If the sky that we look upon...
[Originally posted August 22, 2011]
In the early 1970s, Paul McCartney was vilified for recording and releasing a series of wimpy songs (and insanely uneven albums).
During that same period, John Lennon struggled to find his own voice, careening from the stark primal scream of Plastic Ono Band to hopeful hippie anthems ("Happy Xmas"), unashamed rockers ("Instant Karma"), odd anthems ("Imagine"), and sappy mystic anthems ("#9 Dream"). Not to mention Sometime in New York City, about which the less said the better.
When the Beatles broke up, Lennon was freed from the need to compete with Paul McCartney for leadership of the biggest band in history. But he drifted, trying to find his voice (which, he famously tried to disguise in whatever way he could because he didn't like the sound of it).
So tonight, with wispy clouds passing overhead and a cool breeze blowing in off the water, I find myself thinking about a John Lennon song. It's not his best song, not his biggest hit, and not even a song he wrote.
But, somehow, while recording an album of oldies with Phil Spector, Lennon was able to shrug off the need to be the voice of his generation long enough to deliver his most relaxed and confident vocal performance since the Beatles broke up.
New Leap Day Bonus: This is the second song I'm learning to play on guitar, and I love the distinct sound of the strings being muted -- which counterbalances the difficulty I have playing a song with more than 3 chords.
If you're keeping track at home, the first song I learned is John Lennon's "Working Class Hero," which only has 2 chords.
Why? Because sometimes 2 chords is enough.
5 hours ago