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Angela by John Lennon

Album: Some Time in New York CityReleased: 1972
  • "Angela" is far from the only song about Angela Davis; "Sweet Black Angel" by the Rolling Stones is also about her. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2
  • Written by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and running to around 4 minutes 6 seconds, this was written for Angela Davis, widely and erroneously believed to have been a political prisoner. Angela Yvonne Davis came from a fairly privileged background, albeit in the racially segregated Birmingham, Alabama.

    Embracing Communism, she traveled widely in Europe, becoming fluent in French. In January 1970, small time punk and Soledad Prison inmate George Jackson was charged along with two others with the murder of a prison guard. On August 7, Jackson's younger brother Jonathan entered the Marin County courthouse armed to the teeth, took a judge hostage, and freed three black prisoners. The resulting shootout left Jackson, the judge and two others dead. The guns Jonathan Jackson used were owned by Angela Davis, who fled the state. While on the FBI's ten most wanted list, she was arrested in New York City, and at her trial she was acquitted by an all-white jury.

    "Angela, they put you in prison
    Angela, they shot down your man."

    Yes, they did. George Jackson was gunned down like the dog he was in a bizarre escape attempt, which prompted Dylan to write a somewhat fanciful song about him.

    After her surprising acquittal, Angela Davis wrote a series of books about race, class, women and the so-called prison industrial-complex, and became Professor of the History of Human Consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Lennon of course would not live to see this, but he would undoubtedly have been pleased.
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