobia, and became what Yoko Ono called "a closet fag."

    OK, OK. I know I'm going to enflame a lot of Lennonists with the above. Actually, I continue to revere John Lennon, believe Ono was his undoing, and consider Goldman's book mostly fabricated supermarket tabloid rubbish. But I DO think John was dreadfully insecure, and acted it out in many self-destructive ways. Fortunately, one byproduct of his inner turmoil was some incredible music!
  • Tony from Wilmette, IlAlan you are wrong Sgt Pepper is not overrated its possibly their best album with Abbey Road and Revolver behind
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScI don't know about y'all but I love how evil this song is. Lol.
  • George from Belleville, NjWhat an interesting song.It is simple yet complex at the same time.That's what set the Beatles apart from all other bands.They could write songs that may sound simple but upon further listening you can hear the that it is more complex.This song musically is great.It almost has a country flavor to it,but it is mainly pop.It has such a catchy melody.The lyrics are a little dark,but the music really is what makes this song special.
  • David from Woburn, MaMean though the lyrics may be, it was the perfect way to end what was really the first time the Beatles were being overtly mature. A general theme throughout Rubber Soul was the maturity of the Beatles and their new views on love (not quite so bubble-gum-poppy anymore) and this song showing a jealous guy with a jealous mind was the antithesis to everything they had done previously. Though, maybe the "I'd rather see you dead little girl" line was a bit too over the top.
  • Ana from Sumter, ScI actually quite like this song. Threatening lyrics and an upbeat tune make it a bit twisted, but that just makes it more unique. And I like the way he says 'sermon'. I really don't think it's as bad as he thought is was. It's definitely up there on my list of favorites.
  • Rick from Ny, NyFyodor -- that's probably Thee Headcoatees you heard.
  • Marie from Charlotte, NcThis song is so evil! And obviously heartfelt. I feel a little guilty for liking it, but I love the harmonies on "that's the end-ah".
  • John from Newcastle, United KingdomGreat song but it always irritates me that he says "I won't know where I am" rather than "you won't know where I am". Seems like an error.
  • Frank from Salt Lake City, Uti love this song! i agree, the lyrics are mean, but its so catchy and i'm ALWAYS singing it!! i wonder why Lennon didnt like it...?
  • Chloe from St. Louis, Moim not sure why, but i love this song! maybe its just because the tune is so catchy. and although the lyrics are very harsh...well, that was john's love life around that time, wasn't it? he's admitted it himself that he got extremely jealous and even violent.
  • Lily from Union, Mei do like this song. I think the harsh lyrics make you feel a certain emotion, and hey, thats why we listen to music, isn't it?
  • Larry from Coral Springs, FlI liked the way it it was done and could listen to it over and over again. i then had the American version of Rubber Soul at that time
  • Clubber Lange from Ocean Gate, NjLove the Beatles...Love all their music...This song is hard to sit through...
  • Peter Griffin from Quahog, RiMy top 5 albums: 1. The White Album 2. Revolver 3. Rubber Soul 4. Abbey Road 5.Sgt. Pepper's
  • Adam from Los Angeles, CaIts a Fantastic song Musically. I cover it all the time.
  • Lateeka from Kelowna, CanadaOh yea ANDREW what about "the night before" or "things we said today" "ive just seen a face" "ticket to ride" "your gonna lose that girl "tell me what you see" You've got to hide your love away" oh my I couldn't let Help! slide from my top five... but magical mystery tour is also a very good album and I actually heard my local radio station Power play lots of tunes of that album and to celebrate SergantpeppersLHCB album being realeased 40 years ago they played the wholllee album it was a rare gem I tell you.
  • Lateeka from Kelowna, CanadaI gotta say my top five albums would be (in no particular order) 1. Help! 2. Rubber Soul 3. Beatles for Sale 4.Abbey Road 5. A Hard Days Night .... so yea we all have our own personal tastes, if we didn't.. we'd all be lame
  • Mj from Uhrichsville, OhI love this song - despite the harsh lyrics! As for Lennon hating this song: that was later, in retrospect. Songs like this one, as well as "You Can't Do That" and even "Slow Down", he found rather repugnant when viewed from the perspective of his relationship with Yoko - he had, by then, begun to endorse radically different views on male/female interactions. He mentioned this specifically in an interview I read, and it MAY have been the Playboy one.
