Classic Music Review: Imagine by John Lennon

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Putrid . . . putrid . . . yes, let’s go with putrid.

I always try to vary my vocabulary to make things more interesting for my readers (and for me as well). I performed a word search of over 200 posts and found, much to my delight, that I had never used the word “putrid” in a review, not even for David Bowie’s The Next Day or the Grammy-winning joke Some Nights by Fun. That’s good, because “putrid” perfectly captures how I feel about Imagine, one of the most mean-spirited, narcissistic and egomaniacal displays I’ve ever heard. The combination of John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Phil Spector, all of whom are charter members of the Hall of Fame for the Self-Important, was bound to yield two complementary results: phenomenal sales and artistic disaster. Imagine proves that P. T. Barnum was right, and there are no suckers on earth as gullible as Beatles fans who refused to let go of their heroes even when their heroes failed to produce anything worthy of the epithet.

The album opens with what Yoko called, “John’s vision for the world,” the song “Imagine.” I realize that the song is revered the world over and has been elevated to sacred status since his assassination. This is remarkable because there’s nothing in this song that is the least bit original; it’s essentially a rehash of Marxist socialism: religion is the opium of the masses, the vision of a worldwide socialist order without territorial boundaries, and an economy based on need rather than greed. As a committed socialist living in a socialist country, I’m in tune with most of the message, though I think the “no possessions” verse, which mingles Buddhist tenets of ridding ourselves of entanglements with Marxian economics, is both naïve and impractical. I’m not giving up my leather lingerie, whips or sex toys and it would be both unsafe and unsanitary to share them with the leather community!

The real problem is with the author, who displays a brazen hypocrisy that takes one’s breath away. “Imagine no possessions,” he sings while comfortably recording the proceedings in his fully-equipped recording studio on his 72-acre estate, Tittenhurst Park. Here’s John Lennon’s socialism in action:

Lennon purchased the property after the sale of Kenwood in Surrey, his earlier home with first wife Cynthia Lennon, because of its resemblance to Calderstones Park in Liverpool, where he had spent time as a child. Lennon bought the house for £145,000 from Peter Cadbury. The estate included spectacular gardens, a Tudor cottage and servants’ cottages. He and Ono spent twice the purchase price on renovations, transforming the interior of the house to their liking, commissioning a set of hand-woven Oriental rugs, and installing a man-made lake without planning permission which they could see from their bedroom window.

(Source: Wikipedia)

You can catch the self-appointed royalty of the avant-garde taking in the royal grounds in the video below.

He and Yoko would leave the place to relocate in hardly proletarian Manhattan, eventually buying not one, not two, but five apartments in the exclusive Dakota building. Imagine no possessions, my ass. “Do I as I say, not as I do, because you’ll buy my fucking records anyway,” says the self-proclaimed anti-establishment leader. He sounded much more believable when he screamed out the words to “Money,” especially the lines, “Money don’t get everything, it’s true/What it don’t get, I can’t use.”

The song itself is a musical bore made worse by Phil Spector’s terrible penchant for angelic string arrangements, as he demonstrated in his wanton destruction of Let It Be. The strings he overdubbed to “Long and Winding Road” were so sappy that they offended even the sap-friendly ears of Paul McCartney. Instead of giving the piece the intended spiritual aura, the strings make “Imagine” sound like the pompous piece of pap that it is . . . how deliciously ironic!

Lennon the Hypocrite becomes Lennon the Almighty Judge of Human Value in “Crippled Inside” where he makes fun of the “straights” and attacks them for their hypocrisy seconds after revealing his. I would argue that his us-against-them attitude here not only calls into question his belief in his vision that “the world will live as one,” but clearly reveals his identity as a card-carrying elitist. Once again, the music is predictable and trite.

