Nostalgic News: John Lennon’s Double Fantasy was released 40 years ago

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There’s absolutely nobody with a more successful and iconic career in the music and songwriting industry than John Lennon. Lennon and McCartney’s songwriting partnership is still, to this day, one of the most successful in music history. And for good reason, Lennon is a global icon that continues to permeate the creative industries to no end and has evidently passed on his musical traits to his two sons Julian and Sean.

You for sure know the album cover for Double Fantasy, which has turned the big ‘four-oh’ this year, the black and white picture of John and Yoko embracing on the front may cause some controversy amongst fans with acquired tastes toward Yoko Ono, but the art cover reflects the joint production of the album, Miss Ono features on over half the tracks and has multiple solo tracks which…is an interesting choice for the album.

Originally the album was a pretty negative affair as at the time of its release it was attacked and harked by critics as being a display of narcissism and idealism of John and Yoko’s marriage. However, three weeks after the album’s release, Lennon was murdered on December 8th which sent fans and the industry into mourning and shock resulting in many reviews being withheld.

But now, 40 years later, the album Double Fantasy has some of the most iconic and most-loved Lennon tracks. ‘(Just Like) Starting Over’ which is the first track on the album starts with high pitched wind-chime like notes that seem extremely sharp and crisp. But the stand-out track is the moving and emotional ‘Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)’ which Lennon dedicated to his son Sean, who was just five years old at the time of his father’s untimely tragic death. ‘Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) holds an absurd amount of emotional worth as Lennon sings about seeing his son ‘coming of age’ which of course, heart-wrenchingly, never happened. It’s a song that undoubtedly expresses a father’s love for his son and the pride of being a parent ‘the monster’s gone, he’s on the run and your daddy’s here’ is one of the most poignant lyrics that never fail to tug at the heartstrings and bring a tear to the eye. Lennon may not have been the most savoury of characters and, if you believe all the tales from his Beatles days, he seemed to be a drama queen of sorts in an obnoxious way, but this record has a certain playful joy to it which makes the sinister darker side that more daunting and harrowing. ‘Woman’ is another iconic track on the record which while being a love song obviously dedicated to Yoko, threw up controversy on idealising their marriage and the life they had made. But now, its a love song that is featured on many soppy compilation albums and is a record that is fondly hummed or whistled along with ‘Jealous Guy’ from Lennon’s 1971 album Imagine. 

This is, of course, not what I would consider as Lennon’s best solo studio album, nevertheless, it bears incredible emotional weight and has a way of evoking the most conflicting of emotions causing the coalescence of joy and emotional pain. Being the final album of the musical legend, it marks the end of an era for the industry and acts as a painful reminder for fans that this was the last original content from Lennon himself. I can’t help but wonder what we would’ve seen from Lennon had he still been with us after 8th December 1980.

Double Fantasy is available for streaming on Spotify and all other streaming platforms, check out Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) below. 

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classic culture editor 20/21. third year english student with unhealthy shakespeare, hannibal lecter, robert plant and 70s nostalgia obsession.

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