Woman (John Lennon song)

“Woman” is a song written and performed by John Lennon from his 1980 album Double Fantasy. The track was chosen by Lennon to be the second single released from the Double Fantasy album, and it was the first Lennon single issued after his death on 8 December 1980.[1] The B-side of the single is Ono’s song “Beautiful Boys”.[1]

Lennon wrote “Woman” as an ode to his wife Yoko Ono, and to all women.[2] The track begins with Lennon whispering, “For the other half of the sky …”, a paraphrase of a Chinese proverb, once used by Mao Zedong.

Well Well Well (John Lennon song)

“Well Well Well” is a song from the album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band by John Lennon.

The lyrics of “Well Well Well” describe mundane incidents from Lennon’s daily life with wife Yoko Ono.[1][2][3] Incidents described include eating a meal together, going for a walk, and discussing current events such as “revolution” and “women’s liberation.”[2] The song also describes the uneasiness the couple feel during these events, but which they cannot understand.[2][3] Authors Ben Urish and Ken Bielen suggest that this uneasiness is due to guilt the couple feel about being able to talk about issues but having the luxury of deciding whether or not to take action.[2]

One line of the song refers to Yoko Ono as “she looked so beautiful I could eat her.”[4] Music critic Wilfrid Mellers interprets this line as evidence of a “cannibalistic impulse” to the song.[4][5] However, critic Johnny Rogan believes it is more likely simply a reference to oral sex.[4] Early lyrics for the song used a slightly different line: “she looked so beautiful I could wee.”[3][4] This is a variation of a commonly used phrase meaning “Supremely beautiful; aesthetically pleasing.”

The melody of “Well Well Well” is pentatonic, incorporating a proper tritone.[5] In the stanzas there is little harmony other than the instruments doubling the vocal line and the thumping drum.[5] The chorus is in call and response form, and uses triadic harmony.[5]

Instrumentation for “Well Well Well” is provided by Lennon, Klaus Voorman and Ringo Starr performing as a power trio with Lennon on guitar, Voorman on bass and Starr on drums.[2] Rock journalist Paul du Noyer describes Lennon’s guitar playing as “clenched” and “grunge-like” and claims that Starr’s drumming is “some of Ringo’s toughest.”[3] Urish and Bielen suggest that Lennon’s guitar playing on the song and on Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band were an influence on punk rock.[2] Music critic Johnny Rogan comments on the “thumping bass drum” which, along with Lennon’s guitar playing makes “Well Well Well” the “heaviest and loudest” song on Plastic Ono Band.[4] Author John Blaney describes the rhythm track as “pulsing,” claiming it “echoes the beating hearts” from Lennon’s earlier song “John & Yoko” from The Wedding Album.[1]

Lennon’s singing on the song ranges between tender and ferocious.[1] In the middle section he screams the song’s title with particular abandon.[2] Authors Chip Madinger and Mark Easter call this “the most tortured-larynx singing of John’s career.[6] Mellers attributes the screams of the title phrase at the end of the song to Lennon capitulating “to the infant’s hysteria, traumatically howling for the maternal breast,” as a result of Lennon undergoing Arthur Janov’s primal therapy at the time he wrote the song.[5]

Remember (John Lennon song)

“Remember” is a 1970 song appearing on John Lennon’s first official solo album release, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band.

The song was influenced by Lennon’s primal therapy sessions with Dr Arthur Janov, and the lyrics reflect things typically remembered in therapy. The memories described are unpleasant ones, of conflict with family, authority and peers. Lennon employs his wit, mentioning how “the hero was never hung, always got away”, and parents “wishin’ for movie stardom, always playin’ a part,” instead of being honest and open.

At the end of the song, Lennon sings an excerpt from the poem Remember, Remember, The Fifth of November, then an explosion is heard. This is a reference to Guy Fawkes Night, a holiday in Britain celebrated with fireworks. In an interview with Jann Wenner, Lennon said this was part of a lengthy ad-lib and that he later decided this line ought to be the culmination of the song.[1][2] This ad-lib may refer to the nursery rhyme “Remember Remember”, also linked to Guy Fawkes Night:

“Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot!”

New York City (John Lennon and Yoko Ono song)

“New York City” is a song written by John Lennon that was first released on Lennon’s and Yoko Ono’s 1972 album Some Time in New York City.

