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Old Dec 27, 2011, 08:27 PM   #1
Apple Scruff
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Default Walls & Bridges: an analysis

I know you all were at the edge of your seats since October 30th (when our beloved Mind Games analysis ended) waiting for this moment!!!

Ok, I’m kidding myself. Seriously, I have taken my time but hopefully this will be well worth it. I had so many things to say in the introduction for this album, but I think brevity speaks volumes. So I’ll try my best to keep it nice and short (for me that is!).

I didn’t experience Walls & Bridges until I was 14 years old. I remember it really well. I was a huge Radiohead fan (still am) and my dad took me to Best Buy to get The Bends. I was browsing in the John section and came upon the most delightful album cover! It was this one:



I thought it was so cute and innocent. John Lennon’s childhood drawing. My dad bought me both albums and I took them home and listened to them both back-to-back.

It was like an epiphany. You’ll recall that I became an official John girl at about age 11/12. I say it that way because I can’t recall the definite moment. I honestly think I always was a John girl, but I hid behind a George girl mask. So anyway, this album really, truly blew me away. I hadn’t heard many of the songs on there. You have to remember, I was very distracted for a while over Kurt Cobain’s death and had been going through some kind of goth period (initiated by Nico’s Marble Index). So, although I most certainly loved my Beatles and was falling deeply in love with John, I just wasn't focusing as much on the chronological albums or solo albums.

So listening to Walls & Bridges for the first time, I was sooooooo mesmerized. I remember that I instantly loved “Scared” and I was confused by “Ya Ya.” I also remember thinking, dang, these two album choices were sick! They were SO excellent and consistent and beautiful.

I still feel that way. Over the years I like to say I fall in love with every John solo album in one way or another. But each time I think about it, Walls & Bridges seems to come up on top. I don’t even know why. There is an exuberance, joy, pain, loss, anger, and honesty that I love about this album. And brilliant songs that I can’t get enough of. I always like to take it with me and play it on a road trip because it’s so easy to fall back in love with. My brother, who isn’t a Beatles or John fan really, thinks it’s John best album just because of “Scared.”

I love it because it’s amazing. And underrated. And extremely fun.



I’d get into the whole history of John’s life surrounding this album, but I think it’ll be best to just begin the analysis and we can delve into all that later on. I will say, though, that while many will give a silent nod to May Pang for her involvement with John and the possible incentive to make this record, I feel slightly different. I definitely acknowledge May and her inspiration. But when I listen to these songs and sing along to these lyrics, I feel like Yoko was with him the whole time. I think it’s an ode to her, in many ways, and one to himself and where he was in his life at this point in time.

Released in 1974, Walls & Bridges would become his most commercially successful album in his lifetime. And that hasn’t a thing to do with why I love it so much. So pop out your W&B album folks, and come along for this exciting ride!!!

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Old Dec 27, 2011, 08:37 PM   #2
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Default Going Down On Love



Or as I call it: a double entendre piece of addicting JOY. You know, the song where it could mean something completely innocent but it really means something completely sexual. Or both. I love this song because of the musical timing. It’s a fun track and I adore the way he sings:

“when the real thing goes wrong, and you can’t get it on

John, what are you saying about you and Yoko? I think this song is about them anyway. Obviously, they were going through a rough patch, and I personally can understand why. The pressure on John—from his fans, the media, the critics, etc.—to try and live up to what he once was, the thinly layered hatred of Yoko by practically everyone in the world, the immigration ordeal, his political activism taking it’s toll on his commercial success, and all the good-for-nothing sycophants and really nasty people coming out of everywhere to grab a piece. I guess one of them was going to crack, and they probably both did—but John was the more sensitive and delicate of the two. So goodbye for now Yoko, hello “Lost Weekend.” And the rest we all know, or we’re still trying to anyway.

Basically, the decision to make this the lead-off-track is interesting. John was probably sending a message to Yoko, but also to everyone, and to himself above all. We all have experienced challenges in our relationships. We all can relate. And this is a very honest song because it is dealing with a variety of challenges- some of the emotional and some of the physical. Hey, that’s life. And I sing along to it because it can not leave my head. Nothing else can I say (and yet I will of course).



