"John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band" - vote please!!

Backslapping time. Well done us. We are fantastic.

"John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band" - vote for your favourite track, please!!

1. Mother
16
16%
2. Hold On
1
1%
3. I Found Out
5
5%
4. Working Class Hero
24
24%
5. Isolation
13
13%
6. Remember
6
6%
7. Love
9
9%
8. Well, Well, Well
5
5%
9. Look At Me
0
No votes
10. God
21
21%
11. My Mummy's Dead
1
1%
 
Total votes: 101

User avatar
Phenomenal Cat
death on four legs
Posts: 10324
Joined: 07 Sep 2004, 16:52
Location: Presently Shattering the Illusion of Integrity
Contact:

Postby Phenomenal Cat » 21 Sep 2004, 00:54

Mr. Jim wrote:
Phenomenal Cat wrote:What strikes me as odd is that it's in second person; Lennon is addressing "you" (who, me?). But then in the end, he says "If you want to be a hero just follow ME", switching to first person. Whom shall I follow, then? Lennon? An unnamed "working class" narrator?

Seeing as that it's primarily an album about J.L., I feel I'm safe in assuming that the "ME" is Lennon. I wish he had ditched this line.

For me, he is questioning his role as the leader so many people had made him to be. The song would have worked without his personalizing it, but I don't think it ruined it to make it autobiographical like the rest of the album.

To me, the clearest way of thinking of it is what TheModernist said:

TheModernist wrote:When he sings a "working class hero is something to be" he's being sarcastic. The lyric details the way the working class are neutered and stripped of power. Individual success stories such as Lennon's only serve to distract the masses further thus inadvertantly, in his success, he is upholding the power structure (hence the absolute disdain and bitterness with which he sings the lyric).



I think you both make excellent points (and there has been some fascinating reading on this post). So I'm only left with one question: Is the last line sincere or facetious? Is he saying "follow me" (C'mon everybody!), or "follow me" (sigh)? He knows people will follow him no matter what because he's a Beatle; is this what he really wants?
But somehow when you smile, I can brave bad weather.

User avatar
Quaco
F R double E
Posts: 47022
Joined: 16 Jul 2003, 19:41

Postby Quaco » 21 Sep 2004, 01:53

I think it's facetious, but without any of the lightheartedness that word suggests. He must have craved fame and fortune on the way up, but once he got it (1964 or 1965 by my reckoning), he really didn't want people to follow him. I'm sure he enjoyed the money; he did not enjoy being a famous freak and being followed everywhere, which was one of the reasons he liked New York -- he felt anonymous there.

As of 1970, I don't think there was even a trace of actually wanting people to follow him.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

User avatar
Phenomenal Cat
death on four legs
Posts: 10324
Joined: 07 Sep 2004, 16:52
Location: Presently Shattering the Illusion of Integrity
Contact:

Postby Phenomenal Cat » 21 Sep 2004, 02:15

Mr. Jim wrote:I think it's facetious, but without any of the lightheartedness that word suggests. He must have craved fame and fortune on the way up, but once he got it (1964 or 1965 by my reckoning), he really didn't want people to follow him. I'm sure he enjoyed the money; he did not enjoy being a famous freak and being followed everywhere, which was one of the reasons he liked New York -- he felt anonymous there.

As of 1970, I don't think there was even a trace of actually wanting people to follow him.


Bleak! Now I can see the "There's a Riot Goin' On"-"Plastic Ono Band" connection. Throw off the shackles of fame, my brothers!
But somehow when you smile, I can brave bad weather.

User avatar
Carl's Son
Grade A Shitpipe
Posts: 12727
Joined: 07 Sep 2003, 17:48
Location: Flitwick
Contact:

Postby Carl's Son » 21 Sep 2004, 02:18

Can someone please explain how Maybe I'm Amazed and God and Mother relate musically to Gospel? I don't know much of the genre and I don't see a link between that and what is popularly presented as "gospel music"
I can just about handle you driving like a pissed up crackhead and treating women like beanbags but I'm gonna say this once and once only Gene, stay out of Camberwick Green!

www.chrischopping.virb.com

http://thatidiotchrischopping.blogspot.com

Bill O'Reilly
Posts: 2
Joined: 21 Sep 2004, 02:29
Location: The nospin Zone
Contact:

Postby Bill O'Reilly » 21 Sep 2004, 03:19

OK You guys.
Let's face it Lennon was a nut job. A bleeding heart liberal, so desperate to be a citizen of our great country that he married a jap and hung around with commies.