The only song on Imagine worth the 99 cents for the download is the relatively honest and melodically interesting, “Jealous Guy,” which is strong enough to overcome Phil Spector’s usual heavy-handedness. The lyrics aren’t a complete transformation from the possessive adolescent who wrote “Run for Your Life,” but at least it’s an admission that he has a problem. The whistling was a very good idea .  .  . whatever happened to whistling, anyway? People used to do it all the time in those movies from the 30’s and 40’s. Let’s bring back whistling!

Sorry for the detour, but the next song is the unpleasant “It’s So Hard,” and I was trying to avoid it. Lennon tries to regain rock cred through distorted voice and raunchy guitar and fails miserably. Oh, and it’s such a hassle to keep your woman satisfied, is it? Fuck you. King Curtis is by far the best thing on this track, as well as the next, the unlistenable “I Don’t Want to Be a Soldier,” where Lennon put exactly zero effort into the lyrics . . . a feature that characterizes nearly every song on Imagine.

“Gimme Some Truth” shows John trying to exploit the politically-aware crowd by engaging in childish name-calling and accusing politicians of being hypocrites. Takes one to know one! He repeats his pointless, unoriginal venom over and over again, making sure that the American market gets the point that he’s really anti-Nixon and therefore seriously aware of the American political scene, you dig? Harrison slips in with the same fucking guitar style he used on nearly every song on All Things Must Pass, reflecting the complete lack of effort involved in recording this mess.

“Oh My Love” is one of his boring Yoko-worship songs, with a tune a fifth-grader could have written if she’d allowed her fingers to slip and hit the black keys every now and then. The lyrics fawn over Yoko, provider of enlightenment, who has caused the scales to fall from John’s eyes to enable him to see the . . . trees. Shit, how could he miss all those fucking trees on his 72-acre estate? He needed Yoko for that?

We now come to the meanest, most pathetic song I think I’ve ever heard, “How Do You Sleep?” Man, I thought the Gallagher brothers had the inside track on public displays of assholity, but they’re pikers compared to this. Overreacting to a couplet in McCartney’s “Too Many People” (“Too many people going underground/Too many reaching for a piece of cake”), Lennon let his ex-mate have it with both barrels. In both words (“You live with straights who tell you, you was king”) and pictures (the postcard insert showing Lennon holding a pig by the ears to mock the cover of Ram), John slips in another plug for his role as anti-establishment guru while classifying McCartney as a pro-establishment pig. In former times, that would have qualified as an insult worthy of a duel; to call someone a pig was the ultimate hippie put-down. In the next line, he accuses Paul of being pussy-whipped (“Jump when your mama tell you anything”), as if Yoko’s lapdog had the right to call anyone pussy-whipped. Lennon wraps up his fit of vitriol by insulting Paul’s muzak and his cherubic face for good measure.

What was the fucking point of this song? I asked my dad and he said he couldn’t figure it out either, and lost a great deal of respect for John Lennon as a result. My mother summed it up in two words: “No class.” Having lived through the drama of the Gallagher brothers, one thing I noticed is whenever they heaped insults at each other or left the other holding the bag in the middle of a concert, the music press would make a big deal about it; they were always in the news for their antics. My theory is that this was a cheap and tawdry publicity stunt, likely encouraged by Yoko (who apparently helped with the lyrics). Harrison added slide guitar, so I consider him an accomplice and a jerk as well.

Meanwhile, John goes on as if nothing has happened, and gives us another ode to self-absorption and self-pity, the song “How.” The lines “And the world is so tough/Sometimes I feel I’ve had enough” send me through the fucking roof. Poor baby with all his first-world problems piling up all around him in his big spacious estate!

To end the album with the lyrically and musically lazy “Oh, Yoko” is the ultimate coup de grâce. It’s quite obvious that what mattered to John Lennon was the insular world he and Yoko created; why he felt the need to share a reality that no one else in the world could possibly identify with only reinforces the overriding sense of narcissism that dominates Imagine. Echoes of “I just believe in me, Yoko and me, and that’s reality” fill the empty spaces in this empty album.

All I want to say when this turkey finally ends is, “Well, fuck you, John. And fuck you, too, Yoko.” I won’t say it though, because my mother would look at me sternly and say, “No class.”