Quote:
Got to get down, down on my knees
Got to get down, down on my knees
Going down on love
Going down on love
Going down, going down, going down

When the real thing goes wrong
And you can't get it on
And your love she has gone
And you got to carry on
And you shoot out the light
Ain't coming home for the night
You know you got to, got to, got to pay the price

Somebody please, please help me
You know I'm drowning in the sea of hatred

Got to get down, down on my knees
Got to get down, down on my knees
Going down on love
Going down on love
Going down, going down, going down

Something precious and rare
Disappears in thin air
And it seems so unfair
Nothing doin' nowhere
Well you burn all your boats
And you sow your wild oats
Well you know, you know, you know the price is right!

Got to get down, down on my knees
Got to get down, down on my knees
Got to get down, down on my knees
Got to get down, down on my knees



Love the horns, the beat, the verses!!!! The whole song is a-maz-ing!!!

"Somebody please, please help me...you know I'm drowning in the sea of hatred..."

For every joyful-sounding song, there is a lyric that says EXACTLY what frame of mind he must have been in.

And yet you can't help but find it incredibly endearing because that is the power of John Lennon


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Old Dec 28, 2011, 05:20 AM   #3
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I didn’t experience Walls & Bridges until I was 14 years old. I remember it really well. I was a huge Radiohead fan (still am) and my dad took me to Best Buy to get The Bends. I was browsing in the John section and came upon the most delightful album cover! It was this one:

So listening to Walls & Bridges for the first time, I was sooooooo mesmerized. I remember that I instantly loved “Scared” and I was confused by “Ya Ya.” I also remember thinking, dang, these two album choices were sick! They were SO excellent and consistent and beautiful.

II love it because it’s amazing. And underrated. And extremely fun.

I definitely acknowledge May and her inspiration. But when I listen to these songs and sing along to these lyrics, I feel like Yoko was with him the whole time. I think it’s an ode to her, in many ways, and one to himself and where he was in his life at this point in time.
Woow, thank's so much for that brilliant introduction of this amazing album, Scruffie

I bought this album when I was 15 years old; before that I only knew few songs of it and I discovered them with great enjoyment. It's actually a shame that I only learnt to know about John's solo career little by little, after his passing. By 1980 I thought the only album that John had ever made was "Imagine"...

I find the cover of "Walls & Bridges" with his drawings outstanding, so typical John, especially with the number 9 on the football shirt and I prefer the back cover than the front one It's very true that it's underrated (like other of John's album as well )

I'm glad that you acknowledge May's positive influence and inspiration Although I like May, I feel like you that Yoko was always present in his mind/music and I'm also aware that many songs content massages for her.

As you say, there are a lot of mixed emotions to discover through those songs, each one stands for its own and I'm sure it's going to be fun to analyse them

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Old Dec 28, 2011, 09:12 AM   #4
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Walls and Bridges is special to me because it's the first John album that I bought brand new. I was 11 in the Fall of '74 and I was just starting to build my own record collection. I'd go to Aron's Records and flip through the used vinyl and I bought my own albums of all the 1970-1974 solo Beatles stuff. (Rather than have to borrow my older bro's or sis's.)

But W&B I bought brand new. With plastic wrap and everything. And I played with the cover strips so much that one of them actually fell off.

We've discussed the "Listen to this..." ad campaign before, but just want to remind everyone how HUGE that was. Everywhere you went there was "Listen to this billboard" or "Listen to this t-shirt" or "Listen to this button." My favorite was my "Listen to this notepad"... I even made Xerox copies of it when I started running out of paper. I wrote so many notes with my Bic Banana markers to my best friend Lori or my "boyfriend" David...

Anyway, I was a huge Elton John fan and when I found out he was collaborating with John, my head exploded.... then Whatever Gets You Through the Night came out and it was HUGE! Finally, a little bit of John to get everyone off their Band on the Run high. John was everywhere... interviews, deejay appearances, tv commercials, even a concert at MSG with Elton!

I fell in love with the album. I was a kid, what did I understand then about the themes of alienation and loneliness? I was excited that Julian was on Ya Ya... what a cool dad, I thought. WGYTTN and later #9 Dream were constantly on the radio, and I just loved it all.