If he were around today, he'd be hanging round with those lily livered Kerry supporters and that excuse for an american Michael Moore.


Well here in the no spin zone we say no more Michael, and ONO Lennon.

What have your anti war whinings ever done for the people of this planet(USA) ?

Here's a song for you and your buddies


IMAGINE !!

Imagine no more working guys like me and my buddies in the fire department and the nypd and the guys doing all the good work at capitol hill. The ones waging the war on terror. Not the ones listening to you and your pals anti war, anti american slogans.


If YOU want a working class hero then just follow ME.



I'm just a blue collar guy stating the facts and cutting through the BS.




And for the record Jealous Guy was the best rock and roll track Lennon ever made.

And that's the fair and balanced truth
Ok, cut him off

User avatar
Muskrat
World's Foremost Authority
Posts: 20936
Joined: 17 Jul 2003, 01:05
Location: Next to the park; across the street from the college; and the freeway at my back
Contact:

Postby Muskrat » 21 Sep 2004, 03:23

snarfyguy wrote: I'm sure Cheap Trick wouldn't have played on the Double Fantasy sessions if he hadn't indicated he liked them. .


As a matter of fact, I have it on good authority that, upon first hearing the playback, Lennon jumped from his chair and exclaimed "Who is that playing on the sesssions? Cheap Fookin' Trick? You know I don't like 'em!".

Turns out he thought he'd hired Elephant's Memory again. But Bun E. Carlos slipped a mickey to Stan Bronstein, and...well, you know the rest.
Things that a fella can't forget...

pig bodine wrote: Nu country is basically southern rock crossed with Journey.

User avatar
Carl's Son
Grade A Shitpipe
Posts: 12727
Joined: 07 Sep 2003, 17:48
Location: Flitwick
Contact:

Postby Carl's Son » 21 Sep 2004, 03:25

:shock:

Alias, fool or bum?
I can just about handle you driving like a pissed up crackhead and treating women like beanbags but I'm gonna say this once and once only Gene, stay out of Camberwick Green!

www.chrischopping.virb.com

http://thatidiotchrischopping.blogspot.com

Bill O'Reilly
Posts: 2
Joined: 21 Sep 2004, 02:29
Location: The nospin Zone
Contact:

Postby Bill O'Reilly » 21 Sep 2004, 03:34

Lee Hazelwood's a no good workshy under acheiving commie too



!!!!!!!!
Ok, cut him off

User avatar
natch
Posts: 1252
Joined: 20 Sep 2004, 14:29
Location: Modesto

Postby natch » 21 Sep 2004, 14:58

.
Last edited by natch on 12 Jun 2014, 05:49, edited 1 time in total.
Hell is for children

Guest

Postby Guest » 21 Sep 2004, 15:01

I see you guys are still scraping the bottom of the barrel by discussing this record.


:D

User avatar
take5_d_shorterer
Posts: 5742
Joined: 22 Sep 2003, 23:09
Location: photo. by Andor Kertesz, Hung.

Postby take5_d_shorterer » 21 Sep 2004, 15:07

Chris Chopping wrote:Can someone please explain how Maybe I'm Amazed and God and Mother relate musically to Gospel? I don't know much of the genre and I don't see a link between that and what is popularly presented as "gospel music"


Chris,

There may be two approaches one might use.

One way (the quicker) is to see if you can imagine a singer with obvious gospel influences (e.g., Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Marion Williams) singing ``Maybe I'm Amazed'' in a way that makes sense in their respective styles.

The other way is to look at the way the song sounds in the original, that is, the chords, the vocal delivery, and how prominent the piano is in the instrumentation.

A lot of what I am saying, I admit, is on the level of ``either you sense it, or you don't.''

I can go on about how the chords to ``Maybe I'm Amazed'' are sort of similar to the progressions in ``You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman'' (except that the first goes up while the second goes down).

This is the type of argument that is much easier to make with an actual piano around to demonstrate things. As it is, there isn't, so I'm going to leave out most of the details.


