Yoko Ono Considers Revealing Extent of Her Influence on John Lennon
Yoko Ono said she was considering the possibility of revealing the full extent of how she had influenced music written by John Lennon, though she wasn’t sure she wanted to.
Her comments came during a discussion about Lennon’s solo song “Jealous Guy,” which appeared as a demo version under its original title “Child of Nature” on the recent expanded edition of the Beatles’ White Album. What started out as a musical expression of a trip to India became an admission of fragility by a man who, because of his insecurity, hurt someone he loves.
“That was [Ono] going, ‘You’re just writing words. Write about something real and something that matters,’” Ono collaborator Simon Hilton told NME. “And then [Lennon] came out with that. If you really tune into the lyrics of ‘Jealous Guy,’ it’s really very heavy and profound.”
He added that "at the time, Yoko had so much bad press and people didn’t seem to like her. She was kept out of things in order not to spoil the public’s reaction to them. I think there was a sense that they were trying to protect the art from being defamed by the sort of negative halo of associations with her. … And the lyrics of ‘Jealous Guy'? Come on, people never bared their soul like that in those days. That was unheard of.”
“I think it’s a good song from a woman’s point of view as well [as a man’s],” Ono said. “John was trying to create a fun song about going on a trip to Rishikesh. That might have been great too, but it ended up not being that. ... John would have given me the right credit, but it was a difficult time. No famous songwriter would have thought of splitting the credit with his wife.”
In 2017 Ono received a co-writing credit for Lennon's classic song “Imagine,” 46 years after its release. Asked if there were more details to be revealed about her contribution to her husband’s work, she said, “I think in maybe 10 years I can tell it all. But I don’t know if I want to.”