2 Jun


This album was the second long playing record that I bought with my own cash (as opposed to receiving as a gift) and, frankly, it was a pretty good choice: popular enough be safe, edgy enough for a bit of credibility when loaning out to friends!

 John Lennon was always my favourite Beatle (and yes, I am old enough to remember the Beatles – at least since my sister took me to see Hard Day’s Night at the Granada cinema in Greenford, west London, when it came out!) and ‘Imagine’, which came out on Apple in 1971, is a great and commercial  album (the earlier Plastic Ono Band may even be better but certainly less accessible and I have yet to meet anyone who owns the earlier ‘experimental’ albums Two Virgins and Life With the Lions).

There are ten tracks and all are cracking.

Of course the the utopian idealism of the title track made a big impression on the 13 year-old me – but so too did the simplicity and percussive piano. The next track ‘Crippled Inside’ also has a strong honky-tonk piano line. ‘Jealous Guy’, the next one, is confessional and honest (unlike the cringe-worthy cover Bryan Ferry did) as is ‘Oh My Love’ and ‘How?’ – really simple and direct, probably a result of Lennon’s experiments with primal scream therapy.

‘Gimme Some Truth’ is a protest song with the great line “No short-haired, yellow-bellied, son of tricky dicky’s gonna mother-hubbard soft-soap me with just a pocketful of soap. It’s money for dope Money for rope”. Not really that surprising that the US authorities were a bit wary when John went to live in New York.

Then there’s ‘How Do You Sleep?’, believed by many to lash out at Paul McCartney (something amplified by a postcard picture of Lennon with a pig included in my original record but since lost) which was seen as a sarcastic riposte to Macca’s manhandling of a sheep on the cover of his ‘Ram’ album). The presence of George Harrison on guitar was interpreted at the time as equally significant!

The final track, ‘Oh Yoko’ is beautiful: John’s heartfelt, upbeat song of joy to his soulmate.  This is one LP I’ve not bought as a CD because, in my head, it will forever remain in 1971!


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