Got The Fever

Friday, October 13, 2006

John Lennon

This past week, on October 9th, John Winston Ono Lennon would have been 66. 66! That’s past retirement age, right?

His last album, which hit me right during those influential years, remains to this day the most probable reason why my musical taste continues to grow in maturity. As he refused to continue to churn out top 40, or reach for past glories, his songs were about growing old (Living On Borrowed Time), staying in love with his spouse (Woman) and exploring new musical boundaries (Walking On Thin Ice).

I have literally, hundreds of hours of bootleg demos, alternate takes and differently mixed tracks by the master, but in honor, I want to post others giving it up for John.

Evidence One: I Found Out – The Red Hot Chili Peppers
A song that stripped away the chunks of false ideas about who Lennon is to us, and what we are to him. Such a good twist on this that I had to include it though I’m not a huge fan of The Red Hot Chili Peppers. And yet again, a lesson on how to make an original your own – a lesson John would be proud of.

I seen through junkies
I've been through it all
I've seen religon from Jesus to Paul
Don't let them fool you with dope and cocaine
No one can harm you - feel your own pain!
I found out!

Evidence Two: Mother - Shelby Lynne
Coming off the first album I ever owned (! - truth) this hammers one burdensome wallop of emotion. I don’t know Shelby Lynn, but her version, when I saw it when the show premiered, actually brought a tear to my eye. As with it’s original predecessor, it is minimalist and stark and as raw a twitching nerve ending to begin with then adds guitar, modulation and strings. As riviting a performance as you will find anywhere.

Mother, you had me but I never had you
I wanted you but you didn't want me
So I got to tell you

Mama don't go
Daddy come home

Evidence Three: Cold Turkey – Cheap Trick
Feel the stink of withdrawal and the howl of agony that teeters on the edge of rage and then in a very controlled manner is pushed into the fury of hell.

Say nothing – turn it up, lean back and feel your mouth foam.

Rick Neilson was used in John’s original version of “I’m Losing You” but regrettably was not used in the final mix.

He got them back for that on this one.

Thirty-six hours
Rolling in pain
Praying to someone
Free me again

Oh Ill be a good boy
Please make me well
I promise you anything
Get me out of this hell

Cold turkey has got me on the run

Evidence Four: Come Together – Craig David
An acoustic and fresh takedown of the original, that’s engaging and funky. I hadn’t known of this kid before I heard this version. He adds a tongue-tripping shout out in the middle that’s invigorating and over the top. Clearly, a worthwhile listen and precisely why I included it here for educational purposes.

He bag production
He got walrus gumboot
He got ono sideboard
He one spinal cracker
He got feet down below his knee
Hold you in his armchair
You can feel his disease

Come together, right now, over me

Sixty six? As a maturing songwriter/performer, he pierced the unknown, charging from “Love Me Do” to “Grow Old With Me”.

And, what are we, as more mature music consumers left with today?

The Red Hot Chili Peppers: I Found Out
From: Come Together - A Night for John Lennon's Words and Music [2002]

Shelby Lynne: Mother
From: Come Together - A Night for John Lennon's Words and Music [2002]

Cheap Trick: Cold Turkey
From: Working Class Hero: A Tribute to John Lennon [1995]

Craig David: Come Together
From: Working Class Hero: A Tribute to John Lennon [1995]


  • I'm happy to see that at least someone out there remembered Lennon this week. Sad to say, most times that we remember the good ones, it's on the anniversary of their death! How twisted is that?

    I too agree with the Cheap Trick version of Cold Turkey - absolutely smoking! The Chilis are a great pick! And the other two - quality picks as opposed to going for something we all hear over and over anyway.

    Thanks for the great blog - keep it up!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:09 PM  

  • Nice post - keep it going strong!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:02 AM  

  • Love your blog! Thanks for not picking a version of Imagine - sick to death of that one.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:23 AM  

  • Thanks for the tracks here. Great picks.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:43 AM  

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