Some songs are imbued with deep lyrical meaning. Poor Paul Getty, for instance, is inspired by the 1973 kidnapping of then-16-year-old John Paul Getty III, whose ear was cut off by his captors when his oil baron grandfather initially refused to pay the ransom.
It’s a tale that loomed large for Lennon growing up.
“I actually had a personal empathy for that story,” he said. “When I was a kid, there were a lot of kidnapping threats against me. So when I was young, I remember hearing that Paul Getty had his ear cut off and it really terrified me. I never forgot it.
“Not a lot of people know what it’s like to grow up with that kind of thing, with that kind of possibility looming over your head — literally. I always felt really sorry for him. I always felt like I was one of the people that could understand that kind of fear.” [Source]