The death-defying trip that convinced John Lennon to play music again

John Lennon

John Lennon appeared to have permanently stopped recording new music for the majority of the late 1970s. The latter part of the decade saw him taking a break to enjoy a domestic life, despite the fact that he may have been The Beatles’ most prolific songwriter during his time in the group. His choice was to give his newborn son, Sean, the best father he could. After a setback, Lennon returned to the studio, avoiding death and resuming his musical career.

But then again, before he made the decision to settle down, Lennon’s solo career took some unexpected turns. Throughout the sessions for albums such as Walls and Bridges and Rock and Roll, John Lennon was having what he referred to as his “lost weekend.” He would frequently drown himself in alcohol during the sessions. And would grow increasingly upset over his benign separation from Yoko Ono.

Lennon’s partying days were obviously finally getting to him by the time he returned to New York City. The two eventually got back together and started a family after meeting by coincidence. Prior to Elton John’s performance at Madison Square Garden, they jammed together for the show.

Paul McCartney was undoubtedly enjoying the success of Wings, and George Harrison was creating spiritual masterpieces. But Lennon preferred to take care of the house and bake bread, with Yoko handling most of their financial matters. After he made the decision to move out of his Dakota flat, Lennon felt compelled to pick up sailing.

Reconnecting with his English heritage, Lennon approached a sailboat headed for Bermuda, only to discover that, just before he pulled into port, the weather had turned to a hurricane. Lennon, the only one able to steer, navigated the ship as the rest of the crew battled seasickness. As a result, he was shouting sea shanties and navigating through dangerous situations.

Upon reaching dry land, however, Lennon’s brain experienced a reactivation that inspired him to pick up writing once more. Lennon recalled, “I had the time of my life,” regarding his experience during the powerful storm. Following my sea experience, I felt so centred that I was somehow in tune with the universe, and all the songs appeared.

Rather than penning political commentary as was his custom, Lennon composed songs that captured the life he co-created with Ono. Lennon recorded the album Double Fantasy. It was inspired by their experiences, after playing multiple tracks to Ono over the phone. The two then started exchanging songs in the form of musical notes.

Much of the album, which functions as a conversation between a husband and wife, contrasts Lennon’s mental states in Bermuda and New York with Yoko, utilising a steel drum on the song “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)”. Even though Lennon frequently turned inward for inspiration for his timeless songs, it required a natural disaster for him to reconnect with his sentimental side.

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