There is a book written by Jon Wiener of the same title revealing a compilation of FBI files on Lennon, who was investigated as a drug user and radical. The FBI feared Lennon would disrupt the Republican National Convention in 1972.
Lennon referred to president Richard Nixon in this song as "trick-dicky," a nickname that became popular during the Watergate hearings. There are many lyrical references to politicians as deceiving, slick, and cowardly characters.
Cover-ups such as the My Lai massacre in Vietnam frustrated Lennon into writing this song, demanding simple truth.
Mother Hubbard in the lyrics refer to the poem, which is itself, a cover-up: "Old Mother Hubbard Went to the cupboard To get her poor doggie a bone, When she got there The cupboard was bare So the poor little doggie had none" The Old Mother Hubbard referred to in this rhyme's words allude to the famous Cardinal Wolsey. Cardinal Thomas Wolsey was the most important statesman and churchman of the Tudor history period in 16th century England. Cardinal Wolsey proved to be a faithful servant but displeased the King, Henry VIII, by failing to facilitate the King's divorce from Queen Katherine of Aragon who had been his queen of many years. The reason for seeking the divorce and hence the creation of the Old Mother Hubbard poem was to enable him to marry Anne Boleyn with whom he was passionately in love. In the Old Mother Hubbard song King Henry was the "doggie" and the "bone" refers to the divorce (and not money as many believe) The cupboard relates to the Catholic Church although the subsequent divorce arranged by Thomas Cramner resulted in the break with Rome and the formation of the English Protestant church and the demise of Old Mother Hubbard - Cardinal Wolsey. Another rhyme reputedly relates to Cardinal Wolsey.
"Soft soap" is slang - It alludes to liquid soap, likening its slippery quality to insincere flattery. Its figurative use was first recorded in 1830. "Yellow-bellied" is slang for cowardly.
Suggestion credit: Mike - Mountlake Terrace, Washington, for all above
Parker from Liverpool, United Kingdomhate this song but like john lennon
Andre from Rio De Janeiro, BrazilThe album Imagine has some of he best Harrison guitar solos!
Breanna from Henderson, NvThis song is always in my head when I know people are lieing to me. John couldn't have made a better song that told it how it is, everyone wants to be told the truth and John had the mind to write a song about it.
Billy from West Unity, OhBack when this song was new, it was quite a political statement. Lennon, in my minds eye, had the balls to tell it like it was!! Ironically not too much has changed over the years.
Heather from Camden, MeGeneration X did a fantastic cover of this song- it fits perfect with the spirit of 1977 and the punk movement
Richard from Talladega, AlSam (Leslie) Phillips did an amazing cover of this to close out her "Martinis & Bikinis" album.
Ariana from Lima, Peruthere´s a nice cover of this song by Dhani Harrison & Jakob Dylan in the album Instant Karma: The Campaign to Save Darfur:)
Ian from Lethbridge, CanadaGreat song! I love the guitar solo!
Rosa from Rialto, CaSaul Hernandez from Jaguares made a KICK ASS version of this song....Love it!!
Pete from Ny, NyThat's George Harrison doing the blistering lead.
Paulo from India, United StatesPearl Jam covered this song live a few times on their '03 tour.
Andy from Halifax, EnglandBoth Ash and Travis have covered this song as b-sides to singles. The Ash version features heavily distorted and barely recognisable vocals.
Elliott from Douglassville, PaThis song was in the works as early as January 1969, during The Beatles' Get Back (later Let It Be) sessions. Bootlegs of them rehearsing include this song, among a few others that would wind up on the Beatles' solo records.