"Gimme Some Truth"
Gimmesometruth.png
UK single B-side label
Song by John Lennon
from the album Imagine
Released9 September 1971
Recorded25 May–5 July 1971
StudioAscot Sound Studios, Berkshire; Record Plant, New York City
GenreRock
Length3:18
LabelApple
Songwriter(s)John Lennon
Producer(s)John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Phil Spector

"Gimme Some Truth" (originally spelled "Give Me Some Truth") is a protest song written and performed by John Lennon. It was first released on his 1971 album Imagine. "Gimme Some Truth" contains various political references emerging from the time it was written, during the latter years of the Vietnam War. Co-produced by Phil Spector, the recording includes a slide guitar solo played by George Harrison, Lennon's former bandmate in the Beatles.

In 1982, "Gimme Some Truth" was issued as the B-side of "Love" on a posthumous single. The song provided the title track for the 2000 documentary film Gimme Some Truth: The Making of John Lennon's Imagine Album.

Origins

Work on the song began as early as January 1969 during the Beatles' Get Back sessions, which would eventually evolve into Let It Be. Bootleg recordings of the group performing songs that would eventually go onto the members' solo recordings feature a few performances of "Gimme Some Truth". A recording of the Beatles performing the song was officially released in 2021, appearing on the Let It Be: 50th Anniversary Edition reissue, and in The Beatles: Get Back documentary.[1][2]

Side Two starts with 'Gimme Some Truth' which is one I started a year or two back - probably in India. We wrote a lot there. It was an old lick that I had around a long time but I again changed the lyrics. I like the track because it sounds good but it didn't get much attention, so it's a personal track that I like the sound of. The guitars are good and the voice sounds nice and, you know, and it says whatever it says. George does a sharp solo with his steel finger (he's not too proud of it, but I like it).

— J. Lennon[3]

Lyrics

"Gimme Some Truth" conveys Lennon's frustration with deceptive politicians ("short-haired yellow-bellied sons of Tricky Dicky"), hypocrisy, and chauvinism ("tight-lipped condescending mommy's little chauvinists"). The lyrics encapsulate some widely held feelings of the time, when many people were participating in protest rallies against their governments.

The song also uses a reference to the nursery rhyme "Old Mother Hubbard" (about a woman going to get her dog a bone, only to discover that her cupboard is empty) as a verb. The mention of "soft-soap" employs that slang verb in its classic sense − namely, insincere flattery that attempts to convince someone to do or to think something, as in the case of politicians who use specious or beguiling rhetoric to quell public unrest or to propagandise unfairly.

Lennon employs the recurring lyric "Money for rope/Money for dope", the former phrase being a variation of the British idiom "Money for old rope" (a profit obtained by little or no effort).[4] According to Peter Jackson, it was Paul McCartney who came up with this line during the Get Back sessions. Jackson showed McCartney the footage from his documentary of the Beatles performing the song, who had no memory of working on it.[5]

Reception

In a review of the Imagine album, music critic Robert Christgau said that the song "unites Lennon unmasked with the Lennon of Blunderland wordplay as it provides a rationale for 'Jealous Guy,' which doesn't need one, and 'How Do You Sleep?,' which may".[6] Lisa Wright of the NME ranked "Gimme Some Truth" as Lennon's fifth greatest solo song, stating that in the song Lennon "tried to sift through the maelstrom of media bullshit to find the light at the end of the tunnel" and concluding that "scorn never sounded so good".[7] Classic Rock critic Rob Hughes rated "Attica State" as Lennon's greatest political song, saying "Lennon is at his acerbic best here, taking potshots at hypocrites, bigots, prima donnas and White House incumbent, Richard Nixon: 'No short-haired, yellow-bellied, son of Tricky Dicky/Is gonna Mother Hubbard soft-soap me/With just a pocketful of hope/Money for dope/Money for rope.'”[8]

Recording

Lennon recorded "Gimme Some Truth" on 25 May 1971 at Ascot Sound Studios. Overdubbing of his lead vocal on 28 May was also captured on film.[9]

Author Robert Rodriguez comments that Imagine is well known for its commercial qualities and "radio-friendly fare", but on the more substantial tracks, George Harrison provides "some of the grittiest playing", particularly on "Gimme Some Truth".[10] Rodriguez highlights Harrison's slide guitar solo as being "equally [as] stinging" as his playing on "How Do You Sleep?" and describes the track as an "acidic attack on governmental hypocrisy".[11]

Personnel

Cover versions and performances by other artists

Other works named after the song

References

  1. ^ "Producer Giles Martin on remixing The Beatles' 'Let It Be': "I was surprised by the camaraderie"". NME. 12 October 2021. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  2. ^ "'The Beatles: Get Back' – what you need to know before watching". NME. 25 November 2021. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  3. ^ Imagine. The Ultimate Collection - Super Deluxe Box Set. Inner book. Gimme Some Truth, page 54.
  4. ^ "Money for old rope definition and meaning". Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  5. ^ Topel, Fred (17 November 2021). "'The Beatles: Get Back' Reminded Paul McCartney He Co-Wrote a John Lennon Solo Song". cheatsheet.com. Retrieved 14 December 2021.
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "John Lennon: Imagine". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 0899190251. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  7. ^ Wright, Lisa (9 October 2019). "John Lennon – his 10 greatest solo tracks". NME. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  8. ^ Hughes, Rob (8 December 2021). "John Lennon's 10 best political songs". Classic Rock. Louder Sound. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  9. ^ Madinger, Chip; Raile, Scott (2015). LENNONOLOGY: Strange Days Indeed – A Scrapbook of Madness. Chesterfield, MO: Open Your Books. pp. 239–40. ISBN 978-1-63110-175-5.
  10. ^ Rodriguez, Robert (2010). Fab Four FAQ 2.0: The Beatles' Solo Years, 1970–1980. Milwaukee, WI: Backbeat Books. p. 153. ISBN 978-1-4165-9093-4.
  11. ^ Rodriguez, Robert (2010). Fab Four FAQ 2.0: The Beatles' Solo Years, 1970–1980. Milwaukee, WI: Backbeat Books. p. 31. ISBN 978-1-4165-9093-4.
  12. ^ "Generation X [US] – Generation X : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  13. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Martinis & Bikinis – Sam Phillips : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  14. ^ Thomas, Stephen. "Under the Covers, Vol. 2 – Matthew Sweet : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  15. ^ "Gimme Some Truth"—Lydia Canaan
  16. ^ "CHEAP TRICK Singer Confirms New Album Is On The Way". Blabbermouth. 13 April 2019. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  17. ^ "CHEAP TRICK Gimme Some Truth". Record Store Day. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  18. ^ "Gimme Some Truth - 2019 Charity Single". Beyond the Pale. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  19. ^ "'Gimme Some Truth' - The Full Story, feat KT Tunstall". YouTube. Archived from the original on 14 December 2021. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  20. ^ "MIKE PORTNOY Celebrates JOHN LENNON's 80th Birthday With "Gimme Some Truth" Performance; Video". 10 October 2020.
  21. ^ Wiener, Jon (3 February 2000). Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI Files. University of California Press. p. 368. ISBN 978-0-520-21646-4.
  22. ^ "Money For Rope". Beat Magazine. 11 October 2011. Retrieved 26 September 2020.