John Lennon – Mind Games

After the break up of The Beatles, there was always the big debate among their fans: who was better as a solo artist, John Lennon or Paul McCartney? Although Paul could write exceptionally good pop/rock songs, to me it was always the depth and meaning in John Lennon’s music that made him better.

John Lennon held a firm belief that the right songs could not only change someone’s life but that they could also impact the world. To some, that may seem like an over the top, grandiose sentiment. But not if you consider the legacy of John Lennon and his music.

“Mind Games” is intentionally less politically motivated than Lennon’s two previous solo albums, due in part to the Nixon administration putting Lennon under FBI surveillance and attempting to have him deported from the US because of the political views expressed in his previous albums. Some of his songs had become rally cries against the war in Vietnam.

Eventually, The Watergate scandal would force Nixon to resign from the Presidency and the US court of appeals would rule that Lennon could not be selectively chosen for deportation based on his nonviolent political activism. Lennon eventually became a permanent resident of the US in 1975.

After Lennon’s tragic death in 1980, a 14 year court battle ensued resulting in over 270 pages of FBI documents being declassified and released. They were published in Jon Wiener’s 2000 book “Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI Files” and for the making of David Leaf’s 2006 documentary “The US vs. John Lennon”.

Sweet – Desolation Boulevard

Are you ready Steve? Uh-huh
Andy? Yeah
Mick? Okay
Alright fellas, let’s go-o-o-o-o-o!

I can’t imagine Sweet’s third album, “Desolation Boulevard” without the song “Ballroom Blitz” kicking things off. But if you bought the album in the UK or Europe, that’s what you got. Or should I say, what you didn’t get.

In the UK and Europe, “Desolation Boulevard” opened up with “The 6-Teens”, the second song on the version that what was released in Japan, Canada, and the US. It’s not a bad song, but it’s no “Ballroom Blitz”

In a trade-off, the UK and Europe got the song “Turn it Down” and an extended version of “Fox on the Run”. Personally, I think the US, Japan, and Canada got the better deal, even though I do like the longer version of “Fox on the Run” better. I mean, “Turn it Down” is a good song and all that, but hey – and I’m sorry for repeating myself here – it’s no “Ballroom Blitz”.

Jethro Tull – War Child

“War Child”, the seventh album from Jethro Tull, was originally planned to be a double album soundtrack to a black comedy of the same name. When the band couldn’t find a studio to financially back the film, the more ambitious project was scrapped and the album was trimmed back to a single record. The result was a record that has a bit more lyrical humor than prior Tull albums.

The story of the film, and of the album, to a lesser degree, revolved around a teenage girl who dies and in the afterlife has encounters with three shrewd businessmen who are actually avatars of Lucifer, St. Peter, and God.

“War Child” was received harshly by most music critics, but that didn’t stop it from debuting at the number 2 spot on the Billboard charts and earning the band another gold record. The album contains one of Jethro Tull’s biggest hits, “Bungle in the Jungle”. It also has what is quite possibly my favorite Jethro Tull song, “Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day”.