by Garrett Sawyer
John Lennon's death at the tender age of 40 cut short what was easily one of the greatest careers of the rock era. Here are some of the best John Lennon songs that never made it to the Billboard top 40, from "Walls and Bridges" and "Double Fantasy"
1) "Steel and Glass"
If "How Do You Sleep?" was a musical dart thrown at McCartney "Steel and Glass" was the next one, this one thrown at Allen Klein. For years Klein had taken over the management responsibilities of the Beatles at Apple Corps until their 1970 breakup.
He had also helped George Harrison organize the Concert for Bangladesh. Unfortunately, Klein made the mistake of siding with Harrison, who believed that Yoko shouldn't perform and that Lennon should perform without her.
By 1974 their relationship had soured enough that Lennon believed Klein had turned against him and penned this song as a result.
When Lennon sang, "Your mother left you when you were small, but you're gonna wish you were never born at all." he was factually accurate (Klein's mother died before his first birthday) but a bit over the top, even if true.
2) "I'm Losing You"
We've all had it happen that we're trying to reach somebody on the phone but can't. It happened to Lennon when he was in Bermuda and tried to call Yoko. Just like the rest of us he got annoyed. Only Lennon, however, can turn it into a terrific song while the rest of us just stew in our juices.
But it's pertinent that the incident was also metaphorical for many of the troubles he'd had with Yoko previously, specifically his "lost weekend" separation from her that lasted eighteen months. It referred to other losses, too, such as the loss of his mother.
And when he belts out, "I remind you of all that bad stuff, So what the hell am I supposed to do? Just put a bandaid on it?" his delivery is absolutely perfect.
3) "Beautiful Boy"
You couldn't ask for a more exquisite lullaby than this, complete with a tropical arrangement. Yet even in this tribute to his son, Sean, Lennon has a pun or two up his sleeve.
When he sings "Every day, in every way, it's getting better and better" he's harkening back to Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and the song "Getting Better".
Lennon's contribution to the earlier song was a tart comical "it can't get no worse" but here he's sincere, not a trace of sarcasm in sight.
The line also refers to French psychologist Emile Coue, who instructed his patients to repeat this statement regularly as a mantra for therapeutic reasons. (Sample lyric: "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.")
I hope you enjoyed this retrospective of John Lennon's solo work. If you're anything like me it must break your heart to think of what Lennon would have been able to create had he lived the normal, healthy life span he so richly deserved.
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