AUDIO: John Lennon vs. Van Halen’s “Imagine A Jump (Mighty Mike mash-up)”

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I’ll admit: I get a fair share of music, a mixture of what I enjoy listening to on a regular basic, along with music that artists and publicists would like for me to listen to, and at times it is overwhelming. Then there’s the music I end up not knowing about or simply missing, I can’t be hounding the interwebs 24 hours a day. Fortunately, I’ll get some tips, and this one was sent to me by David Kelly, a/k/a Rheomatic.

It seems simple right, nothing more than a mash-up of a John Lennon song from 1971 and a Van Halen song recorded in 1983, released in 1984 on the album 1984. In this case it’s a funny mix, and yet it works quite beautifully. Odd? Eerie? Come up with whatever word or phrase for it but… it’s cool. This mix was done by someone named Mighty Mike, and while some of you may say “I heard this last spring”, then all I can say is the next time you find something you think I might think is cool, pass a link to me. Or a year or two later, doesn’t matter. I share this with you.

RECORD CRACK: P.S. I Love You – John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band with The Harlem Community Choir’s” Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”

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For the last installment in my November article series, P.S. I Love You I decided to end things appropriately as we head into December with a Christmas sleeve. Since yesterday was a George Harrison song that is now associated with Christmas, I decided to wrap it up and throw a bow on it (or something) by keeping the Beatles theme.

“Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” will also celebrate its 40th anniversary on December 6th, although it was released in the UK a year later. The song is not really a Christmas song either, but was written as a statement against war, specifically the Vietnam war. John Lennon & Yoko Ono had paid for billboards to be placed in New York city during the 1969 holiday season that simply said WAR IS OVER! (IF YOU WANT IT) | Happy Christmas from John & Yoko. If anything, it marked Lennon’s unofficial independence from The Beatles, and let everyone know that John & Yoko were one.

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The song was co-produced by Phil Spector along with John & Yoko, and it is Spector you see on the upper left hand corner of the picture sleeve photo with the Harlem Community Choir. Unfortunately, when the song is introduced on the radio today, the Harlem Community Choir are never credited by announcers but they’ve always been a part of the song, so celebrate them too.

It also marked the first Christmas-related song any Beatle would release to the general public, since their Christmas flexi-disc were made solely for fan club members and remained that way until The Beatles’ Christmas Album was counterfeited in the mid-1970’s.

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RECORD CRACK: P.S. I Love You – Plastic Ono Band’s “Cold Turkey”

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John Lennon seemed to live life in a unique way once he met Yoko Ono. It seemed that for 12 years (until he was killed in 1980), he felt that if people were going to look at gawk at him, he was going to make sure he gave people something to look at. In this case, it meant something to listen to as well.

As a slight nod to Thanksgiving Day in the United States, I wanted to shine the light on a picture sleeve that referred to “turkey” and I came up with this. Lennon came out with some pretty cool sleeves on Apple, as I’m a fan of the sleeves for “Give Peace A Chance”, “Power To The People”, and “Instant Karma (We All Shine On)”, but this one was always a bit eerie, more because it always raised the question: why?

“Cold Turkey” was a song written about him dealing with his heroin addiction, complete with the sounds of his withdrawals. Personally, as someone who always liked Lennon’s weirder and experimental side, I love the second half of the song where it’s just him screaming in utter pain as the band continue a repetitive riff to where it comes off like a drone, before he eventually reaches a conclusion, and the last few notes are flipped backwards. Regardless of what people felt about him, he knew he had the power and since he now had his own record label (Apple), he was going to release whatever the hell he wanted. Before this, he released “Give Peace A Chance”, a song that was recorded in a Canadian hotel room with friends, guests, and members of a Hare Krishna temple clapping and singing. You could never do that now, nor would it be considered worthy of international attention, but that song has since become an anthem. A year before this, he and Ono recorded them making a private home recording in their bedroom, and then chose to take some photos of them in the nude. That became Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins. They married in the spring of 1969, and that lead to the creation of the more adventurous Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With The Lions and Wedding Album, the latter of which came with plastic replications of their wedding certificate, their wedding photo, and a piece of cake. Statistically, they were huge flops, so the only time a Beatles fan could hear him do “proper” music was on the singles he was coming out with, and Lennon wasn’t about to go the easy route with those either, at least not until 1970, when he knew that The Beatles had come to an end.

The B-side to “Cold Turkey” was also credited to the Plastic Ono Band, but was Ono’s side to shine with the incredible “Don’t Worry Kyoko (Mummy’s Only Looking For Her Hand In The Snow)”. When you turned the picture sleeve on the other side, you saw Ono’s X-ray of her skull. EMI/Odeon in Japan decided to combine both sides and show their X-rays side to side on the cover for their release.

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