What John Lennon Thinks of Donald Trump

In the last few days, two people close to me have said they’ve found John’s “Gimme Some Truth” to be a tonic right now, even a cathartic. But this is the Lennon song that came to my mind, a day or two after the worst cataclysm to befall America since 9/11, and I’ve been listening to it several times a day.

Coming from 1974, it’s a demo of the song from John’s Walls and Bridges album. As we know, it was written about ex-Beatles manager Allen Klein. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s a hot curse from the grave, a shot across the bow of the Bloated Goon, that person identified on his birth certificate as Donald Trump.

Listen especially to one line near the end that twists on Disney figures: an improvisation unique to this version.

This feels like a nutrient for the work ahead.

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  1. Avatar Linda S. wrote:

    I’m still stunned by the unspeakable turn of events. Among the thoughts I entertain while I try to get my sea-legs again: A great big “What If?” Namely, what if John had not died at age 40? What if he had still been among us during the past election campaign ordeal? I wonder how much influence he might have brought to bear to affect the outcome on November 8, 2016….

  2. Avatar Ruthie Rader wrote:

    Thank you for bringing this particular video to my attention. I am going to include it in a post in my own blog

    You see, I am in Oregon.


  3. Avatar Mike Taylor wrote:

    “You say you got a real solution?
    But when you want money for people with minds that hate
    All I can tell is brother you have to wait.”

    Problem is, I’m not sure I believe the next line any more:

    “Don’t you know it’s gonna be all right”

  4. Avatar Water Falls wrote:

    I was 99% so sure that “the travasty” wouldn’t happen. Aware that the 1% uncertainty that kept swirling around in my head as a horrific possibility, I pushed the terrifying thought from my mind and tried to remain positive.
    I knew that a lot of people didn’t like and were suspicious of “her” after being fed negative messages about her for 25 plus years. The ridiculous labels, “Hell-ery, Hitler-y, Kill-ery”. Still compared to “him” who actually boasted of “…grabbing women by the pussy…planting unwanted kisses…getting away with it because of celebrity.” Boasting “I could shoot someone in the middle of Time Square and nothing would happen.” (Shades of Cheney shooting a friend in the face and the friend apologizing for being in the way!) How very Soviet era Putin-ish, I thought.
    After the Dubya years, surely we in this country wouldn’t want to return to something like that. We’re not that dumbed down yet, surely. But my computer gently wept as I watched the election night returns. I decided as a woman of color, I could only do what I’ve been doing and that is to be as strong as I can be, and continue on in life the best I can, life can be a struggle for most of us non elites (whatever our race or gender) this would be no different. Hope for the best and hope that “he” may surprise us and be much better than we think (it could happen…but I have my doubts)
    If John Lennon were alive and still had the mindset that he had as a young liberal leaning man of much opinion, who knows. He’d probably want us to ‘Remember’ ‘What You Got’ during the Dubya years and ask ‘How Do You Sleep’? wonder if we are ‘Scared’ and tell us we’re all in for some ‘Instant Karma’ and that we have been down this ‘Old Dirt Road’ before, not to wonder ‘How?’ we got here, I and ‘You Are Here’, don’t complain that ‘It’s So Hard’ or ‘Imagine’ ‘God’ to ‘Bless You’, or expect salvation from one elected man. ‘Only People, ‘Out The Blue’. free from ‘Isolation’, not ‘Crippled Inside’ or only ‘Watching The Wheels or just playing ‘Mind Games’ willing to do the work of many a ‘Working Class Hero’, ‘Tight A$’ things may get, we all must do ‘Whatever Gets You Through The Night’. ‘Nobody Told Me’ but ‘I Found Out, that if you are ‘Born In Prison’ and want to be ‘Free As A Bird’, use ‘What You Got’. What is that? you might ask, well ‘Hold On’ and I’ll tell you. God gave ‘Power To The People, to ‘Bring On The Lucie (Freda Peeple) I Know, I Know, sounds all pie in the sky but I use my ‘Intuition’ because ‘I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier’ in another senseless, war of choice except MY choice. No old ‘Scumbag’ whomever he/she may be is gonna change my world. ‘Well Well Well’, ‘Look At Me’ talking all tough with nerves of ‘Steel And Glass’, but in truth ‘I Don’t Wanna Face It’, but I will because this ‘Woman’ is gonna do whatever it takes to survive this until we are all just ‘Cold Turkey’.
    I know this little adolescent exercise is so corny, but it was something to do to make me laugh instead of cry.