“New York City” was inspired by Lennon’s move to New York City and by the people he met in the city.[1] He began writing the song soon after moving there in 1971, and a few weeks after his move he had completed the first verse, although the rest of the song was only a sketch.[1] An early version was used in Lennon’s and Ono’s film Clock, which was filmed in September 1971.[1][2] That version relied more prominently on the “que pasa” lyrics than the final version.[2] Lennon continued to expand the lyrics and make demo recordings of the song, including an acoustic version from late 1971 which was included on John Lennon Anthology.[1][2] The final version released on the album was recorded in 1972 with Elephant’s Memory on the backing instruments.[1][2]

Mother (John Lennon song)

“Mother” is a song by English musician John Lennon, first released on his 1970 album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. An edited version of the song was issued as a single in the United States on Apple Records, on 28 December 1970.[1] The single runs about 1:41 shorter than the album due to a lack of the tolling bells intro and a quicker fadeout. The B-side features “Why” by Yoko Ono. The song peaked in the US at number 19 on the Cashbox Top 100[2] and number 43 on the Billboard Hot 100.[2]

Love (John Lennon song)

“Love” is a song written and performed by John Lennon, originally released in 1970 on the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band album.

The song first came out on Lennon’s 1970 album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. “Love” later appeared on the 1982 compilation The John Lennon Collection, and was released as a promotional tie-in single for the collection. The single version is a remix of the original track, which most notably differs in having the piano intro and outro (played by Phil Spector) mixed at the same volume as the rest of the song; on the original album version, these parts begin much quieter and increase in volume. B-side was “Gimme Some Truth”, but labelled as “Give Me Some Truth”.

An alternate take of the song appears on the John Lennon Anthology box set.

The picture on the sleeve for 1982 release of “Love” was taken by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz on 8 December 1980—the very day of Lennon’s murder.

Like the 1982 British issue, the original version of the song was released as a single again in October 1998 for the Japanese market only with the Japanese edition of another compilation Lennon Legend: The Very Best of John Lennon, and gained moderate success on Japan’s Oricon chart.

The song was also used as Lennon’s entry on the iTunes exclusive 4-track Beatles EP 4: John Paul George Ringo, released in 2014.

Look at Me (John Lennon song)

“Look at Me” is a song written and performed by John Lennon, from his solo debut album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band.

Written during the extended White Album sessions of 1968, it was shelved until its release on Lennon’s 1970 debut album. A different recording of the song was later released on the John Lennon Anthology and his compilation album Acoustic.

The pattern of the song is fairly prominent throughout the song. It was built from a finger-picking technique that Lennon used while with The Beatles, including “Dear Prudence”, “Happiness Is a Warm Gun”, and “Julia”, all of which were also written during the White Album sessions. Lennon learned the song’s finger-picking guitar style (known as ‘Travis-picking’) from the Scottish musician Donovan, who was with Lennon at the time at Rishikesh, India.[1]

It’s So Hard

“It’s So Hard” is a song written and performed by John Lennon which first appeared on his 1971 album Imagine. Shortly after the album’s release, the song was released as the B-side to the single “Imagine.” In Mexico it was released on an EP with “Imagine,” “Oh My Love” and “Gimme Some Truth.”[1] In 1986, a live performance from 30 August 1972 was released on Lennon’s live album Live in New York City.

According to author John Blaney, the lyrics of “It’s So Hard” represent a summary of Lennon’s struggle with life problems.[2] The lyrics describe one of Lennon’s attitudes toward life, complaining about difficulties and the need to eat and love, noting that sometimes things get so difficult he wants to stop trying.[3] He only finds solace with his lover.[2][3] Author Andrew Grant Jackson interprets the song as demonstrating the difficulty in achieving the utopia vision in his song “Imagine,” which was released as the A-side of the single including “It’s So Hard,” due to the drudgery of everyday life.[4] The song incorporates double entendres such as “going down,” which is used to mean “giving up” early in the song, but refers to oral sex later in the song.[3] Even the title phrase “it’s so hard” serves as a sexual double entendre when used in the portion of the song describing when the singer is with his lover and things are good.[4]

“It’s So Hard” is a hard rocking blues song.[2][3] Music critic Wilfrid Mellers actually considers the vocal line to be based on gospel and soul music, but states that the song’s use of sharpened fourths and false relations gives it a “harsh rock-bottom reality comparable with that of genuine, primitive blues.[5] The primary instruments are just Lennon on guitar, Klaus Voormann on bass and Jim Gordon on drums.[2] In addition, the instrumentals include strings played by the Flux Fiddlers and a saxophone solo played by King Curtis.[2]

Imagine (John Lennon song)

“Imagine” is a song written and performed by the English musician John Lennon. The best-selling single of his solo career, its lyrics encourage the listener to imagine a world at peace without the barriers of borders or the divisions of religion and nationality, and to consider the possibility that the focus of humanity should be living a life unattached to material possessions.