And she would be right. Instead, I’ll take the high road and say that Imagine is not my cuppa tea . . . and that’s reality.

25 responses

  1. The genius of ARC finally became clear while reading this review, and after reading her “McCartney” and “All Things Must Pass” reviews this week. Being as into the great 60s-70s RnR as those of us who heard it in real time, but unburdened by the expectation of support that affected how releases by major artists back then were received–the ‘us against them’ (kids/students/liberals vs. Nixon/the man) orientation almost took internal dissent in this context off the table)–the ARC is able to drill down to a layer below the plane at which older rock fans formed, and then maintained, their opinions.

    After The Beatles broke up, most fans anxiously awaited every solo Beatle release and, probably from a combination of habit and need, had all but fallen in love with it before even hearing it. At least during the first few years of the 70s.

    Some criticism still was possible. Almost no one, for example, loved a solo release as much as they’d loved a Beatles album. Most believed that the absence of John from Paul’s records, and vice versa, left the songs sounding half formed, which in turn imparted a sense that one was being objective.

    Now, in retrospect, I can see that pure objectivity, when it comes to Lennon, was and is still sorely lacking. (This is the short review of Imagine present right now at the AllMusic.com site: “After the harrowing Plastic Ono Band, John Lennon returned to calmer, more conventional territory with Imagine. While the album had a softer surface, it was only marginally less confessional than its predecessor. Underneath the sweet strings of “Jealous Guy” lies a broken and scared man, the jaunty “Crippled Inside” is a mocking assault at an acquaintance, and “Imagine” is a paean for peace in a world with no gods, possessions, or classes, where everyone is equal. And Lennon doesn’t shy away from the hard rockers — “How Do You Sleep” is a scathing attack on Paul McCartney, “I Don’t Want to Be a Soldier” is a hypnotic antiwar song, and “Give Me Some Truth” is bitter hard rock. If Imagine doesn’t have the thematic sweep of Plastic Ono Band, it is nevertheless a remarkable collection of songs that Lennon would never be able to better again.”)

    While I don’t completely agree with the ARC’s harsh take on some of the songs on Imagine–apart from the subject matter, I think that Oh Yoko and Crippled Inside and How Do You Sleep and Gimme Some Truth are pretty terrific pieces of music–I recognize that my ongoing perception of this album had stemmed from my initial take on it back in ’71, or whenever it was, and that I hadn’t much tampered with since.

    The ARC’s review opened my eyes. “Brazen hypocrisy” she says, and explains why she says it, and every reason she cites is true. That multi-millionaire landowner John Lennon could write and sing Imagine with a straight face, and that millions ate/eat it up, then and now, IS appalling.

    I’m as big a Beatles fan as anyone, but simply because he was in The Beatles, wrote close to a hundred–and sang and played on close to two hundred–astonishingly great songs, and later was murdered, is irrelevant to honestly assessing the worth and integrity, or the absence thereof, of each John Lennon’s solo albums.

    Someone said that genius involves the ability to see that which is right in front of you, or something like that. Sometimes she’s too extreme, IMO, but the central gift ARC brings to her reviews is a clear- eyed focus. With her, everyone starts at zero. No one gets a leg up because of what they did in the past, unlike many reviewers, including those with great influence, or at least a wide audience. (Bob Dylan could fart for 40 minutes and Jann Wenner would give it 5 stars and put him on the cover of Rolling Stone).

    Robert Morrow apparently is pitching in to edit a book of ARC’s reviews, which is terrific. (I’d also like to see a separate volume assembling all her personal stories, which in many ways I find far more interesting, but that’s a topic for another day), and IMO, a good title for it would be, “SORRY, I DON’T DRINK KOOL-AID.”

    Jann Wenner drank the Kool Aid, the guy who did the AllMusic.com review drank the Kool Aid, but prior accomplishments mean nothing to the ARC. Which is the way it should be.

