Nobody Told Me

Album: Milk And Honey (1984)
Charted: 6 5
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • 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

    >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Andy - Arlington, VA
  • A different take was released on the 1998 John Lennon Anthology set.
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 19

  • Tania from Brisbane, AustraliaI’ll likely be shot for saying this, but there’s a piano part of this that sounds similar to something Mike Oldfield recorded in 1972 for Tubular Bells. Given that they’re both British artists, it could be that Lennon was inspired by it. I just need to find my copy of Tubular Bells to point out the portion I’m talking about, it’s only maybe 6-7 bars, but yeah!
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 17, 1984, a music video of John Lennon's "Nobody Told Me" was aired on the Dick Clark ABC-TV Saturday-afternoon program, 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time the song was at #9 on Billboard's Top 100 chart, two weeks earlier it had peaked at #5 {for 1 week} and it spent fourteen weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #4 in Canada and #6 in both the United Kingdom and Australia...
    Between 1969 and 1985 he, as a solo artist, had seventeen records on the Top 100 chart, eight made the Top 10 with two reaching #1, "Whatever Gets You Thru The Night" for 1 week on November 10th, 1974 and "(Just Like) Starting Over" for 5 weeks on December 21st, 1980...
    He had two records peak at #3, "Instant Karma!" {1970} and "Imagine" {1971}...
    John Lennon passed away at the young age of 40 on December 8th, 1980...
    May he and George, R.I.P.
    * He just missed having a third #1 record when his "Woman" peaked at #2 {for 3 weeks} on March 15th, 1981.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 17th 1984, a video of "Nobody Told Me" by John Lennon was aired on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 6th 1984, Polydor Records released "Nobody Told Me" by John Lennon and nine days later on January 15th it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on February 25th it peaked at #5 (for 1 week)...
    It reached #4 in Canada and in both Australia & the U.K. it peaked at #6...
    Was track five on side one of his 8th and final studio album, 'Milk and Honey', and album peaked at #11 on Billboard's Top 200 albums chart...
    One other track from the album also made the Top 100, "I'm Stepping Out", it reached #55...
    R.I.P. Mr. Lennon (1940 - 1980).
  • Wayne from New Haven, CtJohn didnt write & Record this 5 months after he died....How?????
    It was RELEASED 5months after he died!
    Meaning he wrote & recorded this tune BEFORE
    he went on to his "new" life....
  • Funkspiel from Cambridge, MaI've seen several UFO over NYC but usually Lucy was involved.
  • Breanna from Henderson, NvDude Holly, John died December 8, 1980, so I have no idea how he would write a song about something that happened more than 5 months after his death, inless he faked his own death.
  • Barry from New York, NcI think that in John Lennon's Dakota apartment he actually had a bathroom below the stairs. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to visit the apartment to find out for sure? I have a feeling it's one nice apartment. And one nice bathroom!
  • Roy from Granbania, MaAs it turns out, John Lennon was always fascinated with UFO's, even going as far as to subscribe to a British magazine called the "Flying Saucer Review" as early as the late 60's. If you are as interested with Lennon's UFO encounter as I am, you should go to this site: http://www.mara.org.uk/John%20Lennon%20UFO.htm It includes an interview with May Pang, who supposedly saw the UFO, and she is not shy about the incident. She even says that it was not John's first encounter with a UFO!
  • Jeff from Austin, TxHolly in Aus, John was dead in 1981, so that probably isn't true.
  • Holly from Mackay, AustraliaThe line 'There's nazis in the bathroom just below the stairs' refers to the bombing in 1981, May 16th, in the toilets at the Pan Am terminal at New York's JFK Airport
  • Madison from Norway, MeI don't know if that part about the UFO is true or not. There a picture that exists of John standing by the Statue of Liberty and he is pointing at the sky. He is supposed to be indicating exactly where he saw the UFO.
  • Ken from Louisville, KyThe reason why the quality was so good on this recording - while the majority of John's "Milk and Honey" songs were taken from cassette demos - was that John recorded it in the studio with his voice on a separate track, so Ringo could come in in January 1981 and lay down his own vocals over the backing provided by John's studio band.
  • Malicious Matt from SquatneyI think its a great song, myself.
  • Rosario from Buenos Aires, United Statesexcelent song.. you can smell the good karma all over the place while listening!!!!!!! the video is excellent too
  • Ken from Louisville, KyThe line "There's UFO's over New York/And I ain't too surprised" was taken from an actual incidnt. In 1974, John and his lover May Pang 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!". John ever wrote a liner note on his "Walls And Bridges" album cover "I saw a UFO, JL, NYC, 1974."
  • Zack from Dublin, OhThis is the opening song in the preview for The U.S vs. John Lennon movie
  • Chris from Paradise, Ctjohn lennon is my hero
  • Asef from Silkeborg, DenmarkIn early 1980 Ringo Starr startet recording sessions for His album "Stop and smell the roses". With a little help from His freinds John,Paul and george the project was to be the first in many years including all the four beatles members. John wrote two songs for Ringo: "Life begins at 40" and "Nobody told me". Lennon was also sopouse to produce the songs and the recording of these songs was to begin December the 8th. but the plans were ruined by the murder of Lennon. Lennons own version of "Nobody told me" where to be found on the "Milk and Honey" album from 1984.
see more comments

Billy Gould of Faith No MoreSongwriter Interviews

Faith No More's bassist, Billy Gould, chats to us about his two new experimental projects, The Talking Book and House of Hayduk, and also shares some stories from the FNM days.

Boz ScaggsSongwriter Interviews

The "Lowdown" and "Lido Shuffle" singer makes a habit of playing with the best in the business.

Motley CrueFact or Fiction

Was Dr. Feelgood a dentist? Did the "Crüecifixion" really happen?

Harry ShearerSongwriter Interviews

Harry is Derek Smalls in Spinal Tap, Mark Shubb in The Folksmen, and Mr. Burns on The Simpsons.

Annie Haslam of RenaissanceSongwriter Interviews

The 5-octave voice of the classical rock band Renaissance, Annie is big on creative expression. In this talk, she covers Roy Wood, the history of the band, and where all the money went in the '70s.

James Williamson of Iggy & the StoogesSongwriter Interviews

The Stooges guitarist (and producer of the Kill City album) talks about those early recordings and what really happened with David Bowie.