Monday, November 22, 2021

"Jealous Guy" by John Lennon & the Plastic Ono Band

Song#:  3682
Date:  10/15/1988
Debut:  84
Peak:  80
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  Six years after John Lennon's death, Yoko Ono sought to get a documentary done about her famed Beatle husband. With producer David L. Wolper and director Andrew Solt, Ono helped to create the 1988 film Imagine: John Lennon. Although others such as Ono and Lennon's children would be interviewed for the film, it was mainly narrated by John Lennon himself through archival footage and interviews. Of course a soundtrack album would be culled and released in conjunction with the film. Using the same title as the movie, the double-LP spanned the career of Lennon from the Beatles through to songs from his Grammy-winning 1980 album with Yoko Ono Double Fantasy. In addition to hits and key album tracks, the LP also included a pair of previously unreleased recordings, however neither of them would be used to promote the album. Instead, this song from Lennon's 1971 album Imagine would be pushed out as a single. It would make it to #22 on the AC chart, but on the Pop chart it could only manage a month near the bottom. The soundtrack album would get to #31 and go gold. The film was well-received and for a documentary performed modestly well at the box office. This single would be Lennon's last solo effort to reach the Pop chart.

ReduxReview:  While this song is certainly a classic in Lennon's catalog, it wasn't necessarily the best single candidate, especially in '88. The seventeen-year-old track didn't really sit well next to other pop hits of the day. It kind of sounded like an oldie, which in a way it was. Releasing a well known song that had been out for nearly two decades probably wasn't the best choice, but there was little new, unearthed material coming from the documentary save for a guitar/vocal demo of "Real Love," which was not single material. (Another demo of that tune would be spruced up and released in '96 in conjunction with The Beatles' Anthology 2. The single would reach #11 Pop.) Still, this is a great song that might have done fairly well on the chart back when Imagine first came out, yet it wasn't selected for single release.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  While the Beatles were in India in 1968, they heard a lecture by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi where he talked about a "son of mother nature." Both Lennon and Paul McCartney were taken by the talk and it inspired each to compose a song. McCartney would come up with "Mother Nature's Son," which would be recorded and placed on The Beatles (aka the White Album). Lennon would write a tune called "Child of Nature." Although he would demo it in '68, he did not pursue it in the sessions for The Beatles. Lennon would record a couple more demos of the song in January of '69, but nothing further happened with the tune. Then when recording songs for his '71 album Imagine, Lennon decided to revive the track. This time around he kept the music, but scrapped the lyrics in favor of new ones. The resulting song became "Jealous Guy" and in the long run it became one of his most covered songs with nearly 100 artists recording their own version of the tune.


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