Working class hero

Did you notice a couple of weeks ago, during all the John Lennon memoriams in observance of the 25-year anniversary of his murder, that most of the media celebrated Lennon’s life and inspirational legacy by continually flogging us with exactly one song? I certainly don’t need to tell you what that one song is. “Imagine” was getting the same rote treatment that Martin Luther King’s “Dream” speech gets every year, and, somehow, that just ain’t right.

Don’t get me wrong. “Imagine” is still a remarkable piece of work, if only for being probably the only hit single ever to ask the listener to visualize a peaceful world populated by atheists and anarchists. In that sense, the song is like a musical postcard to us here in the 21st century, sent by some higher being who lives in the 23rd century. But, just as Mr. King was much more than one epic speech, Mr. Lennon was much more than one epic song.

With that sentiment in mind, I’d like to reprint, without Yoko’s permission, the lyrics to another Lennon song that’s just as powerful in its anger and political weariness as “Imagine” is in its utopian dreaminess. I’m betting she won’t mind. It’s called “Gimme Some Truth.”

“I’m sick and tired of hearing things
from uptight, short-sighted,
narrow-minded hypocrites.
All I want is the truth.
Just gimme some truth.”

“I’ve had enough of reading things
from neurotic, psychotic
pig-headed politicians.
All I want is the truth.
Just give me some truth.”

(Then comes the bridge, sung with a sincerely belligerent attitude before and after a righteously stinging guitar solo by George Harrison. The belligerence was well-founded, since President Nixon and FBI creep J. Edgar Hoover were scheming to find a way to kick Lennon out of the United States.)

“No short-haired, yellow-bellied,
son of Tricky Dick is gonna
Mother Hubbard soft soap me
with just a pocketful of hope.
Money for dope,
money for rope.”

(Back to the verse)
“I’m sick to death of seeing things
from tight-lipped, condescending,
mommie’s little chauvinists.
All I want is the truth.
Just give me some truth.”

“I’ve had enough of watching scenes
by schizophrenic, egocentric,
paranoiac prima donnas.
All I want is the truth.
Just gimme some truth.”

If you want to actually hear the song, you’ll find it on Lennon’s milestone second solo album. It’s called Imagine. You can also find it on a terrific new double CD made up of all of John’s essential solo music, called Working Class Hero.