Welcome to the Beatles Rarity of the Week. I’m not sure when you will be reading, but since this week’s rarity offering will be hitting the site only a couple days prior to John Lennon’s seventy-third birthday, I’ve deemed this ample reason to put the focus on the chief Beatle.
With John’s creative output what it was over his active years, many from the casual to the most devoted of his on-going fan base see him as one of history’s most remembered advocates of peace and love. Given the violent way he was taken from us, John has gone down as a martyr for peace that is historically accepted as a free-spirited, kind and gentle soul who was cruelly gunned down over a selfish misguided need for one’s own perverted notoriety.
While all of this is true, it’s also a bit skewed. I want to point out that he was also human. John wasn’t all flowers and peace signs – he had an angry side just like everyone else. And just like everyone else, John’s own anger and violence was directed at those he knew and was close to, and as unfortunate as it was, this included his own family. John’s anger came out in his music too in songs like “Revolution” or “Give Me Some Truth,” directed at the government and war effort, or even to old friends, as in “How Do You Sleep.”
My whole point here is that John was no peace-prophet or guru to hold up as an object of worship – he was one of us. I still hold John very dear to my heart and still to this day continue to wonder what we all missed by not having him around any longer than we did.
In 1970, during the period when The Beatles were breaking up, John, together with his wife Yoko Ono, were attending Primal Therapy sessions with Dr. Arthur Janov. The idea here was that the neurosis caused by the repressed pain of childhood trauma could be brought to conscious awareness and resolved by re-experiencing the incident in your mind and fully expressing the resulting anger during the therapy sessions. John and Yoko attended the sessions from March through August of that year but were unable to complete the course due to John’s visa problems. However, John did get enough focus from the therapy on the subjects of his repressed anger to channel his thoughts and feelings into the material on his first post-Beatles album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. For example, the first item addressed on the LP is the fiasco of John’s parents. In the opening song “Mother” John speaks to both his mother, who he tragically lost in childhood and his never-present father. The album ends with a short acoustic piece called “My Mummy’s Dead.” The album also features a controversial track called “God” where John expresses his disbelief in a long list of idols to include I Ching, Hitler, Buddha, Jesus, Kennedy, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley and Beatles, among others.
For this week’s BROW, I’m offering up another of John’s “angry” songs from this period. Somewhat similar in theme to the track “God,” John expresses his dissatisfaction with a world eaten up by what he sees as false religion and idols refering to Hare Krishna as “Pie in the sky” and also invoking a double entendre about Christianity as “religion from Jesus to Paul.” The song is called “I Found Out” and the bare bones recording of it here is a rough mix of the same take we hear on the finished album. Some studio talk at the intro was trimmed on the album version as was a segue in the fade out into the Carl Perkins hit “Gone, Gone, Gone.” Both of these omissions are still intact in this account, along with some percussion that was mixed out of the finalized version and a minor expletive sung by John that did make it on to the finished LP.
John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band - I Found Out
- The musicians that performed on “I Found Out” were John Lennon (vocals, guitar), Ringo Starr (drums) and Klaus Voormann (bass). The song was recorded sometime between September 26th and October 27th, 1970.
- The John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band album was released on Dec. 11th, 1970 and peaked at number 6 on the Billboard album chart in the U.S. and number 11 on the Record Retailer album chart in the U.K.
Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase, some music related to this post:
1) Plastic Ono Band – 2010 remaster of original 1970 LP featuring finalized mix of “I Found Out” along with “God,” “Mother” and many other great tunes.
2) Power To The People: The Hits – 2010 remastered CD hits collection by John Lennon. Some great music here!