Wednesday, May 17, 2006

John Lennon With Cheap Trick


It is a known fact that John Lennon and the rest of the Beatles were focused on making hit records. Contrary to our romantic visions of artists toiling solely for the sake of their art, from the beginning the Beatles set their sites on commercial success. The fact that their records were both extraordinarily successful and sublime works of art is just one of the many examples of their brilliance. I remember reading one time that when John met Joni Mitchell he advised her to record some strings on her records if she wanted them to be hits. (Glad she didn't take his advice!) Lennon was of course a bundle of contradictions. On the one hand, he competed with McCartney for the A-Sides of singles. On the other hand he insisted on releasing “Revolution Number 9.”

That’s John.

During the recording “Double Fantasy,” John mentioned that he hoped that the record would appeal to women as well as men. He wanted to soften the edges. Excuse me for saying so, but one thing he could have done was keep Yoko away from the microphone. The fact that half of “Double Fantasy” was marred by her horrendous recordings is just another one of those contradictions that we Lennon fans have to accept. For a long time I tried to reconcile my feelings toward Yoko. After all, you don’t want to have opinions that would effectively make you an enemy of one of your heroes had he gotten wind of them.

What can I say? Yoko sucked.

John recorded an alternate version of “I’m Losing You” with Cheap Trick (minus singer Robin Zander) which in my humble opinion is vastly superior to the official version released on “Double Fantasy,” and the best side that Cheap Trick ever played on. I suspect that he thought it was too “hard” for the record, so he re-recorded it with the house band that was featured on most of the other tracks. I love hearing demos and alternate takes from my favorite artists, but after hearing them I usually end up agreeing with the final decision. Not this time.

From “Wonsaponatime” (and “Anthology”) here is a killer version of “I’m Losing You.”

Stay tuned. In the next few days I’m going to feature a beautiful alternate take by George Harrison.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Devil's Rancher said...

The Playlist Format is not Recognized. :'(

12:12 PM  
Blogger Kevin Wolf said...

I'm not as familiar with Lennon's solo work as I probably should be. Where Yoko manages to show up and annoy fans like you, I may not have even heard the song.

I give her this: I like the song "Walking On Thin Ice." I believe it was one of the last records John worked on - you can certainly correct me on this, Al.

I think it was on the first album she released after Lennon's murder and I found I actually liked it when I heard it, though I much prefer the cover Elvis Costello did.

Also check me on this: Did the Yoko album I'm referring to have a photo of John's bloody glassas? Extremely bad taste, if so.

12:29 PM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

Kev - Agree with you on all counts regarding "Thin Ice."

DR - will email you the track.

Al

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Decatur Dem said...

Yoko is a concept by which we measure our pain.

For the benefit of mrkyaj.

1:49 PM  
Blogger roxtar said...

Wow. Cheap Trick has always been one of my guilty pleasures, but now that I know they have John Lennon cred, I'm guilty no more.

Kinda sounds like Crack the Sky.....

4:56 PM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

I think John had a soft-spot for Cheap Trick. I don't like everything they've done, (you'd be hard pressed to find a song that I dislike more than "I Want You To Want Me" from the live album) but they were a rock-solid unit that could really tear it up, with this record being a fine example.

7:25 PM  
Blogger roxtar said...

Surrender and Dream Police knock me out. I'm a sucker for that Midwestern power-pop.

8:10 PM  
Blogger fgfdsg said...

I've got a soft spot for 'Surrender' too.

7:07 AM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

Me too. Great record.

7:14 AM  
Anonymous Devil's Rancher said...

One need not bear guilt. I've always thought they rocked. Saw 'em finally about 5 years ago when they could have been sleepwalking through the "down & going" circuit, and they put on an amazing show. Lots of energy and enthusiasm still.

11:48 AM  
Blogger roxtar said...

Jesus, we're just a couple of dudes short of a fan club!

4:28 PM  
Blogger Bobby Lightfoot said...

Woah, that's pretty fuckin' dope. Can you send me one too?

I opened for them two years ago- Bun E. had a bigass oxygen tank.

when he dragged from it it went fiwfiss

7:14 PM  

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