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    1. Thank you! I do think you’re right about being too harsh in spots; if you take Yoko out of “Oh, Yoko” it’s a nice breezy, bouncy song. Sometimes my hot buttons trigger my hell hath no fury feature. I also appreciate the “you were there” perspective because even with deep immersion in cultural history, I’m going to miss some back story. P.S. Thanks to the excruciating experience of listening to Donovan I’m warming up to Mr. Dylan but I don’t want to hear the farting record.

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      1. ARC san, you’re in the same position as me when it comes to 1900-1930 music, a period I love to listen to and research about but occurred long before I was born… Of course, much of it was brought down to me by my parents (although my dad passed away when I was a child)… Now my mum is the proud other of a songwriter, journalist and music researcher.. And I’m glad you’re justly proud of Alt Rock Dad & Alt Rock Mum and vice versa! (Please give’em my regards and congratulations for their daughter.)

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  2. After reading your “Imagine” review I had to cleansemy tortured rock and roll soul by listening to D-A-D’s “Monster Philosophy” album and then followed it with Big Head Todd & The Monsters “Rocksteady”. I feel better now. Perhaps some lunch as Todd sings: floats like a butterfly-stings like a bee.
    I had a copy of Imagine on cassette years ago. I liked the song “How do you Sleep”. Oddly enough I’m sure John Hiatt used the main guitar riff from “How do you Sleep” on one his songs from the 90’s but I can’t find it. (Also on cassette).
    If I may paraphrase a Neil Young-ism “The past is good because it’s gone”.

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    1. Lennon himself did too – on “Steel And Glass”, incidentally a much better song.

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      1. He did, but I still prefer “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”

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  3. Bonjour !
    I’ve been ckecking your nice reviews for a while – especially the Kinks ones as they are my favorite band – and decided it’s time to participate too.

    As for this album, I used to like it when I started to dive into music a few years ago, but not anymore, and for different reasons than yours.
    My understanding of spoken english being limited (we’re almost neighbors, I live in Montpellier), I think it makes me love a lot more stuff than I would if I caught every word, with all the not so good/dumb lyrics even coming from decades I consider the best musically (50s/60s).

    That being said, I don’t really care for lyrics anyways, a great melody and the way it’s delivered is way more important.
    I also like to take songs for what they mean to me, 3 min of excitement, and don’t let the context spoil them for me, and I think we’d be better off if every rich man could write a song as strong as Imagine.

    I don’t like this album for the same reasons I dislike almost everything that came out after 1969, when things got serious/noisy and most of all melodically poor.
    Most of the songs on this album have a strong tune (not ‘I don’t want to be a soldier’ though, this one is really bad) but things got so bleak/freshless from 1970 I just can’t listen to it.

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    1. Bienvenue! Mes parents (et la famille de ma mère) habitent à Nice, donc ils sont vos vrais voisins. (Back to English for my audience . . .) You make a very good point about melody. People in my generation (I’m thirty-two) who have grown up in a world without melody are often surprised when they hear 60’s music because they have rarely experienced strong melodies. I am lucky my parents are music lovers who grew up during that time and taught me what good music really sounded like. The “three minutes of excitement” is a good measure—because even if the lyrics are stupid, if the energy is there, it still sounds great.

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      1. Oh right you moved from SF to Paris you said.
        Well I’m 28 but I basically didn’t listen to any music until I was 22 and started with the Beatles/Stones who led to the Kinks, Small faces, Zombies… so I have pretty high standards as far as songwriting goes and have almost zero interest in anything that came after this era.
        There’s probably good stuff but the 60s are such a goldmine it’s way enough for me.

        On another note, what do you think of Dusty Springfield ?
        You talk about your “erotic sensibility” sometimes and she’s not too far from the term I think, maybe a review of “Dusty in Memphis” ?

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        1. I’ve had Dusty’s Memphis album on my list for a long time! I have about six or seven reviews lined up, so maybe you’ll see it in late November or early December.

