“Jealous Guy” - John Lennon



Jealous Guy is a song written and performed by John Lennon which first appeared on his 1971 album "Imagine." It is one of the most commonly covered Lennon songs, with at least ninety-two recorded cover versions by musicians like Donny Hathaway, the Black Crowes, Jeff Tweedy, Peter Criss (of KISS), and Deftones.

The song's genesis came in India, after The Beatles attended a lecture by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi about a "son of the mother nature". This inspired both Paul McCartney and John Lennon to write songs about the same subject. McCartney's composition "Mother Nature's Son" was selected for The Beatles (the White Album), while Lennon's song "Child of Nature" was not. After that, Lennon continued to play it into the Get Back sessions. Eventually, the lyrics were scrapped and replaced by the now well known "Jealous Guy" lyrics for Imagine.

According to the Jealous Guy Songfacts, Joey Molland and Tom Evans of the band Badfinger both played acoustic guitar on this track. Badfinger were signed to the Beatles-run Apple label and George Harrison recommended to Lennon, "if you need some guitar players on Imagine, use the Badfinger guys."

"Jealous Guy" was released as a single with "Going Down on Love" (a track from Walls and Bridges) as the B-side in the United Kingdom in November 1985. It reached number 65 in the charts.

A promotional video was made for the song in 1971. It showed, mostly in a continuous overhead shot by helicopter, John and Yoko travelling in a hearse from their Tittenhurst Park mansion to a nearby lake, where they were then shown hopping into a rowing boat.

Although self-explanatory, the subject of the song is John Lennon not only apologizing to Yoko Ono for his jealousy, but also to explain it away by saying "That's how I am." The lyrics at the end reflect this: "I'm just a jealous guy - watch out / look out".

Though the relationship between John and Yoko is regarded by many as one of the greatest publicized romances of the 20th century, there was a period in the early 1970s, after The Beatles split, where John became entangled in a self-destructive downwards spiral. His drinking became more frequent and his relationship with Yoko became strained. It was during this period that John reworked "Child of Nature" to be "Jealous Guy" as a public apology.

John had jealousy problems with his first wife, Cynthia Powell, and when he left her for Yoko, the jealousy continued. Yoko commented, "The song said it all! After we got together he made me write out a list of all the men I'd slept with before we met. I started to do it quite casually – then I realized how serious it was to John. He didn't even like me speaking Japanese because that was a part of my mind that shut him out."

Following Lennon's death in 1980, Roxy Music recorded a cover version of the song, this attracted some criticism at the time as it was suggested that they were cashing in on the success of Lennon's work following his death.

In 1977, John sat in the presidential suite of the Okura Hotel in Tokyo and began singing and playing his old songs with his acoustic guitar. The gigantic hotel suite had lifts that arrived straight into the Lennon lounge. As John was playing "Jealous Guy" to himself, the lift doors opened and a Japanese couple, who had arrived on the wrong floor walked out. They sat and listened as John continued the song. When the song ended, they seemed displeased and went back down the elevator. Little did any of them know it, but this was to be John's last ever 'public' performance. They were the last two members of the general public to ever watch John Lennon perform a song.

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