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imagine
crippled inside
jealous guy
it’s so hard
i don’t wanna be a soldier
mama i don’t wanna die
gimme some truth
oh my love
how do you sleep?
how?
oh yoko!

imagine the clouds dripping. dig a hole in your garden to put them in. yoko ’63
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Just a year on from the to critical praise but only muted approval in
the marketplace. The conclusions were,
implosion of The Beatles, to him, pretty obvious. He might be a
John Lennon’s life had yet to trail-blazer in all kinds of ways, but he was
at heart a populist – an artist but also an
settle. In 1971, while lawyers entertainer. The task was to frame his ideas
picked over the remains of in music that listeners loved and took inside
their hearts. Plastic Ono Band had been
his old band, he travelled admired, but often from a distance. The role
with Yoko to meet her family of the next album – the record that became
Imagine – was an attempt for maximum
in Japan, and to America communication offering hopes to the
pursuing custody of Kyoko, bleeding, battered world.

her daughter by ex-husband On the musical level he certainly succeeded.


Tony Cox. Within John’s own, Imagine is the best-loved album of his solo
career, while its title track is perhaps his
ever-enquiring mind, a war most revered. By contrast to its austere
of ideas was raging. predecessor the new music had melodies
in abundance, and colour and variety. It had
flashes of broad humour and moments of
In London and New York he had been drawn absolute joy.
to the radical underground, where hippy ideals
of the 1960s met the hard-edged politics of a In his home outside London, at Tittenhurst
new decade. But this being John, nothing was Park in Ascot, John had built a studio where
cut and dried. In parallel he was cultivating an he could record the raw tracks, without
almost mystic line of thought, much of it recourse to his traditional base at Abbey
inspired by the art and poetry of Yoko Ono. Road. The producer Phil Spector returned to
help John oversee an informal family of
John’s first post-Beatles album, John Lennon/ musicians. Among them were George
Plastic Ono Band, had emerged in late 1970 Harrison, and friends like Klaus Voormann
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and the drummer Alan White, who had all


played on John’s tremendous debut
collaboration with Spector, ‘Instant Karma!’.
The Rolling Stones’ favourite pianist Nicky
Hopkins was there, and members of
the Apple label’s Badfinger.

As Yoko says: “It was so good to have


breakfast in our own home and walk right into
the new studio next to it. We could smell the
grass and the trees from the garden and heard
the birds chirping. We felt like they were
helping us.”

Imagine took shape in the early summer,


after which the tapes were taken to New York
for final overdubs (not least the magisterial
saxophone of King Curtis) at Record Plant
East. It seems that everyone involved, and
certainly John himself, had a sense of its
being exceptional. Here were songs that threw
revealing light on his whole personality at that
point – from the devout but imperfect lover to
the embattled former Beatle; a man
preoccupied by his inner doubts yet ready for
anyone when his righteous fury was aroused.

The keynote song itself was drawn from


Yoko’s work. It was so influential upon John
that he later said she deserved a co-credit.
As far back as 1964, in her collection of
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poems called Grapefruit, Yoko began each tirade that is leavened with self-reproach.
piece with an invocation to “imagine”: Its knockabout honky-tonk contrasts with
one example, from 1963’s Cloud Piece, Lennon’s previous album, Plastic Ono Band,
is quoted on the album cover. Whether in though the lyric shares a “primal scream”
spiritual or earthly matters, the idea runs, acuteness. Likewise ‘Jealous Guy’, another
we must visualise our goals before we can unflinching look into the writer’s own sense
achieve them. It’s a theme to which Lennon of failure, is spun into a different realm by its
returned frequently, and the hymn-like ethereal melody. If John felt that his last
simplicity of its setting reflects his basic faith album – forbiddingly stark to some ears –
– namely, that our collective imaginations are had not found the mass audience its songs
a force for good. deserved, he was not about to make the
same mistake with Imagine.
The cover-art, from a photograph by Yoko,
further shows John in a dreamer’s role, Emotional range is central to this record’s
literally with “head in the clouds”. But typically enduring appeal, with light and shade at
of Lennon there was an earthier touch, as well, every turn. From tough, grinding rockers like
in a giveaway postcard of him wrestling a pig ‘It’s So Hard’ and ‘I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier
– satirising, as most fans at the time would Mama’ we are sent to the solace of ‘Oh My
have spotted – Paul McCartney’s pastoral Love’ or the confessional vulnerability of
image on his own solo LP of that year, Ram. ‘How?’. And the album skips away in a song
For all that ‘Imagine’ has a generosity of spirit, of sheer delight, ‘Oh Yoko!’, possibly the
the infamous ‘How Do You Sleep?’ is narrow happiest thing that John Lennon ever
and hard, despite its lush and spacious committed to record.
arrangement. John would later say that the
attack on his former musical partner was, On its release in September 1971, the
in fact, as much an assault upon himself. Imagine album was recognised as a rounded
self-portrait of this complex, candid,
‘Gimme Some Truth’ looks out with an passionate man. It re-established his
idealist’s impatience to the political world, eminence in the commercial firmament,
while ‘Crippled Inside’ has that quality (more among a rising generation of rock’n’roll stars
obviously than ‘How Do You Sleep?’) of a such as Led Zeppelin and David Bowie.
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It was clear the 1970s John Lennon would not


