Sunday, March 26, 2006

Lennon Lied?

Robert Fusillo responded to yesterday’s post. He recalls that the song is older. I’m troubled by the same recollection – but Lennon claimed it in the famous John-Yoko Playboy interview in 1981 (though the quote below is from here):

I wrote it during that time [the lost weekend ]. That’s how I felt. It exactly expresses the whole period. For some reason, I always imagined Sinatra singing that one. I don't know why. It’s kind of a Sinatra-esque song, really. He would do a perfect job with it. Are you listening, Frank ? You need a song that isn’t a piece of nothing. Here’s the one for you, the horn arrangement and everything’s made for you. But don’t ask me to produce it.

Robert wrote back: “Jimmy Cox, 1922. Not the Jimmy Cox who wrote some Broadway stuff a decade ago. The latter did a tribute to Eric Clapton with the song in it, so it might be a relative.” His source is here.

While he was doing that, I searched through my LPs and found the album with the Judy Henske cover: Dave Guard and the Whiskeyhill Singers (Capitol T/ST-1728). Here’s the album note:

NOBODY KNOWS YOU WHEN YOU’RE DOWN AND OUT – Is a fine old Bessie Smith blues, written by Jimmy Cox. Buckwheat [David Wheat] plays the twelve-stringed guitar, Cyrus [Cyrus Faryar] the Spanish guitar, and Judy [Judy Henske] takes the spotlight as a soloist this time. Hi-fi fans will be interested to note that the meter registers 15 db in the end there.

I apologize for the misinformation below – I should have done more homework. So...what’s John Lennon talking about?

1 comment:

Susan Kirkland said...

John Lennon and Paul McCartney were admitted copycats. Most of their great melodies came from the classics, you know, those old guys like Mozart, Brahms, Wagner, etc. But having written so many lyrics, it doesn't surprise me that Lennon thought he wrote it. If I was John Lennon, I wouldn't remember much detail about anything after his living through his life and times.