The Song That John Lennon Used to Bash Beatlemania

Like most songs in the early Beatles catalog, “I’ll Cry Instead” doesn’t seem super consequential. Early rock was mostly focused on tales of love gone south, written in language that could ostensibly be described as surface level. But when I get home to you / I find the things that you do / Will make me feel alrightAnd please, say to me / You’ll let me hold your hand…it’s not the same mind-bending lyricism the Beatles would adopt later in their career.

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However, hidden among songs like “A Hard Day’s Night” or “I Want to Hold Your Hand” are a few deeper songs. Included in that pack is “I’ll Cry Instead.”

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I’ve got every reason on earth to be mad
‘Cause I just lost the only girl I had
If I could get my way
I’d get myself locked up today
But I can’t, so I’ll cry instead

Though the simple, easily-anticipated melody might throw off some listeners, this song holds quite a powerful meaning for its songwriter, John Lennon.

Looking at the lyrics without any context, it seems like Lennon was attempting to create a commentary on fame, which would make sense given the band’s prestige at that time. He seemed to have less than favorable opinions on Beatlemania.

Don’t wanna cry when there’s people there
I get shy when they start to stare
I’m gonna hide myself away
But I’ll come back again someday

Lennon’s first wife, Cynthia, once commented on this song, saying, “[It’s about] the frustration he felt at that time He was the idol of millions, but the freedom and fun of the early days had gone.”

All in all, Lennon seems to let his emotions get the better of him. I’ve got a chip on my shoulder that’s bigger that my feet / I can’t talk to people that I meet / If I could see you now / I’d try to make you sad somehow / But I can’t, so I’ll cry instead, he sings.

(Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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