``Mother'' and ``God'' are much more difficult to connect to gospel music, but I think they owe a lot to that form. The thing, though, is that Lennon is so idiosyncratic that it comes out sounding like something else. Also, Lennon's vocals are so antithetical to gospel singing that it may be hard to see the connection.



P.S. Just an unrelated note how much of a shock it must have been for people who didn't know anything about this record in 1970 and who bought it on the basis of the name and by looking at the album cover.

Even though primal scream/earnestness is the main card that Lennon plays here, there is something funny and devious (surely he must have anticipated this reaction) in Lennon picking an album cover that is so in line with Tapestry/Sweet Baby James pastoral-singer-songwriter fodder that was coming out at exactly the same time.

To someone who hadn't heard the album yet, the immediate impression (which Lennon must have surely guessed) would have been to suggest that this was Lennon's ``mellow'' album. There's something marvellously perverse about that.

User avatar
Diamond Dog
"Self Quoter" Extraordinaire.
Posts: 67329
Joined: 16 Jul 2003, 21:04
Location: High On Poachers Hill

Postby Diamond Dog » 21 Sep 2004, 16:17

nathan wrote:I see you guys are still scraping the bottom of the barrel by discussing this record.


:D


Second post (courtesy of Smamfy) back on page one.

It's one big barrel.........
“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”
"Don't be seduced into thinking that which did not make a profit is without value"
"'Seize the moments as they fly, know to live and learn to die'."

User avatar
abracadabra
Posts: 1909
Joined: 13 Jan 2004, 18:37
Location: Dark Globe

Postby abracadabra » 21 Sep 2004, 20:09

Mr. Jim wrote:
Phenomenal Cat wrote:Lennon's case is, I think, unique in rock. Many rockers have discussed their own lives; fewer have discussed their own fame; in Lennon's case only is his discussing endlessly his position actually more relevant than pure narcissism. During the Sixties, he actually was the coolest motherfucker in the world, and his fame and reputation was such that for him to dismantle his image on this album really was a sociological statement. As honest as Townshend was at discussing himself, as eloquent as Davies was at reflecting changing and decaying times, only Lennon was able to combine them. What happened to him was inseparable from what happened to the generation. The Beatles were the focus of the Sixties pop and counterculture, and Lennon was the only member who was truly willing to put himself on the line and dissect it. We can look at him psychologically and discuss his narcissism (increased tenfold by trading in Paul for Yoko), the narrowness of his views, and his messiah complex, but at the time, the bravery it took to consistently try to bring people to reality was admirable.


This really interests me because it seems at least in the 60's/early 70's Lennon was actually an increadibly intimidating figure in rock and the general culture, reading any old quote from say the Stones, or seeing footage of Lennon in that period you get a sense of how much his personality created some kind of mythic status, from the cheeky chappy to psychedelic prophet to dadaist peacenik to revolutionary rabble rouser... he is still the most interesting figure to come out of pop culture, to me anyway.
I suppose the point about POB is that it repersents something daring to some people and something self indulgent to others, as I said before McCartney never left the realm of entertainer while Lennon was willing to make all his mistakes in the public domain, taken everybody along his own mission for 'truth', he usually had the honesty to admit his mistakes like the political period or the poor quality of 'Mind Games'
(by the way you know the Cheap Trick version of 'Losing You' was released on 'Anthology' and a video released at the time with them playing to animations of Lennon's drawings, can somebody explain the whole Cheap Trick 'happening' at the time of Double Fantasy... please?)
A Carrot Is As Close As A Rabbit Gets To A Diamond

User avatar
Carl's Son
Grade A Shitpipe
Posts: 12727
Joined: 07 Sep 2003, 17:48
Location: Flitwick
Contact:

Postby Carl's Son » 21 Sep 2004, 20:11

I can see that Maybe I'm Amazed is a very soulful record. I don't know much about gospel so I'll happily take your word for it that you are right!
I can just about handle you driving like a pissed up crackhead and treating women like beanbags but I'm gonna say this once and once only Gene, stay out of Camberwick Green!

www.chrischopping.virb.com

http://thatidiotchrischopping.blogspot.com

Piggly Wiggly

Postby Piggly Wiggly » 21 Sep 2004, 20:23

abracadabra wrote:(by the way you know the Cheap Trick version of 'Losing You' was released on 'Anthology' and a video released at the time with them playing to animations of Lennon's drawings, can somebody explain the whole Cheap Trick 'happening' at the time of Double Fantasy... please?)