sit in the shadow of his 1960s self.

When he left England for America, on 3


September 1971, it was just another trip in
John’s turbulent existence, probably in search
of some fresh cause to champion, more
battles to fight and unknown songs to sing.
Nobody knew, of course, that he would never
see his homeland again. For now, New York
looked like the city to be – the capital of the
world, as he believed – where new adventures
beckoned with siren allure.
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Imagine the human race I didn’t mean to hurt you mama, I don’t wanna fly
You can wear a collar I’m sorry that I made you cry Well, I don’t wanna be a lawyer mama,
Imagine there’s no heaven And a tie I didn‘t want to hurt you I don’t wanna lie
It’s easy if you try One thing you can‘t hide I’m just a jealous guy Well, I don’t wanna be a soldier mama,
No hell below us is when you‘re crippled inside I don’t wanna die
Above us only sky It’s So Hard Oh no oh no oh no oh no oh no
Imagine all the people Well now you know that your
living for today... cat has nine lives babe You got to live Well, I don’t wanna be a beggar mama,
Nine lives to itself You got to love I don’t wanna die
Imagine there’s no countries But you only got one You got to be somebody Well, I don’t wanna be a thief now
It isn’t hard to do And a dog’s life ain’t fun You got to shove mama, I don’t wanna fly
Nothing to kill or die for Mamma take a look outside But it’s so hard, it’s really hard Well, I don’t wanna be a churchman
and no religion too Sometimes I feel like going down mama, I don’t wanna cry
Imagine all the people You can go to church Well, I don’t wanna be a soldier mama,
living life in peace... and sing a hymn You got to eat I don’t wanna die
Judge me by the colour You got to drink Oh no oh no oh no oh no
You may say I’m a dreamer of my skin You got to feel something
but I’m not the only one You can live a lie until you die You got to worry Gimme Some Truth
I hope someday you’ll join us One thing you can’t hide It’s so hard, it’s really hard
and the world will be as one is when you’re crippled inside Sometimes I feel like going down I’m sick and tired of hearing things
from uptight-short sighted-narrow
Imagine no possessions Jealous Guy But when it’s good it’s oh so good minded hypocritics
I wonder if you can And when I hold you in my arms baby
No need for greed or hunger I was dreaming of the past Sometimes I feel like going down All I want is the truth
a brotherhood of man And my heart was beating fast Just gimme some truth
Imagine all the people I began to lose control You got to run
sharing all the world... I began to lose control You got to hide I’ve had enough of reading things
You got to keep your woman satisfied by neurotic-psychotic-pig headed
You may say I’m a dreamer I didn’t mean to hurt you But it’s so hard, it’s really hard politicians
but I’m not the only one I’m sorry that I made you cry Sometimes I feel like going down
I hope someday you’ll join us I didn‘t want to hurt you All I want is the truth
and the world will live as one I’m just a jealous guy I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama Just gimme some truth
I Don’t Wanna Die
Crippled Inside I was feeling insecure No short haired-yellow bellied
You might not love me any more Well, I don’t wanna be a soldier mama, son of Tricky Dicky
You can shine your shoes I was shivering inside I don’t wanna die is gonna Mother Hubbard
and wear a suit I was shivering inside Well, I don’t wanna be a sailor mama, soft soap me
You can comb your hair I don’t wanna fly with just a pocketful of hope
