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Posts Tagged ‘1971’

At number 3 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 greatest songs of all time is “Imagine” by John Lennon. This song was recorded in the late spring of 1971, and released as a single in the USA in October of the same year, when it got to number 3. The song was not released as a single in the Disunited Kingdom until 1975, when it was used to promote a Lennon compilation album “Shaved Fish”; it got to number 6. It was re-released in the DUK after Lennon’s death in 1980, and this time it got to number 1 where it stayed for four weeks. It has gone on to become the best-selling single of Lennon’s solo career, and is also his best known solo composition.



At number 30 in Rolling Stone Magazine's '500 Greatest Songs of all Time' is "I Walk the Line" by Johnny Cash.

At number 3 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s ‘500 Greatest Songs of all Time’ is “Imagine” by John Lennon.



The lyrics are very simple yet very powerful (and naive, which Lennon freely admitted). He would say in later interviews that several of the ideas in the song were inspired by Yoko Ono’s 1964 book “Grapefruit”, but that he was too “macho” at the time to give her proper recognition for her part in the song. Lennon had only learnt to play the piano in 1970, and yet the melody of “Imagine” is deceptively complex.

It has been performed by many other artists, including recently by Lady Gaga at the opening ceremony of the multi-sport European Games at Baku (see below). But, despite the numerous covers, Lennon’s original is still the best known version.


Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one


Here is the original video of this great song. Enjoy!




Here is Lady Gaga’s recent cover, performed at the opening ceremony of the European Games in Baku.






Who has performed your favourite version of this song?

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At number 4 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 greatest songs of all time is “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye. I have already blogged about this song here when I blogged about the 500 greatest albums, as this song is the title track of the album which came in at number 6 on that list.

The song “What’s Going On” was recorded over the summer of 1970 and released as a single in January 1971. It got to number 2 in the US singles charts, but in the Disunited Kingdom it was barely a hit, only getting to number 80 in the singles charts.



At number 30 in Rolling Stone Magazine's '500 Greatest Songs of all Time' is "I Walk the Line" by Johnny Cash.

At number 4 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s ‘500 Greatest Songs of all Time’ is “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye.



The song was co-written by Gaye, Renaldo Benson (of the Four Tops group) and Al Cleveland. It was inspired by Benson witnessing an anti Vietnam war demonstration on the Berkeley campus in 1969, and discussing the issue with Cleveland. Cleveland went away and wrote the song, but the Four Tops rejected it. When it came to the attention of Gaye he worked on it some more, adding some lyrics and changing the melody.


Mother, mother
There’s too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There’s far too many of you dying
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today – Ya

Father, father
We don’t need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today

Picket lines and picket signs
Don’t punish me with brutality
Talk to me, so you can see
Oh, what’s going on
What’s going on
Ya, what’s going on
Ah, what’s going on

In the mean time
Right on, baby
Right on
Right on

Mother, mother, everybody thinks we’re wrong
Oh, but who are they to judge us
Simply because our hair is long
Oh, you know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some understanding here today
Oh

Picket lines and picket signs
Don’t punish me with brutality
Talk to me
So you can see
What’s going on
Ya, what’s going on
Tell me what’s going on
I’ll tell you what’s going on – Uh
Right on baby
Right on baby


Here is a video of this great song. Enjoy!




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At number 27 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 greatest songs is “Layla” by Derek and the Dominoes. This song also has one of the greatest guitar riffs of all time, in fact it was number 5 in BBC Radio 2’s list of the 100 best guitar riffs.

“Layla” was co-written by Eric Clapton and Jim Gordon, and released in 1971 by Clapton and his then band, and reached number 4 in the Disunited Kingdom singles charts, and number 10 in the US.



At number 30 in Rolling Stone Magazine's '500 Greatest Songs of all Time' is "I Walk the Line" by Johnny Cash.

At number 27 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s ‘500 Greatest Songs of all Time’ is “Layla” by Derek and the Dominoes.




What’ll you do when you get lonely
And nobody’s waiting by your side?
You’ve been running and hiding much too long.
You know it’s just your foolish pride.

[Chorus:]
Layla, you’ve got me on my knees.
Layla, I’m begging, darling please.
Layla, darling won’t you ease my worried mind.

I tried to give you consolation
When your old man had let you down.
Like a fool, I fell in love with you,
Turned my whole world upside down.

[Chorus]

Let’s make the best of the situation
Before I finally go insane.
Please don’t say we’ll never find a way
And tell me all my love’s in vain.


Here is a video of this great song. Enjoy!




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The fifth and final Christmas song I thought I’d share with you is “Happy Christmas (War is Over)” by John Lennon, released in 1971 in the USA and 1972 in the DUK.



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This song was part of a long running anti-war campaign by John & Yoko which included the “bed-ins” for peace in Amsterdam and Toronto, the 1969 single Give Peace a Chance, and a billboard campaign which is shown in the video. Lennon said in a 1980 interview that he wanted to write a Christmas song so that there was an alternative to White Christmas. John & Yoko are joined in the song by the Harlem Community Choir.





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