Thursday, December 24, 2009

John Lennon - Give Peace A Chance

(Apple, 1969)

For the first solo single from a Beatle, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, two acoustic guitars (the second played by Tommy Smothers!), and a roomful of friends/celebs/sycophants make a raucous campfire noise in support of worldwide goodvibes. No deep thoughts to be found therein (the stream-of-consciousness verses are largely incidental), but it’s raw and immediate, just as it needed to be. Which is why I’ve spent the last bunch o’ years considering “Give Peace A Chance” alongside McCartney’s similarly-hokey post-9/11 single “Freedom,” because – no matter what you think of the icky political whatsis surrounding the latter – both guys were shooting for the same thing: Whip up a simple, memorable, of-its-time, stomp-clamp anthem for People Who Want One. Sure, the market success of Paul’s sleeker effort certainly didn’t match that of John’s, but from a purely song-based perspective I think both achieved what they set out to do (though the fact that the masses didn’t embrace “Freedom” as they did “Peace” ultimately marks it a failure). For-what-it’s-worth sidenote: McCartney has since renounced his composition and has taken to covering Lennon’s on his 2009 tour.

Meanwhile, Yoko, backed by John on “Sun King”-esque acoustic, provides the lo-fi B-side, a breathy, gentle lullaby/ballad that sounds like a “White Album” demo and gives no hint of the abrasiveness of much of her later work. A track of both significant quality and interest.

1 comment:

Donald Brown said...

didn't know about McC's attempt at anthemity after 9/11. But it seems to me that to compare the two as instances of 'create a credo' vibe is a bit off the mark. Ono Lennon was in the game of making statements and Beatleisms were still driving a good deal of what was cool and newsworthy in that 'deport a Beatle' anti-Vietnam era, not so in the 'deport a muslim' post 9/11 era when whatever McC does mostly serves (or not) McC.