On Magical Mystery Tour, The Beatles’ famous 1967 album,  there is an odd song called “Blue Jay Way” which was written by George Harrison while he waited for Derek Taylor, who got lost trying to meet Harrison in the hills above Los Angeles on a foggy night.  The song is called “Blue Jay Way” because that is the name of the street on which Harrison was staying in a rented house.  Of course, the better question might be “Why was the street called Blue Jay Way when Blue Jays do not occur on the west coast of North America?” I’ll get to answering that question after sharing the lyrics of the song.

Blue Jay Way

There’s a fog upon L.A.
And my friends have lost their way
We’ll be over soon they said
Now they’ve lost themselves instead.
Please don’t be long please don’t you be very long
Please don’t be long or I may be asleep
Well it only goes to show
And I told them where to go
Ask a policeman on the street
There’s so many there to meet
Please don’t be long please don’t you be very long
Please don’t be long or I may be asleep
Now it’s past my bed I know
And I’d really like to go
Soon will be the break of day
Sitting here in Blue Jay Way
Please don’t be long please don’t you be very long
Please don’t be long or I may be asleep.
Please don’t be long please don’t you be very long
Please don’t be long
Please don’t be long please don’t you be very long
Please don’t be long
Please don’t be long please don’t you be very long
Please don’t be long
Don’t be long – don’t be long – don’t be long
Don’t be long – don’t be long – don’t be long.

Though the bird that actually has the common name Blue Jay does not occur in Los Angeles there are two other birds that might have inspired the naming of Blue Jay Way. Either the Western Scrub Jay or the Steller’s Jay could be the bird for whom the street that inspired the song was named.  Both birds are blue and jays and we will probably never know which it was.  No wonder the album is called the Magical Mystery Tour!

from left to right, Steller’s Jay, Blue Jay, and Western Scrub Jay

Share:
Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy, their son, Desmond Shearwater, and their indoor cat, B.B. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.