But when I got older and was able to put everything in perspective, I realized that W&B is kind of a sad album. (Don't throw my banana markers at me, Scruffie!) Don't get me wrong... I love it, but to me, most of the songs reveal the pain that John was in being separated from Yoko and how lost he was without her.
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Old Dec 28, 2011, 09:35 AM   #5
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Default Going Down on Love

Yes, an interesting choice to open the album... but I think John was trying to make it clear from the get-go where his head (and heart) was at. "And your love she has gone, And you got to carry on" Even as a kid, I remember thinking, "Oh, poor John, he misses his woman."

Great song. Love the double entendre and the way he was able to make it such an enjoyable song with such bummer lyrics. I mean, singing "you know I'm drowning in a sea of hatred" while laughing at the "got to get down, down on my knees"... John was so good at that. Always making a little light of the heaviness. And the vocals are great... the falsettos are classic Lennon.

I dig this demo version as well, which is a bit closer to what John was talking about on the Anthology ("no fills from the guitars or anybody"):

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Old Dec 28, 2011, 11:04 AM   #6
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By 1980 I thought the only album that John had ever made was "Imagine"...
Such was the thought of many I am certain, since John's solo career is wholly overlooked/underrated in so many ways. It's a shame really, but when I came to uncover one gem after another I was happy to know that there was a treasure trove of amazing beauty that wasn't overplayed and overrated on the radio and by other people. Thank goodness for it actually.
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Old Dec 28, 2011, 11:09 AM   #7
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But when I got older and was able to put everything in perspective, I realized that W&B is kind of a sad album. (Don't throw my banana markers at me, Scruffie!) Don't get me wrong... I love it, but to me, most of the songs reveal the pain that John was in being separated from Yoko and how lost he was without her.
I would never throw your banana BIC markers at you Maia. I'd steal them and keep them in my 'vintage cool' collection instead. I agree with you intensely on what you say about W&B, and you ARE right. But for me, the genius of Lennon is that he could disguise the dark and the sad within a beautifully infectious melody or catchy tune with a perfect middle that never goes out of my head. So I have to say that musically so much of this album does that for me. But the themes of sadness and alienation are concurrent and I intend on acknowledging and discussing them.
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Old Dec 28, 2011, 11:14 AM   #8
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I dig this demo version as well, which is a bit closer to what John was talking about on the Anthology ("no fills from the guitars or anybody"):

Maia, why have I never heard this???!!!!??? What kind of John Lennon fan am I? OMG, I love it! I wonder...if maybe 4iiiis could make this an mp3 for us by chance, unless someone can direct me to where I can attain it. I adore this so much!!! The song here sounds more sad/dark, but his voice....

Have I ever mentioned to you that John Lennon's voice is magical?

He sings it differently: "Somebody please, please tell me/will I be free of love and hatred?"

THANK YOU MAIA!!!
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Old Dec 28, 2011, 11:45 AM   #9
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if maybe 4iiiis could make this an mp3 for us by chance, unless someone can direct me to where I can attain it.
You can find it right here on BeatleLinks... as well as other W&B takes and demos. here's the thread.
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Old Dec 28, 2011, 11:47 AM   #10
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You can find it right here on BeatleLinks... as well as other W&B takes and demos. here's the thread.
Oh thank you sooo much! I need to go into that forum more often. I know wallrus always reminds me but I get so distracted in here.
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Old Dec 28, 2011, 12:58 PM   #11
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Or as I call it: a double entendre piece of addicting JOY. You know, the song where it could mean something completely innocent but it really means something completely sexual. Or both. I love this song because of the musical timing. It’s a fun track and I adore the way he sings:

“when the real thing goes wrong, and you can’t get it on

John, what are you saying about you and Yoko? I think this song is about them anyway. Obviously, they were going through a rough patch, and I personally can understand why. The pressure on John—from his fans, the media, the critics, etc.—to try and live up to what he once was, the thinly layered hatred of Yoko by practically everyone in the world, the immigration ordeal, his political activism taking it’s toll on his commercial success, and all the good-for-nothing sycophants and really nasty people coming out of everywhere to grab a piece. I guess one of them was going to crack, and they probably both did—but John was the more sensitive and delicate of the two. So goodbye for now Yoko, hello “Lost Weekend.” And the rest we all know, or we’re still trying to anyway.