Lennon and Yoko Ono co-produced the song and album of the same name with Phil Spector. Recording began at Lennon’s home studio at Tittenhurst Park, England, in May 1971, with final overdubs taking place at the Record Plant, in New York City, during July. One month after the September release of the LP, Lennon released “Imagine” as a single in the United States; the song peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and the LP reached number one on the UK chart in November, later becoming the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed album of Lennon’s solo career. Although not originally released as a single in the United Kingdom, it was released in 1975 to promote a compilation LP and it reached number six in the chart that year. The song has since sold more than 1.6 million copies in the UK; it reached number one following Lennon’s murder in December 1980. In 1985, Central Park memorialized a portion of the park with a mosaic that reads “Imagine” in honor of Lennon.[1]

BMI named “Imagine” one of the 100 most-performed songs of the 20th century. The song ranked number 30 on the Recording Industry Association of America’s list of the 365 Songs of the Century bearing the most historical significance. It earned a Grammy Hall of Fame Award and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. A UK survey conducted by the Guinness World Records British Hit Singles Book named it the second best single of all time, while Rolling Stone ranked it number three in their list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. Since 2005, event organisers have played it just before the New Year’s Times Square Ball drops in New York City. Dozens of artists have performed or recorded versions of “Imagine”, including Madonna, Stevie Wonder, Joan Baez, Elton John and Diana Ross. Emeli Sandé recorded a cover for the BBC to use during the end credits montage at the close of the 2012 Summer Olympics coverage in August 2012. “Imagine” subsequently re-entered the UK Top 40, reaching number 18.

I’m Losing You (John Lennon song)

“I’m Losing You” is a song written by John Lennon and released on his 1980 album Double Fantasy. It was completed in Bermuda in June 1980, after Lennon failed at an attempted telephone call to Yoko Ono. The song is also available on the 1982 compilation The John Lennon Collection, the 1998 boxset John Lennon Anthology, the one disc compilation Wonsaponatime, the 2005 two disc compilation Working Class Hero: The Definitive Lennon and in 2010 for the Gimme Some Truth album. The song was also featured in the 2005 musical Lennon.

How Do You Sleep? (John Lennon song)

“How Do You Sleep?” is a song by English musician John Lennon from his 1971 album Imagine. The song makes angry and scathing remarks aimed at his former Beatles bandmate and songwriting partner, Paul McCartney. Lennon wrote the song in response to what he perceived as personal slights by McCartney on the latter’s Ram album. The track includes a slide guitar solo played by George Harrison.

Following the release of McCartney’s album Ram in May 1971, Lennon felt attacked by McCartney, who later admitted that lines in the song “Too Many People” were intended as digs at Lennon.[1] Lennon thought that other songs on the album, such as “3 Legs”, contained similar attacks.[2] The back cover of Ram, showing one stag beetle mounting another, has been described by McCartney as indicative of how he felt treated by the other members of the Beatles.

The lyrics of “How Do You Sleep?” refer to the Paul is dead hoax (“Those freaks was right when they said you was dead”).[3] The song begins with the line “So Sgt. Pepper took you by surprise”, referring to the Beatles’ landmark 1967 album.[4] Preceding this first line are ambient sounds evocative of those heard at the beginning of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.