          I rarely listen to any of the music from my teenage years now. There are a few things by Oasis and Belle & Sebastian I like but when I listen to most of the music from my youth, I’m embarrassed. That’s why there are so few reviews from the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s. There are some new artists on the scene who look very promising like The Connection, Sugar Stems and the others on my Amazing Emerging Artists list, but we’ll have to see where they go from here to know how good they really are.

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    2. Matheus Bezerra de Lima | Reply

      I only agree partially with the second paragraph, but you read my mind in the first paragraph!

      “My understanding of spoken english being limited (we’re almost neighbors, I live in Montpellier), I think it makes me love a lot more stuff than I would if I caught every word, with all the not so good/dumb lyrics even coming from decades I consider the best musically (50s/60s).

      That being said, I don’t really care for lyrics anyways, a great melody and the way it’s delivered is way more important.”

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  4. I would add that john lennon was hardly the ghost of humanity
    in the music machine.
    If anything, he sounded , with a little help from his friends , like a drunk
    screaming inside an empty wheat silo.
    One too many iconic poses into the mirror, and very little left in the creative tank
    by the time he , yoko and phil spector conspired to produce the imagine album.
    I think ARC has it right , “lyrically and musically lazy”

    When you have that little gas in the rank, lennon should have taken a cue from
    Those other new yorkers, jolting joe dimaggio, and garbo.
    Say little, make as few appearances as possible, and keep the myth machine going .

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    1. Great imagery! The empty silo will be with me forever!

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  5. I agree with most of your review, but I think you’ve brought up a few points I’d like to ponder – like you always do, for that matter.

    I first heard the Imagine album in late 1971, as it was issued in Brazil shortly after coming out in the USA and England. I was 14 but already a Beatles fan and frustrated by them having disbanded; I have good affectionate memories of this album, and I still like many of its tracks, but I agree in that “Jealous Guy” is by far the best song & the best track. Others, like “Gimme Some Truth”, “It’s So Hard” and “How Do You Sleep”, are good songs let down by bad lyrics (and from the Beatles’ best lyricist and a certified Dylan heir, indeed! Do me a favour, John Winston!).

    “I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier” is just filler indeed, and a pretentious one at that; I’d much rather hear the homonymous song from the 1910s musical Oh! What A Lovely War, revived successfully in the 1960s on stage and screen; I have the original recording and couldn’t find it on the internet, but I’ll digitise it for you and, in the meantime, here’s a snippet from the 1960s reworking:

    And talk about musical recycling… Lennon had taken the “Three Blind Mice” tune for his “My Mummy’s Dead” on his first album proper (those previous efforts with Yoko are mostly for hardcore fans only); like a baseball player unashamed to hit twice with the same bat (as rock critic James Spina used to say), John took the tune again for his “Oh Yoko”, which is pleasant enough but not the best of the songs he did for his eternal koibito – oddly enough, John Mendelsohn said this song inspired the Kinks’ “Susannah’s Still Alive”, when in reality it was the other way around, for the Kinks song was a minor hit in 1968. I also hear shades of Lou Reed’s “Femme Fatale” in “Imagine”, but then Reed wrote “Here She Comes Again” based on the Stones’ arrangement of Marvin Gaye’s “Hitch Hike”… As we say down in old Brazil, a thief who robs a thief gets forgiven for 100 years…

    Remember my comment about John having turned into a boutique leftist? So there… “Imagine” and “Gimme Some Truth” are prime examples, and he would do worse on Sometime In New York City… As a journalist summed it up at the time, Lennon seemed to be seeing himself as a truth-teller and felt it could justify any self-indulgence… I like “Give Peace A Chance” and “Power To The People”, though, even if these may be guilty pleasures of mine…

    Lennon declared at the time that “‘Imagine’ was ‘Working Class Hero’ with sugar on it” to please less politically-minded people (Macca included)… And dump sugar on it he did! Like Paul before him, John did a stark and homely first album followed by a lavished orchestrated one… Lists Roll On (oops, Rolling Stone) even said that Imagine was “prettier and weaker” than JL/POB, and weaker it is indeed; and, to my mind, any track off Ram displays more melody and care than the whole Imagine album.

