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Posts Tagged ‘1980’

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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Each Christmas in the Disunited Kingdom there is an informal competition to see who can come up with the most memorable TV advert for the festive season. It would seem that this year the competition has been won by John Lewis with their advert for “Monty” the penguin (to see the advert follow this link). The song featured in the advert is a cover version by Tom Odell of John Lennon’s beautiful song “Real Love”. This Lennon song was written in 1979/1980, but he was murdered (34 years ago today) before he got a chance to release it on any record. Here are his hand-written lyrics to the song.



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Lennon did record six takes of the song, and the first time it became known to the public was on the soundtrack to the 1988 film “Imagine”, a biographic film about Lennon put together from hundreds of hours of archive sound recordings and film. In 1996 the song was taken by the surviving Beatles who recorded accompanying music to Lennon’s vocal and piano track, and it was released as the last official (to date) Beatles single in March 1996 as part of the Beatles’ “Biography” project.

Here is a video of one of Lennon’s takes of the song, this one is just him singing and playing the piano. Enjoy!





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At number 47 in BBC Radio 2’s “100 best guitar riffs” is “Atomic” by the New York band Blondie. I remember the first time I saw Blondie was on Top of the Pops in 1977, performing their break-through single “Denis”. I liked the song, and as a 13-year old I liked Deborah Harry too! A lot of other people also liked the song, as it got to number 2 in the Disunited Kingdom singles charts. This first hit was followed by a string of other hits, and I liked most of them. I think their song “Rapture” was the first time I had heard ‘hip-hop’, and the song they released before that, “The Tide is High” had reggae overtones to it, and the song before that, “Call me” was just a straight power-rock song. They certainly had an eclectic musical style, and I liked that about them.

This song, “Atomic”, is not my favourite Blondie song, but it is their only song in this list of 100 best guitar riffs. It certainly does have a memorable riff, and is pretty catchy. It was released in 1980, and got to number 1 in the Disunited Kingdom at a time when most of their releases got into the top 5.



At number 47 in BBC Radio 2's "100 best guitar riffs" is "Atomic" by Blondie.

At number 47 in BBC Radio 2’s “100 best guitar riffs” is “Atomic” by Blondie.



Lyrically, it is hardly the most sophisticated song. But, this song is all about the rhythm, the riff, and the Debbie Harry “image”.


Uh huh, make me tonight
Tonight
Make it right

Uh huh, make me tonight
Tonight
Tonight

Oh, uh huh make it magnificent
Tonight
Right
(Ahh)
Your hair is beautiful
(Ahh)
Aah tonight
Atomic

Tonight make it magnificent
Tonight
Make me tonight
Your hair is beautiful
Ohh oh, tonight
Atomic
Uh huh
Atomic
Uh huh

Uh huh
Atomic
Uh huh
Atomic
Uh huh

There is an interesting documentary about Blondie called “One way or another” which I saw on BBC 4 over the weekend, but it was originally broadcast in 2006. The link to the BBC iPlayer programme is here. It gives a very good insight into the band and their highs and lows, including the near-fatal illness that Chris Stein suffered, as well as the acrimonious split of the original band members.

Here is a video of this song. Enjoy!




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The fourth Christmas song I thought I’d share is “Stop the Cavalry” by Jona Lewie. It got to number 3 in December 1980.



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On this day in 1980 John Lennon was gunned down in front of his apartment in New York City.



John Lennon in 1965, the year "In My Life" was recorded.

John Lennon in 1965, the year “In My Life” was recorded.



Here is one of his more beautiful songs, “In My Life” from the 1965 album Rubber Soul.


(Words & music by Lennon & McCartney)

There are places I remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more
In my life I love you more


John – you’re missed 😦





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