The lyrics “The only thing you done was yesterday / And since you’ve gone you’re just another day” are directed at McCartney, the first lyric being a reference to the Beatles’ 1965 song “Yesterday”. The second lyric is a reference to McCartney’s hit single “Another Day”, released earlier in 1971. Lennon initially penned the lyrics “You probably pinched that bitch anyway”, as a reference to the many times McCartney had made claims that he was not sure if he “nicked” Yesterday, having asked Lennon, Harrison, George Martin and others if they had heard that melody before. Although Lennon receives the sole writing credit for “How Do You Sleep?”, multiple reports[who?] indicate that Yoko Ono, as well as Allen Klein, Lennon’s manager, also contributed lyrics.[3]

Hold On (John Lennon song)

“Hold On” is a song from the album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band by John Lennon. It features only vocals, tremolo guitar, drums, and bass guitar, typical of the sparse arrangements Lennon favoured at the time. In the middle of the song, Lennon mutters the word “cookie”, imitating the Cookie Monster from the US children’s television show Sesame Street.[1][2] On the 2000 reissue of John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, “Hold On” features a slightly longer introduction. The original version was restored on the 2010 reissue.

The song’s theme is emotional fragility, as the lyrics state that when you’re alone in the world you just have to “hold on.”[1] Lennon tries to assure himself that he and wife Yoko Ono have the strength to overcome their challenges, and if he holds on, “it’s gonna be all right” and “we’re gonna win the fight.”[2][3] Lennon explicitly namechecks himself and Yoko Ono, but author Andrew Jackson does not believe that this detracts from the universality of the message.[1] Indeed, towards the end of the song Lennon expands the subject to encompass the whole world, singing that peace will be achievable when everyone will “see the light” and realize that we are all “one.”[2]

Musically, Lennon plays his guitar gently, applying tremolo, in an effect that Jackson states matches “the soothing reassurance of the lyrics.”[1] Lennon took 32 takes experimenting with different approaches before hitting on this one.[1] However, music critics Wilfrid Mellers and Johnny Rogan state that other elements of the music create some tension with the reassuring message.[3] These elements include Ringo Starr’s “jittery” drumming, with many silences, and the fragmented vocal melody, which break up the sentences of the lyrics.[3][4]

Lennon has explained the song as follows:

“I’m saying ‘hold on John’ because I don’t want to die…I don’t want to be hurt and please don’t hit me…Hold on now, we might have a cup of tea, we might get a moment’s happiness any minute now. So that’s what it’s about, just moment by moment. That’s how we’re living now, but really living like that and cherishing each day, and dreading it too. It might be your last.”[4]

God (John Lennon song)

“God” is a song from John Lennon’s first post-Beatles solo album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. The album was released on 11 December 1970 in the United States and the United Kingdom.
The song was considered controversial upon release, dealing with anti-religious themes.

There are three sections in the song:
In the first section, John Lennon describes God as “a concept by which we measure our pain”.
In the second, Lennon lists many idols that he does not believe in, ending by stating that he just believes in himself (individuality) and Yoko (his wife). The idols he lists are: magic, I Ching, Bible, tarot, Hitler, Jesus, Kennedy (which he also sang as “Kennedys”, referring to both John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy), Buddha, mantra, Gita, yoga, kings, Elvis, Zimmerman (Bob Dylan) and Beatles.
The final section describes Lennon’s change since the break-up of The Beatles. He states that he is no longer the “Dreamweaver” or “The Walrus”, but just “John”. The final line of the song, “The dream is over” represents Lennon’s stance that the myth “the Beatles were God” had come to an end. “If there is a God,” Lennon explained, “we’re all it.”[1]

Bring on the Lucie (Freeda Peeple)

“Bring on the Lucie (Freda Peeple)” is a protest song written and performed by John Lennon from his 1973 album Mind Games.[1] The song dates from late 1971, starting out as little more than a chorus, after Lennon acquired a National guitar.[2] After working on the lyrics, the song went from a simple political slogan to a full-blown statement that hints at his earlier work, such as “Imagine” and “Power to the People”.[2]

Two versions of the song, both performed by Lennon, appear in the 2006 film, Children of Men. The standard version of the song (originally released on the Mind Games album) is heard during the course of the film, and an alternate version of the song, originally released on the 1998 John Lennon Anthology boxed set, is featured over the closing credits. The John Lennon Anthology version of the song also appears on the film’s soundtrack along with a cover version by Junior Parker of “Tomorrow Never Knows,” a song Lennon wrote for the Beatles album Revolver.

Borrowed Time (John Lennon song)

“Borrowed Time” is a song from John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s last album, Milk and Honey. While the single failed to chart in the United States, it charted at number 32 in the UK Singles Chart.[1] The B-side features Ono’s song “Your Hands” from the same album.