    One last-but-one thought: Lenon may have been brought up as an insecure and chauvinist man – not his fault, but society’s, what with the messy upbringing he underwent – , but in his solo years (in effect, the last decade of his life) he did his best to remedy that. And he did more than most men – no, make it most people in this world where the Biblical God is a man and, as it has been said, “if men got pregnant abortion would be sacred”, and many people speak of “mankind” when they mean/should say “humankind”. Lennon did sing “a brotherhood of men” in “Imagine”, but a few years later, when singing the song live (in his last-ever solo show), he amended the line to “a brotherhood/sisterhood of men” – very clumsy indeed, but a first step in the right direction, methinks, not unlike a toddler’s first walk… Check it out here:

    To end for now, I may be all alone in thinking this, but my favourite Lennon album is Mind Games: mostly good melodies, self-pity comes in no large doses, there is much good humour and irony, and even his “boutique leftist” side is tolerable. So I hereby present Mind Games as a humble suggestion of mine to a review of yours.

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    1. Ah! Let’s bring back whistling indeed! Here’s one I always loved from my childhood to now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vE__seVCqxg

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      1. You have opened my eyes to an entirely new continent of music. I must share this link for my readers—I’ll be they’re all closet whistlers! http://www.whistlingrecords.net/

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    2. Mendelsohn really said that? Sometimes he is one lazy critic.

      I agree that Lennon became less of a sexist as time went on; the non-arrogant side of him was a curious sort who was willing to learn and still seemed amazed by experience. In this album, he’s still a very defensive us-against-the-world-I-want-to save-person.

      Mind Games is a maybe-later. Right now I feel a very strong need to review albums that I know I like!

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      1. Yes, Mendelsohn said that on his liner notes to The Kink Kronikles (“a bloozy/boozy harmonica, reminiscent of John Lennon’s ‘Oh Yoko'”). Despite a few factual errors (and very few indeed, konsidering the kopious size), I find the text a very good read, very kompelling and konductive to listening to the Kinks. Let’s remember it was written in 1972, long before the internet bekame kommon usage (the fax was in its testing stage and telex was the only door to the future), and the Kinks had drifted into a klosed kult, recent hits like “Lola” and “Supersonic Rocket Ship” (which would prove to be their last ones for a long time) notwithstanding.

        Needless to say, when I saw your link to the Kink Kronikles review, I went to it like a supersonic rocket-propelled moth to the flame, only to find the notice “Coming Soon”… Well, “koming soon”, more like… Maintenant, j’attends, ma kopine!

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        1. Ah! A bit of trivia about “Oh Yoko”. On the Imagine inner sleeve John says the song was “written 1968” and sung on the record by “the j & p duo”. So me and my fellow Beatle fans started to conjecture: could this be a Beatle outtake sung by John & Paul? Only when the Imagine video come out we got to know that the “p” stood for co-producer Phil Spector…

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  6. ARC san, you’re in the same position as me when it comes to 1900-1930 music, a period I love to listen to and research about but occurred long before I was born… Of course, much of it was brought down to me by my parents (although my dad passed away when I was a child)… Now my mum is the proud mother of a songwriter, journalist and music researcher.. And I’m glad you’re justly proud of Alt Rock Dad & Alt Rock Mum and vice versa! (Please give’em my regards and congratulations for their daughter.)

