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"Gimme Some Truth"
Song by John Lennon

from the album Imagine

Released September 9, 1971 (US)
October 8, 1971 (UK)
Recorded 1971
Genre Hard Rock
Length 3:16
Label Apple/EMI
Writer John Lennon
Producer John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and Phil Spector
Imagine track listing
I Don't Wanna Be a Soldier Mama
(5)
"Gimme Some Truth"
(6)
Oh My Love
(7)

"Gimme Some Truth" is a protest song written and performed by John Lennon from his 1971 album Imagine.

Like several songs on the album, such as the title track "Imagine" ," "Gimme Some Truth" has blatant political references emerging from the time it was written, during the latter years of the Vietnam War.

The song expresses Lennon's frustration with deceptive politicians ("short-haired yellow-bellied sons of Tricky Dicky"), chauvinism ("tight-lipped condescending mommy's little chauvinists"), and acts of military violence such as the My Lai massacre. The song encapsulates the general feeling of the time, when people were heavily participating in protest rallies against the government.

Lennon's dig at US President Richard Nixon, referring to him in the lyrics of the song as "Tricky Dicky," proved to be increasingly relevant after the song's release, when in 1972 the Watergate scandal erupted. "Tricky Dicky" became a popular nickname for Nixon during the Watergate hearings, and came into widespread usage.

The song references the nursery rhyme "Old Mother Hubbard," using the rhyme's content (about a woman going to get her dog a bone, only to discover that her cupboard is empty) as a political parallel to the events of the day, a practice that goes all the way back to when the rhyme was originally printed in 1805. The song also alludes to "soft soap," using it as a slang term for liquid soap, likening its slippery qualities to a politician trying to quell public unrest with insincere praise.

Origins

Work on the song began as early as January 1969 during The Beatles' Get Back sessions, which would eventually evolve into Let It Be. Bootleg recordings of the group performing songs that would eventually go onto the members' solo recordings feature a few performances of "Gimme Some Truth."

Facts

  • John Lennon's fellow former Beatle George Harrison plays lead guitar on the song, with Klaus Voormann (a longtime friend of the Beatles and designer of the cover for their Revolver album) on bass.
  • A 2000 direct-to-video documentary film showing the recording sessions and evolution of Imagine took its title, Gimme Some Truth: The Making of John Lennon's Imagine Album, from this song.
  • John Wiener took the title of this song for his 1999 book, Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI Files, about Lennon's problems with the government in the 1970s.
  • The song has been covered by: Primal Scream (as a B-side to their 'Country Girl' single in 2006); Ash (as B-side to 'Angel Interceptor in 1995); The Wonder Stuff (released on the expanded version of album 'Hup'); Travis (as B-side to 'More Than Us' in 1998); and Generation X (as B-side to 'King Rocker' in 1978).
  • On the album Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur, The Wallflowers' frontman Jakob Dylan (son of Bob Dylan) covers the song and Dhani Harrison (Son of George Harrison) reprises his father's role in the song. The Mexican group Jaguares makes another cover version included on the same album.
  • In The Polyphonic Spree's 2007 tour for The Fragile Army, they opened their show with the song playing while projecting the lyrics on a piece of fabric strung across the front of the stage.
  • Pearl Jam has covered this song on some of their live shows, more notably on the third leg of their 2003 tour. After finishing the song in Madison Square Garden, Eddie Vedder acknowledged the strength and courage the people of New York showed after the attacks of 9/11.

External links

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