Gimme Some Truth
Performed and written by John Lennon.
I took a long drive with my eldest son, Patrick, a few weeks ago and along the way, we found ourselves listening to this song and some other of what I call John Lennon’s primal scream music. The raw, angry sound caught Paddy off-guard cause he knew the Beatles music – even at age 20 with a preference for hip-hop, one can’t avoid the Beatles – but he did not know John Lennon’s solo work.
The song and others – “Working Class Hero,” “God,” “I Found Out” – certainly demand that you pay attention. Paddy laughed when I told him about Richard Nixon putting John Lennon on his Enemies List, serious stuff that seems beyond buffoonish now. Lennon crams so many words into his lines and spits them out with a venom that continues to strike a chord. While arising from a specific time and place, the conviction and sentiments remain strong enough that Vin Scelsa took to playing “Gimme Some Truth” on every show during the “Imperial Presidency” as he called George W.’s term. Folks like Travis, Sam Phillips and Pearl Jam have made more recent covers in their effort to respond to the kaleidoscope of world events.
In a funny way, the song shares some unlikely sentiments with so many Tea Baggers who vent their anger at today’s version of “uptight-short sighted- narrow minded hypocritics” and “neurotic-psychotic-pig headed politicians.” Of course, no self-respecting Tea Bagger would align him or herself with a long, haired freak like John Lennon calling Richard Nixon “tricky dick.”
Released on the Imagine album in 1971, the song had its origins back in 1969 while the Beatles recorded what became their Let it Be album. I first came across the song in the summer of 1973, summer between my freshman and sophomore years in high school, a time when I was ripe for change and a few musical bolts by John Lennon and Bob Dylan did the trick. Picture those reenactments of Earth’s primordial goo that lightening strikes and brings forth the first forms of life.