How Do You Sleep?
John Lennon Lyrics


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So Sgt. Pepper took you by surprise
You better see right through that mother's eye
Those freaks was right when they said you was dead
The one mistake you made was in your head

Oh, how do you sleep
Oh, how do you sleep at night
You live with straights who tell you, you was king
Jump when your momma tell you anything
The only thing you done was yesterday
And since you're gone you're just another day

Oh, how do you sleep
Oh, how do you sleep at night

Oh, how do you sleep
Oh, how do you sleep at night

A pretty face may last a year or two
But pretty soon they'll see what you can do
The sound you make is muzak to my ears
You must have learned something in all those years





Oh, how do you sleep
Oh, how do you sleep at night

Overall Meaning

The lyrics of "How Do You Sleep?" are a direct and bitter attack on Paul McCartney by John Lennon, his former bandmate of The Beatles. The first verse refers to the success of McCartney's album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" which Lennon saw as a surprise and accuses McCartney of being insincere. The second line of the first verse also references the rumor that Paul McCartney had died, and the "freaks" that were right refers to those who believed that the clues in their music indicated his death.


The second verse is an attack on McCartney's perceived lack of originality, accusing him of living with people who expect him to do what he is told and implying that he is playing it safe by living in the past instead of creating something new. The third verse is a direct criticism of McCartney's music, accusing him of making "muzak" rather than pushing the boundaries of art and music.


Overall, the lyrics are fueled by Lennon's bitterness towards McCartney, and his belief that McCartney was taking credit for the work of The Beatles and failing to create anything truly original on his own.


Line by Line Meaning

So Sgt. Pepper took you by surprise
You were caught off guard by the fame and success that came with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.


You better see right through that mother's eye
You need to recognize the true motives and intentions of those who are around you.


Those freaks was right when they said you was dead
The people who claimed that you had lost touch with yourself were actually correct.


The one mistake you made was in your head
Your biggest error was not a physical or tangible one, but rather a mental one, likely related to your ego or self-perception.


Oh, how do you sleep
The singer is asking how you can be at peace with yourself and your actions.


You live with straights who tell you, you was king
You surround yourself with conformists who constantly praise you as if you’re a ruler, instead of challenging you or holding you accountable.


Jump when your momma tell you anything
You blindly follow the commands of your parent or authority figure, without question or hesitation.


The only thing you done was yesterday
Your previous achievements are the only things that hold value, as your current behavior or contributions are lacking.


And since you're gone you're just another day
Now that you’re gone, you’re nothing special, just like any other average day without any standout events.


A pretty face may last a year or two
Physical beauty might seem important, but it's only temporary and doesn't hold much weight in the grand scheme of things.


But pretty soon they'll see what you can do
Eventually people will get to know you for who you truly are and recognize your actions and character over superficial appearances.


The sound you make is muzak to my ears
The artist doesn't view your music as anything special, just background noise like elevator music.


You must have learned something in all those years
With all the time and experience you've had, surely you've gained some knowledge and lessons that you can apply to your life and art.


Oh, how do you sleep
The singer repeats the refrain, questioning how you can live with yourself and your choices while highlighting his own disapproval.


Oh, how do you sleep at night
The second part of the refrain specifically calls out how you can live with yourself at night, when you're most vulnerable and introspective.




Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Written by: John Winston Lennon

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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