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  7. Matheus Bezerra de Lima | Reply

    About the song Imagine being unpractical, Lennon was conscious of critics like you and the verse “you may say i’m a dreamer” is an answer to critics that Lennon already know that would shoot against his song. About religion, I confess that I never liked the way that the song talks about religion, but Lennon once said that he was against the religion when causes discrimination and prejudice and just in this context. Another thing: I feel that you are too hard on Beatles’s solo careers. With all respect, it may not be your intentions, but sometimes I feel your reviews too agressive and you seem sometimes to fall in empty criticisms as if you were a hater. I have nothing against you, just a positive criticism, ok?
    Seriously, I believe that future generations will be much more impartial to judge the Beatles solo works. In fact, their solo works alreay was reavaluated and I believe that Paul McCartney was the Beatle that saw his solo work grow more in reputation. I see people already talking too much stereotypes, and you are no exception, when criticizing their solo careers. I can’t help but feel that people listen to their albums already searching the problems that they put in them and overrate the size of many problems. This is my impression. I want to have made a good contribution here. Keep well and think a bit about my sincere advices.

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    1. Thank you for your input, but I respectfully disagree. I think The Beatles fell into irreversible decline after “Hey Jude” and the decline continued throughout their solo careers. I hadn’t heard that McCartney’s solo-career-reputation was growing, but I think that may have more to do with Baby Boomer sentimentality combined with that generation’s automatic rejection of the music of succeeding generations. Since I don’t listen to the “experts,” I strenuously object to the suggestion that I am “stereotyping” and “following the crowd.” I think The Beatles were stronger together than apart, and that their solo careers failed to produce anything approaching the quality of what they achieved together. Their solo work was generally superficial and fails to hold my interest.

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      1. Matheus Bezerra de Lima | Reply

        I reafirm my opinion, but I respect you, tough I sincerely disagree. I give the arguments above. But it is obvious that together they were stronger. This is true with pratically every band, not just The Beatles and it is not a demerit in itself. And I believe that you are too hard in baby-boomers. The Beatles are the oldest band really famous in the world. They are far more famous than every other band more recent than The Beatles. Why these other bands, being more recent, did not take Beatles place, being teorically freshier in memory? Beatles already have a big long-time since their end to be definitively eternal icons: 47 years! The Beatles are as Pelé, Muhammad Ali or Michael Jordan, icons that always are challenged by newer greats, but after all stay much more than the newer greats. I believe that your analysis of Beatles solo careers suffer from what I saw a Beatles fan say: “there are domes good quantity of great Beatles solo albums, as Ram, Band On The Run, All Things Must Pass, Plastic Ono Band and others, but I can’t help but always feel that these solo albums would be better if with the rest of The Beatles”. Another thing: what many considered at first the big problem in Ram, the light quality of the songs, is now what gives the album its charm and acclaim, now being loved by many and acclaimed as a great album. The album was revalued by many. One of the people that contributed to this change of the album’s reputation was Brian Wilson, that generally did not give a shit about critics and praised Ram when the album’s reputation was still not very good. This is common and I want to talk about something very common: change of reputations. Many albums by many artists were criticized at the original time, but now are hailed as masterpieces. This happens with art in general. Many great artists did not receive at the time the acclaim that deserve. Mozart was much praised, but died forgotten and without money. His ccompositions were criticized by some as being too complexes for be really apreciated. Why this happen so much? I am not talking anymore The Beatles, your reviews and opinions, I just believe that it is interesting debate this in a wide way. You could even write an article about it. Keep well. About McCartney’s solo reputation growing, it is true, but I believe that only his death could make a really complete change about the reputation of his solo work.

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  8. Matheus Bezerra de Lima | Reply

    One thing more: The Long And Winding Road is a great with touching and sincere reflexions about life. The melody is great also. The song only suffered of the strings of Phil Spector, and Paul McCartney saw that the strings ruined the song and stripped its potential. A great arrangement and vocal performance can elevate a so-so song and the opposite is true.

    I will say another thing changing subject: There is a golden rule about lyrics: if you can’t match a great melody with great lyrics, at least make decent lyrics that don’t stay in the melody’s way. Example of song like this is My One And Only Love.

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Cue Castanets!

Musings on Phil Spector's Wall of Sound and similar music...

DENISE MARSA MUSIC

Singer, Songwriter & Story Teller

hotfox63

IN MEMORY EVERYTHING SEEMS TO HAPPEN TO MUSIC -Tennessee Williams

stl is read

Midwestern workers unite!

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