The Curious Story Behind “Nowhere Man”
John Lennon live in 1969 - BeatlesAndSolo / Youtube
During his time in the Beatles, John Lennon had created some of the greatest songs ever known to man. While Lennon started, quite simply, with stories about love and adoration, in the later years, his passion for creating music that fit all emotions became what’s important to him.
We can ponder on the Fab Four’s back catalog to find any good songs about struggles, and we’d stumble to one of Lennon’s classic tracks, “Nowhere Man.” The song was written during the final days of their seminal album Rubber Soul sessions, at which point, the musician was battling the crippling doubts and anxieties that surrounded him.
Now thinking that his marriage to his then-wife Cynthia is now over, and feeling as though he was lost and completely alone despite his unattainable success in the band, John decided to write a song to fill the desperate longing for self-control. But he found out, 5 hours later, that he was nowhere near to the sudden burst of inspiration. With that, he gave up almost instantly, surrendering his worries to a good ol’ afternoon nap. Then, out of the blue, there came his first thought to “Nowhere Man.”
In an interview with Hunter Davies, Lennon explained how he conceived the idea for the song. “I was just sitting, trying to think of a song, and I thought of myself sitting there, doing nothing and going nowhere,” he said. “Once I’d thought of that, it was easy. It all came out. No, I remember now, I’d actually stopped trying to think of something. Nothing would come. I was cheesed off and went for a lie-down, having given up. Then I thought of myself as ‘Nowhere Man’ – sitting in his nowhere land.’”
Lennon channeled his state at the lowest point to try and create a meaningful song for everyone to hear. Paul McCartney also gave his thoughts towards it, saying that Lennon told him that the song was self-inspired when he just couldn’t see himself going anywhere.
“He treated it as a third-person song, but he was clever enough to say, ‘Isn’t he a bit like you and me?’ – ‘Me’ being the final word,” McCartney elaborated.