The song was inspired during Lennon’s 1980 sailing holiday [2][3] from Newport Rhode Island to Bermuda. During the journey Lennon’s yacht encountered a prolonged severe storm resulting in most of the crew eventually succumbing to profound fatigue and seasickness, Lennon (free of seasickness) was eventually forced to take the yacht’s wheel alone for many hours. Lennon found this terrifying but invigorating with the effect of both renewing his confidence and making him contemplate the fragility of life (Lennon claimed his recovery from heroin addiction some years earlier had rendered him immune to seasickness).[2] Once he arrived in Bermuda, Lennon heard the line ‘living on borrowed time’ from Bunny Wailer’s “Hallelujah Time” and was inspired by his recent experience to write the lyrics around that theme, Wailer was also the inspiration for the reggae feel of the music.[2] Lennon commented that living on borrowed time was exactly what he was doing but then said, “come to think of it, it’s what we’re all doing, even though most of us don’t like to face it.” (Seaman, 1991,[2] p159).

Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)

“Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)” is a song written and performed by John Lennon. It was released on the 1980 album Double Fantasy, the last album by Lennon and Ono released before his death.

Paul McCartney has stated this is one of his favourite songs composed by Lennon, and when he appeared on Desert Island Discs in 1982 included it as his favourite in his selection, as did Yoko Ono as the only John Lennon song in 2007.[1] [2]

It was used as the B-side of “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” to promote the compilation album The John Lennon Collection in November 1982.

Attica State (song)

“Attica State” is a song by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. It appeared on the album, Some Time in New York City. The song is a lamentation of the loss of life in the Attica State prison riots, as well as the poor living conditions and human rights prisoners are afforded in the United States.

“Attica State” was also intended as the b-side of the lead single from Some Time in New York City, which was to have been “The Luck of the Irish.”[1] The intended single was given catalogue number APPLE 1846 but was cancelled before being released.[1]

Aisumasen (I’m Sorry)

“Aisumasen (I’m Sorry)” is a song written by John Lennon released on his 1973 album Mind Games.[1] The song is included on the 1990 boxset Lennon.

The song’s lyrics have Lennon apologising to wife Yoko Ono.[2][3][4] Aisumasen is a slightly corrupted version of the formal term aisumimasen, which means “I’m sorry” in Japanese.[3][4] The line “It’s hard enough I know to feel your own pain” reprises a theme found in a line from Lennon’s earlier song “I Found Out.”[2][4] After the lyrics run out, a guitar solo is played.[4] Authors Ken Bielen and Ben Urish interpret this solo as a continuation of the plea for forgiveness.[4] The solo ends abruptly, which Bielen and Urish suggest that this abrupt ending symbolically means that Lennon’s plea has been rejected.[4] And in fact, by the time “Aisumasen (I’m Sorry)” was released, Lennon and Ono had separated.[4] Author John Blaney notes agrees that the song implies that Lennon will not get the forgiveness and comfort he needs from Ono, and further states that the song reveals just how much he needed her.[5]

“Aisumasen (I’m Sorry)” has some similarities to the Beatle’s song “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” which was also written by Lennon and inspired by Ono.[4] Bielen and Urish claim that “Aisumasen (I’m Sorry)” has a similar rhythm to “a slowed down, semi-acoustic version” of “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).”[4] “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” also ends abruptly.[4]

Lennon had been working on the melody to “Aisumasen (I’m Sorry)” since at least 1971.[2][3][5] A demo of the song was recorded during sessions for Lennon’s Imagine.[6] Originally, the melody belonged to song whose working title was “Call My Name.”,[2][3][7] dating from a demo recorded in December 1971.[6] In “Call My Name,” Lennon was offering to comfort someone, but in the final version of the song Lennon is the one asking for forgiveness.[3][5] In “Call My Name,” the melodic line that became “Aisumasen” was sung to the words “I’ll ease your pain.”[4]

Number 9 Dream

“#9 Dream” is a song written by John Lennon and first issued on his 1974 album Walls and Bridges. It was released as the second single from that album months later, on Apple Records catalogue Apple 1878 in the United States and Apple R6003 in the United Kingdom. It peaked at number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 23 on the British singles chart. A video for the song was made in 2003.[1]

“#9 Dream” came to Lennon in a dream. Lennon has said that the song was just “churned out” with “no inspiration.”[2]

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