To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Beatle’s birth, the songs have been remixed. Is Lennon returning to No. 1 on the U.K. albums chart? It could happen.
Just days after what would have been his 80th birthday, the late Beatles legend is challenging for the crown with Gimme Some Truth (Apple Corps), a new hits collection produced by his widow Yoko and son Sean.
Gimme Some Truth is at No. 3 on the midweek chart, just 364 combined sales adrift from the leader, Scottish group Travis’s 10 Songs (BMG), which leads the way on sales (physical and digital) so far.
Lennon has three No. 1s as a solo artist, and a whopping 16 with the Beatles, more than any act in Official Chart history.
If he were alive, John Lennon would turn 80 on October 9, 2020. For the occasion, his wife Yoko Ono and son Sean have selected 36 songs from his solo catalog in a new box set entitled Gimme Some Truth: The Ultimate Mixes. The pieces were remixed not to change the balance between the instruments, but to obtain a better sound quality.
The box set will be released in various formats on October 9th. The deluxe edition will contain two CDs, a Blu-Ray audio with high definition music, 5.1 surround sound and Dolby Atmos mix, a 124 page book, a poster and two postcards including one with the letter Lennon returned to Regina the title of member of the Order of the British Empire. Gimme Some Truth will also be available on one and two CDs, on double and quadruple LPs, and digitally.
“John was always talking about creating a global village so he’d probably have an ‘I told you so’ attitude to the internet age. Right now he’d be making artwork with computer programmes and communicating with the world in a much quicker way.”
The Lennon song that seems most apt for the so-called “post-truth” world we inhabit in the 21st Century is the acerbic ‘Gimme Some Truth’, from his 1971 album, Imagine. In this highly memorable song.
There seems to be no shortage of “psychotic, pig-headed politicians” these days, and the song retains a cultural relevance for musicians.
Numerous bands have covered ‘Gimme Some Truth’, from Generation X, in 1978, to the Dutch band Gems in 2018. Travis, Fatal Flowers and Jakob Dylan have all recorded studio versions of Lennon’s song, while Foo Fighters, Billy Idol and Drive-By Truckers perform the song live.
Rock band Primal Scream have recorded the song and play it regularly at concerts, including one in 2003 where they updated Lennon’s original target, Richard Nixon (described as “Tricky Dicky” in Lennon’s lyrics), to criticise George W Bush.
The origins of ‘Gimme Some Truth’ actually lay in Lennon’s time with The Beatles, during a period when the man who had written some of the most iconic love songs of modern times was reinventing himself. While touring with the group, he wanted to talk openly about the Vietnam War, but the band’s manager, Brian Epstein, said no. More and more, however, Lennon’s songs began to describe struggle.
When he returned to the lyrics of ‘Gimme Some Truth’ in 1971, at the height of the Vietnam War, the references were updated to include President Nixon. By then, of course, Lennon was already a heavily politicised figure and ‘Gimme Some Truth’ became a protest song for anti-war campaigners.
Lennon had been looking for fresh inspiration for a while. His marriage to first wife, Cynthia, was falling apart and, at George Harrison’s suggestion, he had studied the Bhagavad Gita and The Tibetan Book Of The Dead, and went on The Beatles’ 1968 trip to Rishikesh, India, where the group studied Transcendental Meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Ultimately, mysticism gave way to an interest in politics that was certainly encouraged by Lennon’s new girlfriend, Yoko Ono.
Despite his own growing personal fortune, Lennon seemed unfulfilled by material success. “If everybody demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace,” he asserted.
After his debut solo album, 1970’s John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, which included the songs ‘Working Class Hero’ and ‘Power To The People’, Lennon turned his political views into music, with the masterpiece album Imagine.
The title track, a memorable plea for a better world, became a rallying cry for peace. ‘Imagine’ would later take on a whole new momentum following Lennon’s murder in December 1980, when the song gave him a posthumous No.1.
His friendship with these outspoken critics of Nixon, and his anti-war songs, had infuriated J Edgar Hoover, who was in his 47th year as director of the FBI. Hoover and Nixon were acutely aware that the upcoming 1972 election was going to be the first in which 18-year-olds had the right to vote, and they were worried that Lennon could use his power as a celebrity to inspire young people into the political process.