John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s son, Sean, has never shied away from waving the flag for his father’s work both with The Beatles and during his subsequent solo efforts. John’s solo career was generally seen as a bit of a fall from grace after his Beatles days, and his work throughout the 1970s never seemed to match up to the commercial and public accolade of Paul McCartney’s post-Beatles career. That said, there were some fantastic moments in John’s solo career.
For most, the highlight of John’s solo career was his 1971 second studio album Imagine. The album teems with political messages and calls for peace in songs like ‘Gimme Some Truth’ and ‘I Don’t Wanna Be a Soldier’. But the song that sticks in everyone’s memory most, not just from the album, but from his entire solo career, is the title track of the album, ‘Imagine’.
As a political song, ‘Imagine’ doesn’t appear to pander quite toward Sean Lennon’s tastes. In a 2020 interview with Rolling Stone, Sean explained that he doesn’t usually take to artists who discuss philosophical and political issues in their songs. He added that he had nothing against artists who do but found it difficult to enjoy the music. However, it appeared there was something different about his father.
Sean admitted, “Somehow my dad pulls it off with ‘Imagine,’ this almost impossible feat, which is to sincerely talk about world philosophy and not sound like an arrogant person,” Sean explained. “I think there’s something about his personality. I don’t think anyone else could have pulled it off, and I think it has to do with how obviously cynical he is as a person.”
Sean said ‘Imagine’ was out of character for his father. “He is clearly coming to those ideas with a great effort to overcome his own kind of extreme cynicism and sarcasm about everything,” he said. “It’s very interesting to me because usually, it’s not my favourite song. ‘Gimme Some Truth’ is an even better example of that, though.”
Sean later said that ‘Gimme Some Truth’ actually had more socially relevant lyrics, but John didn’t want to interpret the song for others. “As a message, it transcends tribalism, and I think it’s maybe the most necessary lyric of my dad’s right now,” Sean opined. “That idea of being sick and tired of bullshit, because I don’t know how it got this way.” Sean decided to name the 2020 compilation of his father’s music Gimme Some Truth. The Ultimate Mixes after the song.
Listen to John Lennon’s eternally relevant philosophical classic ‘Gimme Some Truth’ below.