and look quite cute I didn’t mean to hurt you Well, I don’t wanna be a failure mama, Money for dope
You can hide your face I’m sorry that I made you cry I don’t wanna cry Money for rope
behind a smile I didn‘t want to hurt you Well, I don’t wanna be a soldier mama,
One thing you can‘t hide I’m just a jealous guy I don’t wanna die I’m sick to death of seeing things
is when you’re crippled inside Oh no oh no oh no oh no from tight lipped-condescending-
I was trying to catch your eyes mommies little chauvinists
You can wear a mask Thought that you were trying to hide Well, I don’t wanna be a rich man
and paint your face I was swallowing my pain mama, I don’t wanna cry All I want is the truth
You can call yourself I was swallowing my pain Well, I don’t wanna be a poor man Just gimme some truth
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I’ve had enough of watching scenes and since you’ve gone you’re Oh no, oh no
of Schizophrenic-ego-centric- just another day
paranoic-prima-donnas How can we go forward when we don’t
How do you sleep? know which way we’re facing?
All I want is the truth Ah how do you sleep at night? How can we go forward when
Just gimme some truth we don’t know which way to turn?
A pretty face may last a year or two How can we go forward into
Oh My Love But pretty soon they’ll see what something we’re not sure of
you can do Oh no, oh no
Oh my love for the first time in my life The sound you make is muzak
my eyes are wide open to my ears Oh Yoko!
Oh my lover for the first time in my life You must have learned
my eyes can see something in all those years In the middle of the night
In the middle of the night I call
I see the wind, oh I see the trees How do you sleep? your name
Everything is clear in my heart Ah how do you sleep at night? Oh Yoko, oh Yoko
I see the clouds, oh I see the sky My love will turn you on
Everything is clear in our world How?
In the middle of a bath
Oh my love for the first time in my life How can I go forward when In the middle of a bath I call
my mind is wide open I don’t know which way I’m facing? your name
Oh my lover for the first time in my life How can I go forward when Oh Yoko, oh Yoko
my mind can feel I don’t know which way to turn? My love will turn you on
How can I go forward into something My love will turn you on
I feel sorrow, oh I feel dreams I’m not sure of?
Everything is clear in my heart Oh no, oh no In the middle of a shave
I feel life, oh I feel love in the middle of a shave I call
Everything is clear in our world How can I have feeling when your name
I don’t know if it’s a feeling? Oh Yoko, oh Yoko
How Do You Sleep? How can I feel something if I just don’t My love will turn you on
know how to feel
So Sgt. Pepper took you by surprise How can I have feelings when my In the middle of a dream
You better see right thru that feelings have always been denied? In the middle of a dream I call
mother’s eyes Oh no, oh no your name
Those freaks was right when they said Oh Yoko, oh Yoko
you was dead You know life can be long My love will turn you on
The one mistake you made was and you got to be so strong My love will turn you on
in your head And the world is so tough
Sometimes I feel I’ve had enough In the middle of a cloud
How do you sleep? oh no, oh no In the middle of a cloud I call
Ah how do you sleep at night? your name
How can I give love when I don‘t know Oh Yoko, oh Yoko
You live with straights who tell you what it is I’m giving? My love will turn you on
you was king How can I give love when I just don’t Oh Yoko, oh Yoko, oh Yoko, oh Yoko,
Jump when your mamma tell you know how to give? oh Yoko
anything How can I give love when love is
