Monday, December 05, 2005

John Lennon, 1940-1980

Died on 12/8/80; head to Central Park this Thursday for the memorial that always occurs, but which is understandably better-attended on "0" and "5" years. I'll be there.

Could we have used this voice, up to today's headlines?

Judge for yourself: "Gimme Some Truth," 1971, Imagine.

I’m sick and tired of hearing things
From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocritics
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth
I’ve had enough of reading things
By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth

No short-haired, yellow-bellied, son of tricky dicky
Is gonna mother hubbard soft soap me
With just a pocketful of hope
Money for dope
Money for rope

I’m sick to death of seeing things
From tight-lipped, condescending, mama’s little chauvinists
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth now

I’ve had enough of watching scenes
Of schizophrenic, ego-centric, paranoiac, prima-donnas
All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth

No short-haired, yellow-bellied, son of tricky dicky
Is gonna mother hubbard soft soap me
With just a pocketful of hope
Money for dope
Money for rope

Ah, I’m sick and tired of hearing things
From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocrites
All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth now

I’ve had enough of reading things
By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth now

All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth now
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth

Oh, and the FBI had him under surveillance. Starting in 1972.

9 Thoughts:

Blogger Demotiki said...

I really liked his music before it got, you know, weird.

Monday, December 05, 2005 1:21:00 PM  
Blogger Kyahgirl said...

ditto.

Can't believe its been 25 years already.

Monday, December 05, 2005 3:28:00 PM  
Blogger Demotiki said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005 9:43:00 AM  
Blogger Demotiki said...

Kyahgirl,

Sorry, I was making an inside joke. Bush is famous for saying that he liked the Beatles before they "got too weird." He was talking about post 1964 Beatles music. . . which I think it some of their best stuff.

Yeah, i can't believe it's been so long. I remember the day he died like it was yesterday. They played every Beatles song and every one of his solo songs in one long radio program. I must have listened to 80% of it, I was such a fan.

Do you think we'll feel the same when "50 cent" get's a cap in his ass?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Tuesday, December 06, 2005 9:44:00 AM  
Blogger Kyahgirl said...

thanks demo :-)


I guess I still think he got a bit weird at the end. The early Beatles stuff was pretty much just fluff, then their music/lyrics grew in complexity/insight, largely due to Lennon's talent (again, my perception) that's my favorite phase, then it seemed like everyone flew apart but musically really grew. Maybe my perception of John Lennon/Yoko Ono overshadows my memory of the music he was making at the time. I have to go back and revisit it to be fair.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005 9:52:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hi, Kyahgirl:

I think Lennon himself would have agreed with you. Between 1966's "Rain" and 1968's "Revolution 9" and the two albums with Yoko Ono, Lennon first expanded and then blew apart the rock song. (Others, like the Velvet Underground and Jimi Hendrix, were doing similar things around the same time.)

By the time he hit, say, "Revolution 9" on the White Album, he'd dispensed with all instruments other than tape loops and other studio technology. I happen to love "R9," but you'll notice that beginning with Lennon's songs on Let it Be and moving through his songs on Abbey Road to his first post-Beatles solo album, Plastic Ono Band (1970), Lennon began stripping down his music to the bare bones.

One of the things I like so much about Lennon's music is his amazing flexibility and creativity. He wrote perhaps the best psychedelic music of anyone, but also could write brutally honest and open lyrics with spare accompaniment like "God" and "Mother."

I think the thing people like Bush don't like about post-Rubber Soul Beatles albums is that they broke through generic rules and truly marked an advance as pronounced as that of the Velvet Underground, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, and a few other bands of the day. Folks like Bush like predictability, order, and "clean," uncomplicated music.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I forgot to add Brian Wilson to that list of innovators. Perhaps you could also include Frank Zappa, but his music is less generically obliterating to me than generically interpenetrating, always with an ironic tone. The Who, especially live, were breaking down barriers in a similar fashion -- making something new: not blues, not jazz, not rock and roll, not classical, but a mix of all plus something more.

Other people I love, such as Bob Dylan and the Stones, worked within genres (well, Dylan had exploded the folk genre and melded it to rock and roll by the mid-60s, but thereafter did not expand beyond what he'd accomplished), which is not at all to say anything about their relative value (to me, at least).

A genre song like McCartney's "Honey Pie" is one kind of genius. An unclassifiable (or completely avant-garde) song like "I Am The Walrus" or "Revolution 9" is another kind.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Demotiki said...

Doug,

As much as I love and respect John Lennon, I have to disagree with you. Lennon's genius wasn't composition. His genius was remembering that he was only a man. Although he could be arrogant at times, it was his humility and compassion that made him a transcendent genius. Unlike nearly all modern celebrities, Lennon learned how to not be a prisoner of his fame. To a great extent, this realization grew from his love for Yoko Ono, and for that we can be thankful.

Paul was always the greater composer, and always the lesser man. Don’t get me wrong, Paul was a genius as well, and his music is moving and insightful, but he never “got it” the way Lennon did. He accepted the responsibility of a famous and loved man to speak frankly with his fans and the public in general. John tried to use his fame to change the world for the better. Paul didn’t.

Having said this, have you heard Paul’s last Album, it’s fantastic?

Demo

Thursday, December 08, 2005 8:44:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hey, Demo:

I never really bought the strong version of "Paul=musician/
John=poet/man-of-the-people."

There's some truth to it. Paul has an amazing talent for melody...but only a bit more than Lennon, after all! Furthermore, if you lop off Paul's career post-Band on the Run, you'll find some experimental songs ("Helter Skelter," "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey") as well as a quite acidic pen ("When I'm Sixty-Four") alternating with a quite unsentimental pen ("Hey Jude," "Eleanor Rigby").

Supposedly, McCartney was the one doing tape loops in the mid-60s when Lennon was married and in the 'burbs (Paul was in London). Who knows?

The point is that the two were better together (even if writing separately) than apart, even allowing for some truly great post-Beatles work.

Paul was more (and is more) concerned with fame and being liked. John was, but then rejected all of that, especially from 1975-1980 when instead of churning out B+ songs and making millions, he became a stay-at-home dad.

Which makes his murder all the more ironic, as he'd just burst back onto the music scene.

Friday, December 16, 2005 4:29:00 PM  

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