Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: Milk And HoneyReleased: 1984Charted:
John Lennon wrote this song in 1976 with the working title "Everybody's Talkin', Nobody's Talkin'." He recorded the song at the sessions for his 1980 album Double Fantasy, but decided not to include it on the set, giving it to his Beatles bandmate Ringo Starr instead.
Ringo was going to record the song for his 1981 album Stop And Smell The Roses, but when Lennon was shot and killed on December 8, 1980, he didn't fell comfortable recording it.
Lennon's recording finally surfaced in 1984 when it was released as a single and included on Milk And Honey, an album comprised of songs recorded during the Double Fantasy sessions that didn't make the cut. It was a big posthumous hit, reaching the Top 10 in both the US and UK.
Yoko Ono called this "kind of a fun song." She told Uncut in 1998: "I think that especially around that time he felt that again, the world had lost its course, its direction. I really think that it's to do with, not confusion but starting to learn that life is always gonna be a mystery."
The mention of the "Little yellow idol to the north of Katmandu" comes from the poem The Green Eye of the Yellow God by J. Milton Hayes. The first stanza runs:
There's a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Kathmandu
There's a little marble cross below the town
There's a broken-hearted woman tends the grave of Mad Carew
And the Yellow God forever gazes down
(thanks, Kent - Pittsfield, IL)
The line, "There's a UFO over New York and I ain't too surprised" was taken from an actual incident. In 1974, John and his lover May Pang (during his separation from Yoko) were living in an apartment overlooking New York's East River, when John saw what he thought was a UFO. According to Pang, John yelled out the window "come back - take me!" (Thanks Ken, Louisville, KY)
The video for the song was pieced together from home movies of John, Yoko, and baby Sean. (thanks, Andy - Arlington, VA)
A different take was released on the 1998 John Lennon Anthology set.