The Story of John Lennon’s First Post-Death Song

The Story of John Lennon’s First Post-Death Song | I Love Classic Rock Videos

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The world was still in shock following John Lennon’s tragic death in December 1980. Then, a single ray of light emerged. “Woman”, the first posthumous release of Lennon’s music, served as a powerful reminder of his immense talent.

This upbeat track showcased Lennon at his songwriting best, delivering a crowd-pleaser that resonated deeply with fans still grappling with their loss.

But “Woman” was more than just a catchy song. In the following paragraphs, we’ll dig into the inspiration behind the track, exploring its lyrical themes and how it echoed Lennon’s work with The Beatles. We’ll also see how this single provided a much-needed sense of comfort for John Lennon fans during a difficult time.

The Echoes of The Beatles in “Woman”

John Lennon, preparing his 1980 album Double Fantasy with Yoko Ono, was acutely aware of his musical hiatus. As his song “Watching the Wheels” declared, it had been a whole five years since he’d truly “played the game”. While five years may seem insignificant today, in the fast-paced world of 1980s music, it was an eternity for an artist of Lennon’s caliber.

Lennon, therefore, aimed for a comeback that was both catchy and radio-friendly, all without sacrificing artistic merit. This strategy was hardly new territory for him – after all, he’d perfected it during his Beatles days. Though both he and his former bandmates had initially steered clear of replicating their Fab Four sound during their solo careers, Lennon felt free to embrace it once more with “Woman”.

The song itself evokes a strong Beatles vibe. From the swirling guitars of Earl Slick and Hugh McCracken to the nimble bass work of Tony Levin and the steady drumming of Andy Newmark, the track is brimming with early Beatles energy. Even the ethereal backing vocals contribute to this feeling.  Lennon even manages a classic key change, executed flawlessly without disrupting the song’s smooth flow.

A Love Letter to All Women

The lyrical inspiration for “Woman” began with Lennon reflecting on his own relationship with Yoko Ono. He initially envisioned it as a form of gratitude for her unwavering support. However, the song quickly evolved into something far grander.

As Lennon explained to Rolling Stone: “Everything I was taking for granted…Women really are the other half of the sky, as I whisper at the beginning of the song.” This realization struck him with immense force, transforming the song into a celebration of women everywhere.

Released shortly after Lennon’s tragic death in December 1980, “Woman” became the first posthumous single off the Double Fantasy album, with “(Just Like) Starting Over” already rising on the charts.

Unsurprisingly, the song became a massive hit, reaching number two in the US and number one in the UK, fueled in part by the emotional outpouring following Lennon’s passing. But even as those raw feelings subsided, “Woman” has endured as a timeless gem, a testament to Lennon’s songwriting prowess and his love for the women who shaped his life.

A Love Letter Drenched in Universality

Lennon, a master weaver of words, expertly balances personal tribute and universal message in “Woman”. The song opens with a clear nod to his wife Yoko Ono, thanking her “For showing me the meaning of success.” He even hints at a destined connection, whispering of their love being “written in the stars.”

But as the song unfolds, Lennon’s message expands. Lines like “Woman, I know you understand / The little child inside the man” resonate with anyone who has ever needed the unwavering support of a partner. His final pleas, “Woman, please let me explain / I never meant to cause you sorrow or pain,” could easily be spoken by countless men seeking forgiveness.

Lennon ends the song with a dreamy “I love you / Now and forever,” solidifying not just his love for Yoko, but a timeless appreciation for women everywhere. Despite his shortened time on earth, John Lennon left behind a legacy of truth, beautifully captured in the universal message of “Woman”.