Friday, August 24, 2007

John Lennon "Some Time in New York City" lyrics



Standing on the corner
Just me and Yoko Ono
We was waiting for Jerry to land
Up come a man with a guitar in his hand
Singing, "Have a marijuana if you can"
His name was David Peel
And we found that he was real
He sang, "The Pope smokes dope every day"
Up come a policeman shoved us up the street
Singing, "Power to the people today!"

New York City...New York City...New York City
Que pasa, New York?
Que pasa, New York?

Well down to Max's Kansas City
Got down the nitty gritty
With the Elephants Memory Band
Laid something down
As the news spread around
About the Plastic Ono Elephants Memory Band!
And we played some funky boogie
And laid some tutti frutti
Singing, "Long Tall Sally's a man."
Up come a preacherman trying to be a teacher
Singing, "God's a red herring in drag!"

New York City...New York City...New York City
Que pasa, New York?
Que pasa, New York?

New York City...New York City...New York City
Que pasa, New York?
Que pasa, New York?

Well we did the Staten Island Ferry
Making movies for the telly
Played the Fillmore and Apollo for freedom
Tried to shake our image
Just a cycling through the Village
But found that we had left it back in London
Well nobody came to bug us
Hustle us or shove us
So we decided to make it our home
If the Man wants to shove us out
We gonna jump and shout
The Statue of Liberty said, "Come!"

New York City...New York City...New York City
Que pasa, New York?
Que pasa, New York?

New York City...back in New York City [my note: this lyric is really "what a bad-ass city!]...New York City
Que pasa, New York?
Que pasa, New York?
---------------------------------------------

The 1972 Lennon/Yoko album "Some Time in New York City" is a rare one, but for some reason I found a copy in 1983 in a mall record store in Fort Worth, Texas, of all places! (They also had a re-issue copy of the now ultra-rare "Two Virgins"!!) I bought "Some Time" while I was hanging out with my best friend Ginny, and I remember spending the night over at her house that night...and then listening to the thing over and over and over and over, to Ginny's eventual annoyance!

Ginny was a Libra---a calm, placid soul by nature---but this album stretched her limits of tolerance! I remember in particular the "John Sinclair" song, with its "gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta set him free" alleged "chorus"... I think at that annoying repetition she finally put her foot down and made me take off the album! But before that song, there was also "The Luck of the Irish"---

If you had the luck of the Irish
You'd be sorry and wish you were dead
You should have the luck of the Irish
And you'd wish you was English instead!

A thousand years of torture and hunger
Drove the people away from their land
A land full of beauty and wonder
Was raped by the British brigands! Goddamn! Goddamn!

If you could keep voices like flowers
There'd be shamrock all over the world
If you could drink dreams like Irish streams
Then the world would be high as the mountain of morn

In the 'Pool they told us the story
How the English divided the land
Of the pain, the death and the glory
And the poets of auld Eireland

If we could make chains with the morning dew
The world would be like Galway Bay
Let's walk over rainbows like leprechauns
The world would be one big Blarney stone

Why the hell are the English there anyway?
As they kill with God on their side
Blame it all on the kids the IRA
As the bastards commit genocide! Aye! Aye! Genocide!

If you had the luck of the Irish
You'd be sorry and wish you was dead
You should have the luck of the Irish
And you'd wish you was English instead!
Yes you'd wish you was English instead!
------------------------------------------------------

Before she turned the record off, Ginny kept randomly interspersing/outbursting in our conversation, "Aye! Aye! Genocide!" and "Goddamn! Goddamn! Ireland!" ;p

I miss her a lot a lot a lot a lot a lot a lot a lot a lot a lot a lot a lot. She was a cool kid from Georgia who'd just moved to Texas with her mom and dad, and then she met a nerdy freak like me who was into "weird" things (for 1983) like John Lennon and she had to sit there and interpret 1972 Lennon lyrics with me... When I went off to college in Austin in 1983, Ginny found someone else, but I hurt for her for 5 years. I remember it---5 whole years! Almost everything I did for 5 years I kept thinking of what it would be like had she been there with me.

She died in 1988. And up until the mid-90s or so she was still in contact with me. Not often, but when I'd be going through something hard, she'd come visit me in a dream, and I'd wake up feeling completely rejuvenated and hopeful. I haven't heard from her in years. I think when you're in the spirit world, it takes some effort and strain to get in touch with people in the actual world... I think she did what she could for me and then went off to be completely in her new world. (That sounds nuts, but... that's pretty much how it happened after she died.)

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