John Lennon, “I Found Out” from Plastic Ono Band (1970): One Track Mind

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All of the raw emotions surrounding his own disillusionment with the decade, the band, and the youth that John Lennon was now leaving behind erupt into scalding series of recriminations on “I Found Out,” released on Dec. 11, 1970 as part of Plastic Ono Band.

Here – and on the equally propulsive “Gimme Some Truth,” a Beatles-era demo finished for 1971’s Imagine – Lennon doesn’t simply take parting shots. He lashes out, tearing to shreds everything in which he once placed his faith.

It’s the scuzzy, street-fighting heart of an album that remains one of the most remarkable musical — and personal — statements ever issued by a major recording artist. And it sounds as angry as it is, as John Lennon unleashes a series of distorted, slashing riffs over a chugging rhythm courtesy of Klaus Voormann and former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr. Phil Spector was credited as producer on the date but is perhaps no where less present, so nervy and unfettered is this track.

Elsewhere, Lennon confronted demons, talismans and heroes on songs like “Mother,” “Working Class Hero” and “God,” but he never rocked harder on Plastic Ono Band than he does on “I Found Out.” If those other justifiably well-regarded moments presented tough-minded questions about John Lennon’s (and, of course, our) relationships with such things, then “I Found Out” simply demolished them.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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  • Kit O’Toole

    One of my favorite Lennon tracks! Nice article, Nick!

  • Siegel – New York

    Lennon never equaled this album afterwards. There is not a filler song or non-essential song on this LP (probably the only solo-Beatles other than BandOnTheRun I can give this compliment to.)

    I love this album.
    Klaus’ bass and Ringo’s drumming are exceptional to the songs.

    1970 was the greatest of all solo-Beatle years. Best Lennon LP he’d ever release, Best Harrison he’d ever release, and McCartney never surpassed “Maybe I’m Amazed”. And Ringo recorded perhaps his best solo song, “It Don’t Come Easy”.

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