In 1966 “Revolver” was released, a key Beatles album with psychedelic bases and traces of raga, experimental rock, pop-soul, and baroque pop.
This LP includes “She Said She Said”, a composition by John Lennon with a phenomenal guitar work by George Harrison that was inspired by a “trip” with LSD by actor Peter Fonda who told Lennon that he already knew what it was like to be dead and described his acidic experience.
“I finally made my way past the kids and the guards. Paul and George were on the back patio, and the helicopters were patrolling overhead,” Fonda wrote for Rolling Stone magazine about the event, highlighting his lack of an invite. “They were sitting at a table under an umbrella in a rather comical attempt at privacy. Soon afterwards we dropped acid and began tripping for what would prove to be all night and most of the next day; all of us, including the original Byrds, eventually ended up inside a huge, empty and sunken tub in the bathroom, babbling our minds away.”
He continued: “I had the privilege of listening to the four of them sing, play around and scheme about what they would compose and achieve. They were so enthusiastic, so full of fun.” But for the Fab Four, Fonda’s attendance wasn’t just unsolicited but unwelcomed, too. The actor began talking about death over and over, showing off his bullet wound and just generally bringing down the party atmosphere. “We didn’t want to hear about that,” George Harrison said in reference to Fonda’s tale of gunshots. “We were on an acid trip, and the sun was shining, and the girls were dancing, and the whole thing was beautiful and Sixties, and this guy—who I really didn’t know; he hadn’t made Easy Rider or anything—kept coming over, wearing shades, saying, ‘I know what it’s like to be dead’, and we kept leaving him because he was so boring! It was scary. You know…when you’re flying high and [whispers] ‘I know what it’s like to be dead, man.’”
Though the Fab Four may have been irritated at the time, they would be grateful for Peter Fonda when they lacked an extra song a day before the scheduled conclusion date of Revolver.
Though McCartney was credited in the song, many have implied ‘She Said, She Said’ was one of the several tunes Ser Macca was never included in. “I’m not sure, but I think it was one of the only Beatle records I never played on,” McCartney remembers in Many Years From Now. “I think we’d had a barney or something and I said, ‘Oh, fuck you!’ and they said, ‘Well, we’ll do it.’ I think George played bass.”
While it’s unclear what began the case, it probably has something to do with the song’s ideas.