Love the horns, the beat, the verses!!!! The whole song is a-maz-ing!!!

"Somebody please, please help me...you know I'm drowning in the sea of hatred..."

For every joyful-sounding song, there is a lyric that says EXACTLY what frame of mind he must have been in.

And yet you can't help but find it incredibly endearing because that is the power of John Lennon
Well, after the last negative posts I wrote, I'll write something positive before rushing to bed

"Going down on love" is a good song, however, I didn't like it from the beginning. It's a song I had to listen more than one time, just again and again... But then I really liked it (and still does). I don't get the "sexual" meaning of the lyrics (although I have the lyrics in german), I just understand that it's probably about Yoko and John's pain to be separated from her.

Obviously, he's crying out for help. Like it's explained in my book "Gimme some truth" (with all german translations of John's songs), there is exact the same line to find as in "Help": "Somebody please, please help me...

The music is quite special; I like the different grooves, makes it interesting to listen till the end... and his voice, so present, so strongly emotional. Yeah, it's a good song in order to get warm with the whole album

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Old Dec 28, 2011, 01:01 PM   #12
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Thank you Snoopy! I am so impressed with your English considering all the other languages you speak/read. Anyway, yes! The song borrows a bit from "Help." This is what Maia was getting at about the themes of the album being sad. BUT the tone of the album, musically, isn't really. I don't think it is anyway, aside from some darker aspects.
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Old Dec 28, 2011, 06:02 PM   #13
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Maia, why have I never heard this???!!!!??? What kind of John Lennon fan am I? OMG, I love it! I wonder...if maybe 4iiiis could make this an mp3 for us by chance, unless someone can direct me to where I can attain it. I adore this so much!!! The song here sounds more sad/dark, but his voice....

Have I ever mentioned to you that John Lennon's voice is magical?

He sings it differently: "Somebody please, please tell me/will I be free of love and hatred?"

THANK YOU MAIA!!!
Great intro to a great album there AppleScruff!
I am anxious to find my copy as I just moved and can't find a darn thing yet ;-)
Hoping to get a few comments in as well…I just wish my internet time wasn't so limited :-( BUT I love reading all the wonderful stories and thoughts on this board.
Hey Apple, I saw your request to have that early take on MP3, so here you go! Enjoy…
http://www.daytonos.com/audio/john-d...early-take.mp3
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Old Dec 28, 2011, 09:34 PM   #14
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Thank you so much 4iiiis! I hope you join us as much as you can on this thread! We miss ya!
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Old Dec 29, 2011, 04:32 AM   #15
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Thank you Snoopy! I am so impressed with your English considering all the other languages you speak/read. Anyway, yes! The song borrows a bit from "Help." This is what Maia was getting at about the themes of the album being sad. BUT the tone of the album, musically, isn't really. I don't think it is anyway, aside from some darker aspects.
Thank's Scruffie

Yeah, I think this song definitively refers to "Help" (oh John, how many times did you cry out for help ). It's amazing when you think how famous and popular he was, yes often quite helpless...

I wouldn't describe "Walls & Bridge" as negative-tone album either. It's sort of up and down-mood album, but musically it doesn't sound sad on the whole IMHO

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Old Dec 29, 2011, 04:54 AM   #16
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Interesting...I think part of the reason I like this album is the contrast of the often (though not always) sad/negative/angry lyrics with the really poppy/rocking/joyous music and arrangements. I've always liked songs that have that contrast. The "I'm Looking Through You" syndrome, if I may.
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Old Dec 29, 2011, 11:34 AM   #17
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Interesting...I think part of the reason I like this album is the contrast of the often (though not always) sad/negative/angry lyrics with the really poppy/rocking/joyous music and arrangements. I've always liked songs that have that contrast. The "I'm Looking Through You" syndrome, if I may.
lol ~ I like to call it the Help! syndrome... but I get your drift.
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Old Dec 29, 2011, 12:13 PM   #18
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Touche!
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Old Dec 29, 2011, 12:14 PM   #19
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I'm leaving this at the first song for a little bit. I may have more to say myself...who knows...
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Old Dec 29, 2011, 12:28 PM   #20
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lol ~ I like to call it the Help! syndrome... but I get your drift.
Ha! Yes, that works too.
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