The Beatles track that became one of John Lennon’s favourites

The Beatles

If you go through the volumes of John Lennon’s interviews, you’ll notice a recurring motif. Even with all of his doubts and inappropriate actions, Lennon was, above all, a very honest individual. Perhaps most brutally, he was honest about The Beatles’ legacy. He was also honest with himself when confronting his abusive behavior and with the fans who approached him seeking a prophetic touch that he lacked.

As an artist in constant flux, Lennon seldom gazed nostalgically at the music he composed with the group. Even though we are still enjoying his work with Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and other legendary musicians more than six decades later, for Lennon, and likely the rest of the band too, the tracks were simply that: just songs they had written and recorded together.

This meant that Lennon was far more likely to criticize the Liverpudlians’ records than to hail them as outstanding works of art when reflecting on his career in in-depth interviews with Rolling Stone and the infamous retrospective with David Sheff. That implies it’s important to consider the reasons behind his choices when he does come across something he enjoys.

It is improbable that “I’m So Tired” will rank among the top ten most cherished Beatles songs. However, Lennon told Sheff that it was one of his favorites and that “I’m So Tired” was him back in India. I was meditating all day and was unable to fall asleep at night. That is the story. One of my favorite tracks. I just like the sound of it, and I sing it well.”

It’s not the only song Lennon wrote about trying to get forty winks. Most people agree that “I’m Only Sleeping” is one of his better works. As the journalist Maureen Cleave put it in 1966, Lennon “is probably the laziest person in England, and he can sleep almost indefinitely.” Physically indolent, he declared. “Writing, reading, watching, and speaking don’t bother me; sex is the only physical thing that bothers me anymore.”

“I’m So Tired” is essentially John’s statement to the world, McCartney clarified to Barry Miles in Many Years From Now. The line, “And curse Sir Walter Raleigh, he was such stupid get,” was especially noteworthy. It’s a timeless quote, and it’s so John that there’s no questioning who wrote it. John is 100%, in my opinion. One of his themes was exhaustion; he wrote the song “I’m Only Sleeping.” He decided to write about it, even though I believe we were all quite exhausted.

This is the reason Lennon might have liked this song more than a lot of others. The song is very genuine, aside from the vocal performance, which is a great reminder of the warm yet cutting tone Lennon could deliver on the mic. Distracted by the conduct of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, whom John Lennon had discovered to be a deceitful mistress, the eyeglass-wearing Beatle had discovered minimal prospects for redemption in India. His spiritual journey had come to an end with fatigue and disappointment.

It is evident that Lennon is at an emotional breaking point when he sings, “I’ll give you everything I got for a little peace of mind,” or when he describes Sir Walter Raleigh taking a stray bullet in a well-known line. Lennon is expressing his true self on this track. This emotional connection made Lennon a potent songwriter. He only ever enjoyed acknowledging one thing as legitimate in his work.

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