Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 149
Thurs. June 27, 2013

“Mind Games”
John Lennon

1973

“♫ Love
is the
answer
♫”

Wow, when the world is changing as it is today, I wish John Lennon were still alive. Although there have been some setbacks, I wonder what John would think of the world that he left behind. I would love to believe that he and Yoko would have been with the rest of Wendy Davis’ proud followers supporting the Orange Revolution and their “Power to The People” rallying cries from deep in the heart of Austin, Texas. And we can’t forget the Supreme Court’s reversal of DOMA? I would have loved to have seen John & Yoko perform “Mind Games” for all the supporters of Marriage Equality. Why “Mind Games?” The title track has the refrain that needs to be the mantra for our disconnected modern age—“Love is the Answer.”

Keeping with the theme of the activists in Texas, Maryland and California; Lennon’s original title for “Mind Games” was actually a popular slogan from the Sixties as John told to David Sheff in 1980’s All We Are Saying, when he explained “It was originally called Make Love Not War, but that was such a cliché that you couldn’t say it anymore, so I wrote it obscurely, but it’s all the same story. How many times can you say the same thing over and over? When this came out, in the early Seventies, everybody was starting to say the Sixties was a joke, it didn’t mean anything, those love-and-peaceniks were idiots. [Sarcastically] “We all have to face the reality of being nasty human beings who are born evil and everything’s gonna be lousy and rotten so boo-hoo-hoo…” “We had fun in the Sixties,” they said, “but the others took it away from us and spoiled it all for us.” And I was trying to say: “No, just keep doin’ it.” For all our fellow Americans, fighting the good fight for truth, justice against the discriminatory ideals of the far right, Lennon has a message for you that he’s sending with “Mind Games, ““Just keep doing it…”

Lennon wrote “Mind Games” after the commercial and critical panning of his most controversial and overtly political album Some Time in New York City. Lennon attempted to go back to the Imagine style of songwriting where he attempted to sugarcoat his ‘Peace and Love’ message within the colorful rhythmic confines of a four minute pop song. Lennon achieved the chart success of “Imagine” when in 1973; “Mind Games” became a hit single on both sides of the Atlantic.

Did you know that Lennon, a fan of the reggae sound, incorporated some of Bob Marley’s inspirational spirit by adding some Jamaican rhythms flowing through out “Mind Games?” In Bill Harry’s The John Lennon Encyclopedia, the former Beatle said this about recording “Mind Games,” “That was a fun track because the voice is in stereo and the seeming orchestra on it is just me playing three notes on slide guitar. And the middle eight is reggae. Trying to explain to American musicians what reggae was in 1973 was pretty hard.”

What do you think John Lennon would say if he had witnessed the historical events we experience today? As we watch the Orange Revolution in the Capitol halls of the Lone Star State and the reversal of DOMA, we revel in the timely refrain of John’s “Mind Games;” there is no question, today as we celebrate by singing within the glory of his timeless chorus, John will forever echo our belief that— “Love is the [only] answer” for you and I.

With production duties by U2 and Bob Dylan producer Daniel Lanois and available on the 2009 reissue of I Don’t Want What I Haven’t Got, here’s Irish singer/songwriter Sinead O’Connor powerfully stirring rendition of Lennon’s “Mind Games”:

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