Anglo For Your Ear: John Lennon’s “How Do You Sleep?”

In Tracey Ullman‘s video for “They Don’t Know,” which we posted yesterday, Sir Paul McCartney makes a surprise appearance at the end, looking just as jolly and likable as we’d expect. Today, we post one of the most excoriating songs ever written about a person, John Lennon‘s “How Do You Sleep?” from his 1971 Imagine album. Is it about Paul? Is it, as John repeatedly claimed, a self-loathing rant? To put it lightly, John had a throbbing hate-on for Paul at the time, which is understandable given the circumstances of The Beatles‘s bitter split a year earlier. Sample lyric: “A pretty face may last a year or two/But pretty soon they’ll see what you can do/The sound you make is Muzak to my ears/You must have learned something in all those years.”

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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