Producer Jack Douglas brought the Trick in to play on "I'm Losing You" and "I'm Moving On" - as he felt that they were ideal for these tracks.

According to Rick Nielsen, Lennon was initially thrilled with the results. Accounts vary as to why the tracks were scrapped - was it a matter of poor continuity, or was it a more political snafu (Yoko feeling that Jack Douglas was opportunistically farming out work to his buddies)?

User avatar
Quaco
F R double E
Posts: 47022
Joined: 16 Jul 2003, 19:41

Postby Quaco » 21 Sep 2004, 20:23

The gospel sound of "God" is of course enhanced by the fact that it was Billy Preston on piano. Lennon's piano (as on "Mother") playing reminds me less of gospel per se than of '50s. Certainly the chords harken back to those '50s kinds of chord progressions. His guitar playing is more sophisticated though, with traces of Hendrix in "Hold On John".

What makes "Mother" sound gospelly to these ears is the space everybody leaves. I don't recall if there is any reverb on the instruments, but it feels almost like it's being played in a hall or church.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

User avatar
Phenomenal Cat
death on four legs
Posts: 10324
Joined: 07 Sep 2004, 16:52
Location: Presently Shattering the Illusion of Integrity
Contact:

Postby Phenomenal Cat » 21 Sep 2004, 21:34

the loveless wrote:
abracadabra wrote:(by the way you know the Cheap Trick version of 'Losing You' was released on 'Anthology' and a video released at the time with them playing to animations of Lennon's drawings, can somebody explain the whole Cheap Trick 'happening' at the time of Double Fantasy... please?)


Producer Jack Douglas brought the Trick in to play on "I'm Losing You" and "I'm Moving On" - as he felt that they were ideal for these tracks.

According to Rick Nielsen, Lennon was initially thrilled with the results. Accounts vary as to why the tracks were scrapped - was it a matter of poor continuity, or was it a more political snafu (Yoko feeling that Jack Douglas was opportunistically farming out work to his buddies)?


"Double Fantasy" has not aged well, at least according to these ears. It sounds very "of its time", which I would assume was the intended result. The Cheap Trick version of "I'm Losing You" rocks. Maybe it was deemed uncommercial, because the "Double Fantasy" version is much more restrained, and frankly refuses to rock.

Then again, maybe this was all wishful thinking on Rick Nielsen's part.

Ooops. Now we are scraping the barrel.......
But somehow when you smile, I can brave bad weather.

User avatar
take5_d_shorterer
Posts: 5742
Joined: 22 Sep 2003, 23:09
Location: photo. by Andor Kertesz, Hung.

Postby take5_d_shorterer » 21 Sep 2004, 22:05

Mr. Jim wrote:The gospel sound of "God" is of course enhanced by the fact that it was Billy Preston on piano. Lennon's piano (as on "Mother") playing reminds me less of gospel per se than of '50s. Certainly the chords harken back to those '50s kinds of chord progressions. His guitar playing is more sophisticated though, with traces of Hendrix in "Hold On John".


Yes. This offers supporting evidence (exhibit A, anyone) that Lennon may well have been thinking of Hendrix's rhythm guitar style in playing ``Don't Let Me Down,'' which I consider to be one of the two great Hendrix-inspired tunes.

What makes "Mother" sound gospelly to these ears is the space everybody leaves. I don't recall if there is any reverb on the instruments, but it feels almost like it's being played in a hall or church.


This is as good a time to note specifically that I think there is a tape echo or slapback on Lennon's voice here. This is how Lennon gets the effect when he says, ``Mama, don't gooooooo,'' and slides up in pitch. There is a second voice just following him (that's the echo). This is similar to Hendrix's solo (while we're on the subject of Hendrix) in ``All Along the Watchtower'' when he plays slide. It's not reverb; it's that old Sun Sessions effect that Sam Phillips used.

Now in general, I also wanted to make a rebuttal to a claim* that the loveless made quite a few pages back, namely that there isn't that much studio adornment on the sounds and the vocals.

