The January issue of UNCUT is on sale now, featuring an all-star panel of musicians selecting their favourite song by the late Beatle John Lennon.
Which Lennon song “flipped out” Brian Wilson when he first heard it?
Which one reminds Arctic Monkey Alex Turner of his mum and dad?
And when we asked The Who‘s Roger Daltrey for his favourite, what on earth led him to conclude: “I can see why people go completely mad in this business.”?
And there’s many, many brilliant contributions from the likes of Yoko Ono, John Cale, John Lydon, Jarvis Cocker and Liam Gallagher.
Meanwhile, Uncut.co.uk will be running online exclusives throughout the month, today is Alan McGee‘s pick.
Coming up: Richmond Fontaine‘s Willy Vlautin, Josh Ritter, Roy Wood and more will be picking out their favourite tracks.
“WELL, WELL, WELL”
From the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band album (December 1970)
It’s my favourite off the Plastic Ono Band record. It’s just so to the point. He’d been doing Primal Therapy. But that also really suited the way he sang. He was able to make his voice break up and splinter in a way that sounded attractive and soulful. He could belt it out like Beefheart or Robert Plant, but he could also sing beautiful, high harmonies like the Beach Boys.
The great strength of John Lennon is the number of emotional layers that are in him. On the surface he was funny, then underneath he was nasty, and then under that he was really sad. There’s so many feelings in his voice. And he could write pop songs – but he could also sing really heavy blues. And “Well, Well, Well” is one of the great blues rants.
The lyrics just shrug at times – “Oh, well”. Because what can you do? He’s not singing about, “Man, we’re gonna change things.” He’s saying, “Well, here we are, wandering around talking – who gives a shit?” It always makes me cry. It connects with an emotional truth, which is how sad living is, and how fucked up. But it doesn’t pontificate about it. Instead it’s a vehicle for his voice. If Neil Young had written that, it would have sounded like a cat being boiled. You have to have that kind of voice, to get away with that kind of song. To me that is absolutely the perfect rock vocal. It’s not a tumescent bellow, it’s a soulful, wounded bellow. It’s a human elephant heading for the graveyard. There’s been nothing like it before or since.
Plus! What do you think Lennon’s greatest song is? You can vote for your choice, and tell us why, by clicking here for the special poll. We’ll be publishing your choices in a future issue of Uncut, along with a reader Top 10. VOTE HERE!