Nobody Told Me: Lennon’s Demo Evolution and Flaming Lips’ Tribute

John Lennon’s “Nobody Told Me” began as “Everybody’s Talkin'” (or possibly just “Everybody”) in 1975 with a completely different refrain (hear it at 0:57 in the video below) – making it perhaps the earliest song from his “house-husband” years. The final lyrics are a humorous mesh of frustrations and situations from bizarre inspirations – including a fan John met in Central Park whose tortuous, “nazi” father would hide under the stairs to scare her out of going to the bathroom when she was a girl, J. Milton Hayes’ poem “The Green Eye of the Yellow God”, and the UFO John had previously claimed to witness on August 23, 1974 (“strange days indeed”).

While working on Jack Douglas’ demo tape (1:39) for his comeback album (what became Double Fantasy) in Bermuda (early summer 1980) John recorded several variations (2:53) of the most commonly known demo version (one of which was officially released this year as a remastered edit on the “Home Tape” disc of the Signature Box). Though at one point intended for Ringo’s next LP (Stop and Smell the Roses), it was recorded with John’s comeback band during the Double Fantasy sessions (4:39). While not included on that album, an official studio version was released in 1984 as the first of several posthumous “new” John Lennon singles. It was a hit — peaking at #5 – and since then has become perhaps the most loved Lennon song left unfinished before his passing (an alternate studio version was released in 1998 on “Anthology” 5:39). The Flaming Lips memorably covered it (7:53) in 1995 for the “Working Class Hero” tribute album coinciding with the 15th anniversary year of John’s death and 65th of his birth.

Lips’ frontman Wayne Coyne told Rolling Stone magazine at that time (RS March 9, 1995), “I don’t know how anybody who is interested in music could deny being influenced by John Lennon.”

For songs of the day, music news, Lennon updates, Flaming Lips quotes and more…

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