The only thing you done was yesterday something I ain’t never had?
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John Lennon and The Plastic Ono How Do You Sleep?: John Lennon: All arrangements by Lennon except ‘Oh
Band (with the Flux Fiddlers) Guitar. George Harrison: Slide Guitar. My Love’ by Lennon/Ono. Alan White
Klaus Voormann: Bass. Alan White: appears by courtesy of Wizard
Produced by John & Yoko and Drums. Nicky Hopkins: Piano Records Ltd. An Apple Record. An EMI
Phil Spector Recording
How?: John Lennon: Piano. Klaus
Imagine: John Lennon: Pianos. Klaus Voormann: Bass. Alan White: Drums. Remaster Project Production
Voormann: Bass. Alan White: Drums John Barham: Vibes. Nicky Hopkins: Producer: Yoko Ono.
Piano Project Co-ordinator: Allan Rouse.
Crippled Inside: John Lennon: Electric Remaster Engineers: Paul Hicks,
Guitar. Klaus Voormann & Steve Oh Yoko!: John Lennon: Guitar/ Sean Magee. Audio Restoration:
Brendell: Upright Bass. George Mouth Organ. Klaus Voormann: Bass. Simon Gibson. Remastered at Abbey
Harrison: Dobro. Nicky Hopkins: Piano. Alan White: Drums. Nicky Hopkins: Road Studios, London, England, 2010
Ted Turner, Rod Linton & John Tout: Piano. Rod Linton & Andy: Acoustic
Acoustic Guitars Guitar. Plus the J & P duo Sleeve notes by Paul Du Noyer.
Additional Photography: Peter
Jealous Guy: John Lennon: Guitar/ All songs written by John Lennon Fordham (c 1971 Yoko Ono),
Whistling: Klaus Voormann: Bass. except track 7 by John Lennon and Spud Murphy (c 1971 Yoko Ono).
Jim Keltner: Drums. John Barham: Yoko Ono. Drawing by John Lennon
Harmonium. Alan White: Good Vibes
Tracks 1, 3, 10 c Lenono Music. 2, 8, 9 Art direction by Yoko Ono. Design by
It’s So Hard: John Lennon: Guitar. c Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC. 4, 5 Peacock. Artwork Co-ordinator:
Klaus Voormann: Bass. Jim Gordon: c Northern Songs Ltd/Lenono Music. Karla Merrifield. Photo research:
Drums. King Curtis: Sax 6 c Lennon Music administered by Xilonen Oreshnick. Project
Sony/ATV. 7 c Lenono Music/Ono management by Timothy Ryan, Jane
I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama Music Ventom, Kris Perera and Guy Hayden
I Don’t Wanna Die: John Lennon:
Guitar. Klaus Voormann: Bass. Jim A joint interest in ‘Oh My Love’ claimed Digital remaster. p 2010. The copyright in this
Keltner: Drums. George Harrison: Slide by Ono Music Ltd. Whip and Mirror by sound recording is owned by EMI Records
Ltd. c 2010 EMI Records Ltd. This label copy
Guitar. Nicky Hopkins: Piano. Joey & Yoko Ono. Cover Design and Photo: information is the subject of copyright
Tommy Badfinger: Acoustic Guitars. Yoko Ono; Typography: George protection. All rights reserved. c 2010 EMI
Mike Pinder: Tambourine. Steve Maciunas Records Ltd.
Brendell: Marracas. King Curtis: Sax

Gimme Some Truth: John Lennon:


Basic tracks made at Ascot Sound
Studios. Engineers: Philip McDonald, !
Guitars. George Harrison: Lead Guitar. Eddie Klein (no relations), Eddie Offor,
Klaus Voormann: Bass. Alan White: Eddie Veal, Eddie Beer. Food by Val and
Drums. Rod Linton & Andy: Acoustic Diana. John & Yoko’s personal assistant:
Guitars. Nicky Hopkins: Piano Dan Richter. This and that: Mal Evans
and Peter Bendry. Flux Fiddlers
Oh My Love: John Lennon: Piano. overdubbed at Record Plant, NY.
Nicky Hopkins: Electric Piano. Klaus Engineers: Roy Sicala, Jack Douglas,
Voormann: Bass. Alan White: Drums/ Shelly Yukus (sleep). This and that: Tom
Tibetan Cymbals. George Harrison: and Arlene and Al Steckler. String
Guitar orchestrations: Torrie Zito. Cloud Piece,
1963 by Yoko Ono, on back cover
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