Thursday, October 08, 2009

Imagine a John Lennon Anniversary

If one thinks of John Lennon's solo career and doesn't think of the stuff from the album he released shortly before he was murdered, I guess one thinks of "Imagine" — the song more than the album although both were released in the United Kingdom on this date in 1971 — the day before Lennon's 31st birthday.

The song became Lennon's musical signature, I suppose.

I have always been fond of the album, but let's face it, the title track has become commercialized to an extent that I wonder if Lennon would approve. Then again, perhaps he already knew and understood it was a fight he had to lose sometimes in order to be successful. He said that the difference between his first album, "Plastic Ono Band," and "Imagine" was that "Imagine" was "chocolate–coated for public consumption."

Well, if that was true, then "Crippled Inside" might have been regarded as a chocolate–covered cherry except it would need a flavor that was more of a contrast to chocolate. But it was always one of my favorite songs on the album, perhaps because of the dynamic tension it possessed. The lyrics are kind of grim, in the spirit of "Plastic Ono Band," but the music is more upbeat, in keeping with the rest of the "Imagine" album.

And, for you Beatles fans, George Harrison plays the dobro.

Actually, I always liked all the songs on "Imagine" — and even Lennon acknowledged the title song was "an anti–religious, anti–nationalistic, anti–conventional, anti–capitalistic song" with a "sugar–coated" package.

But it's the Lennon songs that most people don't know that I like the best. And "Crippled Inside" is at the top of that list.