  5. Avatar Linda S. wrote:

    @Water Falls
    Made ME laugh (a little…) too! Well done. Still, song titles aside, I seriously do feel, in my heart of hearts (and for all the good it does– none) that if John were yet among us, things just couldn’t have come to the not-pretty pass in which we’re now reeling. John probably wouldn’t appreciate this sort of investment of faith in himself. Doesn’t change this: I’m convinced of my ‘what if?’

  6. Avatar Hologram Sam wrote:

    Robbie Robertson got an up-close look at John Lennon’s custom-made joints-in-disguise.

    After spending so much time with Bob Dylan in the mid-Sixties, Robertson ended up getting to know the Beatles, meeting them several times on various tours. When Robertson hung out with the group after their show in Toronto in August 1966, Lennon showed Robertson his custom-made joints disguised as a Lark cigarette. “Let me show you a little trick,” Lennon told Robertson, before revealing his intricately designed contraption. “Beatles have to take precautions.” “I could only conclude,” Robertson writes, “that John had someone make the cigarette and package them exactly as they would in a factory. Must be good to be a Beatle.”

  7. Like all Beatles fans, I would like to hope that Lennon would be opposing Trump if he were alive right now, but I’ve always been bothered by the support he voiced for Ronald Reagan in his last interview with Rolling Stone.

  8. Avatar Hologram Sam wrote:

    I’ve always been bothered by the support he voiced for Ronald Reagan in his last interview

    Lennon was involved in left-wing politics to the very end. In November 1980, he offered a public statement of support to union workers striking for higher wages from the company that made Kikkoman soy sauce:

    “We are with you in spirit. . . . In this beautiful country where democracy is the very foundation of its constitution, it is sad that we have to still fight for equal rights and equal pay for the citizens. Boycott it must be, if it is the only way to bring justice and restore the dignity of the constitution for the sake of all citizens of the US and their children.”

    Peace and love, John Lennon and Yoko Ono. New York City, December, 1980.


  9. Avatar Hologram Sam wrote:

    Lennon on “Not Only… But Also”

  10. The support for Reagan should be put into context. They had met and Reagan was friendly to John and they mostly talked about football. John wanted to learn about it so Reagan spent time explaining the NFL to him. Compared to when he met Jimmy Carter, who was rather rude and wouldn’t give Lennon the time of day (remember Carter is/was a bit of a southern baptist square). That was what influenced his opinion of Reagan. I find it very unlikely that he would have had nice things to say though about the Reagan Administration had he lived, especially with regard to Iran-Contra. I think if he were alive today, John would’ve been an enthusiastic backer of Sanders (and he’d probably be an American citizen by now as well since he wanted to remain settled in NYC), especially over issues like the environment. I don’t believe he’d be very fond of Trump or the Republican Party that exists today. He considered Reagan a friend which is why he voiced his support.

    • That’s very interesting, @Laurence; of course the tragedy is that we’ll never know. But I think you’re undervaluing something quite important: Lennon’s wealth, and his fear of losing it. He was growing older, and richer, and for all his admirable political stances, remained staunchly (almost defiantly) capitalist until the day he died. In fact, he was quite peevish in those late interviews when it was suggested that there was a dissonance between his politics and his personal conduct. Unlike many rock stars, John didn’t even want to perform for free, no matter the cause.

      From what we know of his and Yoko’s financial activities in the Dakota period, they were acting aggressively to protect their fortune, buying things like real estate and dairy cows as hedges against inflation. Lennon was very interested in staying rich, and Yoko certainly had a competitive thing going with Paul, money-wise, which has persisted over the years.

      I would like to think that John would have been politically progressive in the way you suggest. However, we must acknowledge that his last public statements were in support of Reagan, and that surprised and disappointed people. Reagan had run against the very Sixties culture that Lennon embodied, and had just been elected on a platform that was the opposite of progressive. But Reagan was thought to be a better steward of the economy than Carter had been, especially as regards inflation, which was the only possible thing that could’ve made John Lennon have to work for a living. I think John, like a lot of rich folks in 1980, were slowly realizing that their portfolios and their ideals were pulling in two different directions, and I suspect he, like most of his generation, would’ve spent the 80s pursuing money and justifying that.

      I agree he would’ve had no time for Reagan’s militarism, his brutally callous response to AIDS, and for right-wing chicanery like Iran-Contra. But had he survived the assassination attempt, I think John Lennon would not have spent another hour in New York City, or anywhere else in America. I think he would’ve immediately moved to England or Japan, both of which have gun control. And I think he would’ve made George look positively friendly as regards security; John’s relationship with fans was always love-hate, and the moment he felt physical threat, he would’ve overcorrected in the other direction.

      If only, right? 🙂

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