Dig It – The Fool
Let It Be, 1970
“Dig It” is a curio in the Beatles canon, for sure. When producer Phil Spector was brought in to make an album worthy of release from the Beatles’ defunct Get Back project, he discovered 150 hours of recordings. These tapes were largely comprised of loose rehearsals of new originals and sloppy versions of the group’s favorite cover songs. In the case of the song “Dig It”, Spector found multiple versions of a jam that lasted upwards of 15 minutes. The final version that ended up on Let It Be is just :50 long and gives us a little taste of the Beatles in an ad-libbed jamming session.
As the song fades in we hear a simple riff and nonsensical lyrics from John. There were no prepared words for “Dig It”; John simply sang whatever popped into his head. It’s likely that all the random subjects and people he sings about had appeared in the news or came up in conversations around the time of the recording. For example, George Harrison had recently been talking about blues guitarist BB King, and Matt Busby had been in the newspaper because he’d just announced his retirement as coach of the Manchester United football team. The spirit of the song was an exercise in spontaneous creativity. That’s why for just the second time, all four Beatles received equal composing credit.
It wasn’t the first time the Beatles created in a wholly improvisational manner. Two years before they made an entire movie with hardly any script at all. The result, Magical Mystery Tour, was largely an aimless – albeit fascinating – mess that was widely criticized as foolish at the time. “Dig It”, of course, is a creation of much lesser scope. Nonetheless, it is driven by the same spirit as that project was, and therefore corresponds to the same tarot card.
The Fool is the symbol for spontaneous creation. The attitude of this card is not to worry about planning, structures, or following any pre-determined course of action. It cares only for the magic of the moment; to be a rolling stone. Not surprisingly, embracing the Fool often means looking and acting foolishly. Even the phrase “I can dig it”, popular at the time, is synonymous with going with the flow. When you receive this card in your reading, you may see it as an invitation to embrace this same ethos. Or, depending on the context or if it appears reversed, a warning against it.
The Fool is analogous to the child inside all of us. Incidentally, the version of “Dig It” that appears in the Peter Jackson Get Back documentary shows the Beatles being joined by Paul’s six-year-old, soon-to-be stepdaughter Heather. She fits right in, howling into the microphone, copying an earlier vocal performance by Yoko Ono. Meanwhile, John ends the performance with a callout to Georgie Wood, a British actor and comedian known for his childlike antics and playing the fool.
“Like a rolling stone
Like a rolling stone…
Dig it, dig it, dig it”
This is song #87 of the Beatles Song Tarot Project. Click here to learn more about this magical, mystical trip through the Beatles catalogue. (scroll down to hear a longer version of “Dig It”, mixed by engineer Glyn Johns)