  • Michael from Oxford, EnglandWhat a horrible way to end an album!
  • Andrew from Indianapolis, InAllen from Canada I agree that rubber soul is great and i guess i am differant than most beatles fans as to what i rank as the best beatles albums, and everybody else on here will probably kill me for this
    1. White Album
    2. Magical Mystery Tour
    3. Abbey Road
    4. Rubber Soul
    5. Revolver
    6. Sgt. Peppers
    7. A Hard Day's Night
    8. Beatles for Sale
    9. With the Beatles
    10. Please Please Me
    11. Yellow Submarine
    Or maybe all lot of fans will agree with me, just look at magical mystery tour songs like i am the walrus, hello goodbye, strawberry fields forever, and all you need is love, i think it is one of the most underrated albums in rock history, maybe because of the crappy movie and maybe because of the crappy cover art
  • Sal from Bardonia , NyA country influenced song with good slide guitar work from Harrison.
    Sal, Bardonia, NY
  • Alan from Grande Prairie, Alberta, CanadaRubber Soul the album that fathered this song is in my opinion the Beatles 2nd best album next to Abbey Road. I think Peppler is way overrated.
  • Paul from Potters Bar, EnglandWhat a cleaver track we have here. A bouncy tune with aggresive lyrics... so brilliant... and a great way to finish what is easily one of their best albums. It is an 'album' album. Each track roles perfectly into the next and the songs seem effortless but EVERY single one has its own bit of brilliance. 'Rubber Soul' should be in EVERYONE's collection.
  • Fyodor from Denver, CoI once heard a GIRL PUNK version of this song!! But I only heard it once. I was taking a walk and heard it played through someone's window! They surely don't live there anymore cause the place has been turned into a business. It sounded great, and while I dig the original, gotta admit it's just desserts! Anyone know of it??
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaYeah this isn't a throwaway song, John probably thought it was because of being on "Rubber Soul" that was a huge breakthrough album and John expected the best. Ken, the song John hated most was "It's only love" on Help.
    "John didn't like this song, but he liked the pretentious, messy, piece of junk that was Revolution 9?- Nathan, Defiance, OH. Nathan, we all hate revolution 9, I consider it the worst Beatles song (Wild Honey Pie is 2nd*) but c'mon. Pretentious? John loved heroin during the White Album sessions, and was probably just messing about. If you have the CD version you can skip Rev. 9, if you have the record get your grass and light up. John felt like doing something weird. And, do we know that he likes rev. 9?
  • Mary from Virginia Beach, VaI enjoy the music on this one, but don't care for the lyrics
  • Mike from Newark, NdLove this song but , man, John sure had alot problems with his view of women. Or at least his relationships with them but i gotta say....it sure made for some great music!
  • Jickon from BeadreaemtA written cover of 50's/60's country (ma woman done me bad) type lyrics - maybe a throwaway for John, but I love it still !
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScThe fact that John hated this song shows how crazy he was. He was crazy for many other reasons too though.
  • Nathan from Defiance, OhJohn didn't like this song, but he liked the pretentious, messy, piece of junk that was Revolution 9?
  • Miki from Vancouver, CanadaMaan, I can't see how Lennon didn't like this song. The upbeat tune and threatening lyrics are so deliciously contradictory, but all in all it has a good beat and it's fun to listen to. One of my favourites, definately.
  • Ben from Cheverly, MdGo to http://www.geocities.com/losbeatles21/bootlegs.html#1966 and you will hear a very great version of this song, propably better than the original. Go to it and tell me what you think!
  • Barry from New York, NcUp and coming pedal steel guitarist Robert Randolph and the Family Band (worth checking out live in your town one day) have a song called "Run For Your Life" and it is featured on his CD entitled UNCLASSIFIED. Howver it's not the Beatles tune, but an original instrumental tune.
  • Paul from Flagstaff, AzIts a good song. Defenitely not the worst song, revolution 9 is.
  • Ken from Louisville, KyJohn Lennon didn't just "not like" the song, he HATED it. He later considered it the worst song he wrote as a Beatle.
  • Taylor from Austin, TxI agree with both of you.
  • Johnny from Bridgeport, OhGood, underrated.Lennon if he changed some of the lyrics this would of been a hit song.
  • Ellen from Nashville, Tnyou know, i really like this song...mainly the tune. the lyrics are a little harsh.
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