Lucy Vodden, 46

Lucy Vodden, 46; As Child, Inspired Beatles Song

By Gregory Katz
Associated Press
Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lucy Vodden, 46, who provided the inspiration for the Beatles' classic song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," has died after a long battle with lupus.

Her death was announced Monday by St. Thomas' Hospital in London, where she had been treated for the chronic disease for more than five years, and by her husband, Ross Vodden. Britain's Press Association said she died Sept. 22. Hospital officials said they could not confirm the day of her death.

Mrs. Vodden's connection to the Beatles dates to her childhood friendship with schoolmate Julian Lennon, John Lennon's son.

Julian Lennon, then 4 years old, came home from school one day with a drawing, showed it to his father and said it was "Lucy in the sky with diamonds."

At the time, John Lennon was gathering material for "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," a landmark album released to worldwide acclaim in 1967. He seized on the image and developed it into what is widely regarded as a psychedelic masterpiece, with its haunting images of "newspaper taxis" and a "girl with kaleidoscope eyes."

Rock music critics thought the song's title was a veiled reference to LSD, but John Lennon insisted that the phrase came from his son, not from a desire to spell out the initials LSD in code.

Mrs. Vodden lost touch with Julian Lennon after his parents divorced and he left school. But they were reunited in recent years when Julian Lennon, who lives in France, tried to help her cope with the disease.

He sent her flowers and vouchers for use at a gardening center near her home in Surrey in southeast England, and he often sent her text messages in an effort to buttress her spirits.

"I wasn't sure at first how to approach her," Julian Lennon told the Associated Press in June. "I wanted at least to get a note to her. Then I heard she had a great love of gardening, and I thought I'd help with something she's passionate about, and I love gardening, too. I wanted to do something to put a smile on her face."

Mrs. Vodden said that she enjoyed her link to the Beatles but that she was not particularly fond of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."

"I don't relate to the song, to that type of song," she told the Associated Press in June. "As a teenager, I made the mistake of telling a couple of friends at school that I was the Lucy in the song, and they said, 'No, it's not you, my parents said it's about drugs.' And I didn't know what LSD was at the time, so I just kept it quiet, to myself."

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