Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 182
Tues. July 30, 2013
I just can’t see it, can you imagine, in 1969 John Lennon, fresh off his creative partnership with Yoko Ono, lobbied for “Cold Turkey” to be the next Beatles single and for inclusion on Abbey Road? According to Paul Du Noyer’s John Lennon: The Stories Behind Every Song: 1970-1980, Paul, George and Ringo rejected John’s suggestions which forced Lennon to release “Cold Turkey” as a solo single under the moniker Plastic Ono Band.
Would “Cold Turkey” have fit brilliantly at the end of Abbey Road’s Side One, after Lennon’s one epic “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)?” Just the thought of Lennon’s one…two punches of “Heavy” and “Cold Turkey” closing the first side of The Beatles’ swan song would have been simply legendary. It has been well documented that Lennon was never a fan of Paul’s ‘Brian Wilson and Sgt. Pepper’s inspired’ medley on the Side Two of Abbey Road. To appease John, The Beatles decided to have the first side reflect Lennon’s wishes to have an album of unrelated songs. If John had truly got his way, “Cold Turkey” would have definitely replaced “Revolution 9” in becoming the most controversial song in the Beatles catalog.
If “Cold Turkey” was released by The Beatles, it would have been remembered for being the second Fab Four song to feature Eric Clapton on guitar, the other song being “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Speaking of weeping, because of his addictive primal scream like guitar riffs, Slow hand is the star of “Cold Turkey.” Eric Clapton’s heavy guitar licks match Lennon’s desperation vocal howls bringing the harrow experience of drug withdrawal to life on vinyl.
Besides “Revolution 9,” “Cold Turkey” is probably one of the most difficult John Lennon songs to get through. What I love about John Lennon is that he wasn’t afraid to show the true shadow of his existence. Good, bad, in love, angry—we heard the different sides of Lennon from songs like “Cold Turkey.” Maybe it was the best thing that The Beatles rejected “Cold Turkey” as a single and from inclusion of Abbey Road. Regardless, the life of this Plastic Ono Band cut reflects the true effects of drug addiction. Be careful, John’s song is definitely not for the squeamish. And, beware… one taste of Lennon’s “Cold Turkey” and you might just be hooked.