Christgau noticed** (and if my memory serves me right) I agree with him (see Living Without the Beatles, 1970) that except for a very few places such as ``I just believe in me...'' almost all the vocals on Plastic Ono Band are processed somehow with significant amounts of EQ, reverb, echo, etc.

The lyrics say, ``we're being direct, for once.'' The instrumentation says, ``no more Sgt. Pepper bullshit here, just straightforward playing.'' The engineering, though, says, ``we are manipulating things here. This is a studio album, not a direct transcription of a live performance.''

*the loveless wrote:On this record, however, Lennon managed to get something unusual from Spector - a direct, focused, raw, and uncluttered sound. More often than not, the vocals are bone dry and single tracked.


----

Robert Christgau wrote:
I also believe, however, that music overwhelms lyrics on Plastic Ono Band. Carman Moore, who is a composer as well as a critic, thinks John has emerged as the most musical Beatle in terms of chords, melodic lines, and other such arcana, which only shows what I've said all along--that you can perceive that stuff without analyzing it. For me, the musicality of Plastic Ono Band can be summed up in one word: strength. At first, of course, what came through was crudity. The music sounded stark and even perfunctory compared to the free harmonies and double guitars of the Beatles' rock and roll. But the music of the album inheres not in its instrumentation but in the way John's greatest vocal performance, a complete tour of rock timbre from scream to whine, is modulated electronically. Like so much great rock and roll, it depends on studio gimmickry, with the greatest of the gimmickers, Phil Spector, providing the expertise while stripped of his power to grind sixteen tracks down to mush. John's voice unadorned appears only twice: on "Working Class Hero" and after the nonbelieving malediction of "God," when John says, "I just believe in me/ Yoko and me/ And that's reality." Elsewhere it is echoed, filtered, and double-tracked, with two voices sometimes emanating in a synthesis from between the speakers and sometimes dialectically separated. In addition, the guitar and even the drumming is distorted.

http://www.robertchristgau.com/xg/bk-aow/beatles.php


More trivia, but I think Lennon either read this review or read Carmen Moore's comments. If you read the Lennon Remembers interview, he talks about the fact that even though he's totally unschooled as a musician, he feels that POB was the most sophisticated stuff he's done, and he cites that some critic says this...although, true to form, he can't remember who the critic is.

Piggly Wiggly

Postby Piggly Wiggly » 22 Sep 2004, 09:14

*the loveless wrote:On this record, however, Lennon managed to get something unusual from Spector - a direct, focused, raw, and uncluttered sound. More often than not, the vocals are bone dry and single tracked.


I'm getting into hair splitting here, but I'll certainly stand by direct, focused, raw, and uncluttered - as well as "more often than not". The presence of EQ (undetectable to my ears, but evident to Cristagau as "significant") does not make this "A Day In The Life".

Similarly, the use of conservative and nearly amatuerish echo on the glissandos in "Mother" (a master's touch which take 5d expertly describes) scarcely negates the impact of the song, the arrangement, and performance.

The overall restraint of both artist and producer is remarkable and powerful, and it seems misleading that such an economical (and therefore striking) use of very basic and limited effects should be mischaracterised as "gimmickry".

There are spots of double tracking and mild single repeat echo on this record, but as I stated above.....more often than not the effect is intimate rather than lush (and more often than not the vocals appear to be untreated and unadorned - the apparent starkness of hard panned double tracked vocals is quite a long way from "And I Love Her" or "Slow Down"). Had I not heard the record, Cristagau's description would lead me to expect something more along the lines of Pyromania, A Night At The Opera, Autobahn, The Pod, or The Many Facets of Roger.

Indeed, it is a studio album.

User avatar
Diamond Dog
"Self Quoter" Extraordinaire.
Posts: 67329
Joined: 16 Jul 2003, 21:04
Location: High On Poachers Hill

Postby Diamond Dog » 22 Sep 2004, 09:21

Could I just add that this thread should become a classic - so that anyone joining here could see the absolutely magnificent level of debate/discussion available on this site. As I have stated on numerous occasions, it's this type of writing that puts shyster publications like Mojo (recently) to shame.
“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”
"Don't be seduced into thinking that which did not make a profit is without value"
"'Seize the moments as they fly, know to live and learn to die'."