Mean Mr. Mustard
The Beatles Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

Mean Mister Mustard sleeps in the park
Shaves in the dark trying to save paper
Sleeps in a hole in the road
Saving up to buy some clothes
Keeps a ten-bob note up his nose
Such a mean old man
Such a mean old man
His sister Pam works in a shop
She never stops, she's a go-getter
Takes him out to look at the queen
Only place that he's ever been
Always shouts out something obscene




Such a dirty old man
Dirty old man

Overall Meaning

The Beatles' "Mean Mr. Mustard" is a brief yet potent lyric describing a hapless, stingy old man who lives in a park and shaves in darkness to save paper. He resides in a hole in the road, as he's keeping all his money to buy some clothes. His questionable habit of hiding a ten-bob note up his nose highlights his penny-pinching nature, which the singer can only describe as being "mean." Despite all this, his sister Pam, who works in a store and functions as his caretaker, takes him out every once in a while to gaze at the queen. However, he always ends up shouting something obscene, and the singer describes him as a "dirty old man."


The lyrical genius of John Lennon is on full display in this song. The character of Mean Mr. Mustard and his stinginess is described in a few simple yet vivid lines. The song paints a vivid picture of a man who is undesirable and miserly, despite the efforts of his sister. Ultimately, the song seems like it's a commentary on social inequality and the difficulties of people from lower-income backgrounds.


Line by Line Meaning

Mean Mister Mustard sleeps in the park
A gentleman named Mustard, who is quite unpleasant, sleeps in public spaces


Shaves in the dark trying to save paper
Mustard prefers to save money on purchasing toiletries by shaving in darkness to save paper as he is frugal


Sleeps in a hole in the road
Mustard has taken up lodging in a makeshift space within a pothole on the road as if abandoned by society


Saving up to buy some clothes
Mustard is finally starting to accumulate funds to buy new clothes


Keeps a ten-bob note up his nose
Mustard keeps money hidden in his nasal cavity, showing his disregard for hygiene and slovenly behavior


Such a mean old man Such a mean old man
The narrative echoes the preceding lines by underlining Mustard’s vile character traits with repetition


His sister Pam works in a shop
Mustard’s sibling Pam spends her days working in a shop


She never stops, she's a go-getter
Pam is portrayed as tenacious and hardworking, As in contrast to Mustard, who is lazy and dishonest


Takes him out to look at the queen
The only place Mustard has been suggested to go is looking at Queen, perceived as the high point of his life experiences'


Only place that he's ever been
The Queen is the sole place Mustard ever visited in his life


Always shouts out something obscene
When speaking, Mustard is inclined to utter vulgar and offensive statements


Such a dirty old man Dirty old man
The performer is shining a spotlight on Mustard's offensive comments and personal hygiene with repetition




Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Written by: JOHN LENNON, PAUL MCCARTNEY

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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