Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Double Fantasy

Of the many Beatles facts related to Double Fantasy, the saddest is that is was John Lennon's last release (not counting anthologies, compilations, archival material, and performances released posthumously since Lennon was assassinated on December 8, 1980, shortly after the double album's release). It was recorded at The Hit Factory for the Geffen label from August 4, 1980 to late September of that same year. Produced by John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and Jack Douglas, it was released on November 17, 1980.

The album marked Lennon's new burst of creativity, one that followed a five-year period, beginning in 1975, during which he suspended his recording career (except for occasional demos done at his apartment in the Dakota) in order to take care of his son Sean. His new creative energies had been kindled after sailing to Bermuda on the schooner Megan Jayne. When the schooner ran into heavy squalls and the crew became ill, Lennon lashed himself to the chrome railing and began to sing old Liverpool sea chanteys. It was as if he were exorcising himself of personal demons that had plagued him for years. Upon arriving in Bermuda, he began to compose again, calling Yoko on the phone to play early drafts of the songs. Indeed, so prolific was his output at this time that he would accumulate enough songs for more than just Double Fantasy. Another album, Milk and Honey, was already in the planning stage when Lennon was killed. In the months before he was shot, Lennon even called Julian in England to ask his older son's opinion of some tracks, and the greatest tragedy perhaps is that Lennon's road to reconciliation with Julian was cut short at this time of their lives.

The album was re-released in 2000. Singles issued from "Double Fantasy" (both releases) included "Watching the Wheels," "Woman," "Walking on Thin Ice," and "Just Like Starting Over." Double Fantasy won the Grammy Award for 1981 Album of the Year.

Lennon believed the personal demos of some of the tracks were exceptionally good because they conveyed immediacy and emotion, and he reworked some of the demos at the Dakota as well as the recording studio. The concept of the album was that the songs were John and Yoko singing to each other, an idea that appealed to the Lennons inasmuch as they were releasing to the public an intimate side of themselves. (Seven of the album's tracks are Ono's.) The LP's cover, showing a black and white photo of John and Yoko kissing, has become iconic in the world of music and beyond.

The tracks include:

(Just Like) Starting Over
Kiss Kiss Kiss *
Cleanup Time
Give Me Something *
I'm Losing You
I'm Moving On *
Beautiful Boy
Watching the Wheels
Yes I'm Your Angel *
Beautiful Boys *
Dear Yoko
Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him *
Hard Times Are Over *

(Songs with asterisks represent Yoko Ono's contributions.)

The 2000 re-release included the following extra tracks:

Help Me to Help Myself
Walking on Thin Ice *
Central Park Stroll (brief conversation)

No comments:

Post a Comment