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Today it was John’s turn again, and he went with a bouncy little tune about a purveyor of pharmaceuticals. “Dr. Robert,” says The Beatles Bible, “is notable for containing The Beatles’ first explicit references to drugs.” But if you look at the lyrics, they’re actually pretty coy; the most explicit they get is:

If you’re down he’ll pick you up
Doctor Robert
Take a drink from his special cup
Doctor Robert

Dr. Robert, apparently, was a real person. The BB again:

Although many in London thought the titular doctor referred to art dealer Robert Fraser, it was actually written about Dr Robert Freymann, who ran a discreet clinic on Manhattan’s East 78th Street. Known as Dr Robert or the Great White Father, Freymann had a reputation for giving vitamin B-12 injections containing large doses of amphetamines, mainly to well-heeled New Yorkers.

The song “Dr. Robert” was on Revolver in the UK but not in the US, where it appeared on the compilation album Yesterday and Today. The American version of Revolver ended up being a horribly bastardized thing, lacking not only “Dr. R” but also “I’m Only Sleeping” and “And Your Bird Can Sing” (all John songs, it should be noted). Someone deserves to be shot for that, but they’re probably dead already, so I won’t worry too much about it.

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