Night Music: The Beatles, “The Ballad of John and Yoko”

I’m moved to defend this one by my Remnant compatriot Gene, who ripped it a new one earlier today.

I think Gene is totally wrong. This is the last song credited to the Beatles to attain No. 1. It is a reminder that celebrity had a lot to do with the band’s dissolution, as did Yoko and Linda.

Whatever. I love this song, an early pop song about how being a pop star isn’t always excellent. That’s meta, but prescient, too. And it bops and hops away.

I guess if you hate Yoko this tune is a challenge, but in the history of the Beatles this is the final stab at collective myth making. And that myth making was from the heart.

Only the world was watching.

2 thoughts on “Night Music: The Beatles, “The Ballad of John and Yoko”

  1. Funny, I’ve given a good bit of thought to this song lately. It’s on “Past Masters Volume 2,” easily my favorite of my three “new” Beatle albums (even though it’s not even a real album).

    Back when I was atop the local country cover band world (believe me, it takes a top-notch, bona fide, serious musician like meeself to fill big shoes like that) it was mandatory to play a cha-cha or two for the lemming line dancers. We played Brooks & Dunn “Neon Moon” and Garth Brooks “Two Pina Coladas” and Alan Jackson “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” among many others along the way. (No I’m not gonna clutter up this site with the youtubes.)

    When I heard “Ballad” I thought, “Damn, why didn’t I think to phase into this for a while during one of them there cha cha’s?” (That’s how I speak when I talk country; Peter is probably weeping.)

    For one, it’s the kind of thing we’d regularly do, to spice up a country pop cover band as best we could and, even better, it would’ve been a total hoot for me to holler out “they’re gonna crucify me” in the middle of a mindless country line dance.

    (“Hoot” and “holler” in the same sentence about country. What a writer, man, what a writer.)

  2. In an attempt to hang on to my last thread of credibility, I feel compelled to add that I never played any godawful Jimmy Buffett (godawful Jimmy Buffett includes all Jimmy Buffett). Had to draw the line somewhere.

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