Walls And Bridges

John Lennon

Apple, 1974


REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Walls And Bridges was created and recorded during John Lennon’s separation from Yoko Ono, a period that Lennon later termed his “Lost Weekend.” While they later got back together in 1975, for one glorious album, there was no Yoko around.

John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine remain John Lennon’s strongest albums with Walls And Bridges being a cut below. While many of the lyrics express his longing for the temporarily departed Ono, the music was some of the best pop he would produce during his solo career.

“Going Down On Love” is a personal song that shows a longing for his missing partner. It is cloaked in accessible music and sets the tone for what will follow. I’m sure that I’m in company with many other people who have never understood the Yoko Ono infatuation. Here he has some freedom and a new relationship with former assistant May Pang, yet a number of the songs show Lennon pining for lost love.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Lennon follows this personal first track with one his most accessible songs and the only single release to top the American charts during his lifetime. “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night” is a joyous romp and about as poppish as he would ever get. Interestingly Lennon did not particularly like the song and thought it a poor choice for a single release. He bet Elton John that if the song was successful he would join him on stage at one of Elton’s live shows. Lennon kept his word and appeared at the concert on November 28, 1974 in Madison Square Garden. It was to be the last time that he performed before an audience.

Old Dirt Road” was the third good song in a row to begin the album. It is a beautiful and sensitive ballad about being lost.

Following its auspicious beginning, the album has some highs and lows. “Sacred” may be John Lennon’s best vocal on this release. “#9 Dream” is a nice mid-tempo song with a wonderful structure and continued Lennon’s fascination with that number. On the downside, “Beef Jerky” is the only instrumental that Lennon issued on a studio album and is basically filler. “Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down and Out)” pales next to the version contained on his Anthology album. Meanwhile, “Ya-Ya” is one of the worst tracks on any Lennon release. Such songs as “What You Got,” “Bless You,” and “Steel and Glass” are not terrible, but neither are they outstanding and they just sort of disappear into his catalogue.

Walls And Bridges contains some gems that can be mined. Overall, it remains a pleasurable listening experience, and while not the best album of Lennon’s career, it certainly can be considered above average.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


John's "cover" of a fragment of Lee Dorsey's "Ya-Ya" is throwaway studio shenanigans -- a little like "Maggie May" on the Beatles' Let It Be album -- that let John put his son Julian on record for the first time. Not great, certainly, but too brief and innocuous, IMHO, to warrant a slam as "one of the worst tracks on any Lennon release." If nothing else, it made me curious about the great original track, which is well worth seeking out.

Oh, and FWIW, I love "Beef Jerky" (the tune, not the food). To each his own...

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