John Lennon, “Nobody Loves You” from Walls and Bridges (1974): One Track Mind

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When John Lennon returned in 1980 with some of the most melodic, contented sounds of his solo career, that gave greater weight to an earlier tune like “Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down and Out).” Arriving on Sept. 26, 1974 as part of Walls and Bridges, it stands as one of the more memorable indictments on rock music’s curious tendency toward necrophilia.

And, of course, an eerie prophesy of his own fate.

Then exiled on the other side of the country from Yoko Ono and New York City, John Lennon finally and completely opened himself to an elemental fear of isolation that he once angrily confronted on his initial solo release. A moment of brutal honesty, there is none of the closed-fist bravado that marked Lennon’s recordings of five years before. Instead, John Lennon submits to the roiling emotions sparked by endings.

I’m still struck by Lennon’s willingness to strip himself bare. These days, most overlook Walls and Bridges because of its period-piece studio tricks. Yet John Lennon remains in complete control of a lyric — and, by 1974, he was being just as hard on himself as he is on everybody else.

Finally, in a harrowing moment that defines “Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down and Out),” John Lennon admits: “Everybody loves you when you’re six foot in the ground.” Not without moments like these, they don’t.

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