Double Fantasy by John Lennon & Yoko Ono

On October 9th John Lennon would have turned 75 years old. We look at the Album that would be his last. Writing about this album is bitter-sweet. Especially around important dates in John´s life. So without further ado, one of the greatest albums of the eighties, Double Fantasy.

As many of you know, we here at MVD are Beatles fans. I personally think there is music and then, in another category, there is The Beatles and Nina Simone. But first and foremost there the Fab four. If there were to be an apocalypse and all music would be gone and I could only listen to one band for the rest of my life it would be them. I hope I managed to convey how much I like the Beatles. Anyway, his birthday this week led us to remember him and read this heartfelt article by Yoko and we have decided to have our second #themeweek. So this week on MVD we are writing and sharing posts and music regarding John Lennon.

(Just Like) Starting Over – John Lennon & Yoko Ono

The song that starts the album starts with the sound of three bells. I once read or heard Yoko say that those bells, those three bells are for making a wish.  It is sad and ironic that they didn’t get to start over.  When you hear the song is so upbeat, and he was so happy about it, he was playful, it had been 5 years since his last album and he was (in his own words) “channeling his Elvis”.  We, all of us, humanity in general, really got sucker punched by that homicide. There were many, many things, unimaginable things we missed, one of which was he didn’t even get to see his record make it to Number one. When he died, the album was charting at Number 6. The song is his biggest solo hit in America, where it stayed at No. 1 for five weeks.

Double Fantasy is a difficult album to write about, because it was so important to John to show us a glimpse into his life, his domesticated self, parenthood, and he wanted it to be a conversation between a man and a woman, between Yoko and him, but at the same time it makes it hard for critics, and people like me to listen to precisely because of  Yoko´s songs. Now, I have to clarify I am not a Yoko hater. I have been a fan of her conceptual art for a while, like her towers of light, her smile project, her peace signs and I realize there is much more to her.  But that does not mean I like her as a musician. And I specially don’t like having to listen to an LP and getting up to skip her songs. So, no, although I recognize Yoko is a trained piano player and could read and write music, and she might have something interesting going on with her Plastic Ono Band project (I don’t get that either but some people I respect and who know what they are talking about give her some credit so I will take their word on that). Although there is some merit to Yoko´s songwriting, I am merely going to mention her songs on the album. “Kiss Kiss Kiss”, “Give Me Something”, “I´m Moving On”, “Yes, I Am Your Angel”, “Beautiful Boys”, “Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him”, “Hard Times Are Over”.

I’m Losing You – John Lennon

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frcbQymzHkg

This song was written after he could not get through to Yoko on a phone call while he was in Bermuda. Lennon used the frustration of the moment to write about it, but it is also a song about the 18 month separation that he had from Yoko, the lost weekend.

Woman – John Lennon

After dropping the despaired and anguished cry that is I´m Losing You, Lennon then brings us this ode to his wife and to women in general. This love song that he said to Rolling Stone in an interview he had 3 days before his death, that Woman was the adult version of “Girl”. I think it is also impressive, and out of this world to listen to this song and look at the last photo shot John and Yoko had, with Annie Leibovitz and which took place on the day of his murder.

Watching the Wheels – John Lennon

Released posthumously, the song was written by Lennon as a response to people who were criticizing him  for being a stay at home husband and dad. I think that John got what he wanted, he let us in, he showed us how he was living, what he was thinking,  what he had been trough. It certainly was a fantasy. For him, and for us, to think that we could be there with him, with them. A fantasy to think that he would be able to have enough musical talent for both of them, a fantasy that will live forever.

People say I’m crazy, doing what I’m doing
Well, they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin
When I say that I’m okay, well, they look at me kinda strange
“Surely, you’re not happy now, you no longer play the game”

People say I’m lazy, dreaming my life away
Well, they give me all kinds of advice designed to enlighten me
When I tell them that I’m doing fine watching shadows on the wall
“Don’t you miss the big time, boy. You’re no longer on the ball”

I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go

Ahhh, people ask me questions, lost in confusion
Well, I tell them there’s no problem, only solutions
Well, they shake their heads and they look at me as if I’ve lost my mind
I tell them there’s no hurry, I’m just sitting here doing time

I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go
I just had to let it go
I just had to let it go

 

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