John Lennon Plastic Ono Band Plays ‘Cold Turkey’

Listen to this track from the literate Beatle, the Walrus himself John Lennon, who yesterday would have been 71 years old (Happy Birthday, John!). It’s his 1969 solo single ‘Cold Turkey’ , a true to life account of his own brief romance with heroin. And seeing as this is Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, the ‘turkey’ reference goes out to all of you! The song appeared in LP form on the 1975 compilation album Shaved Fish.  

The song, harrowing to be sure, was banned by the BBC for its drug references, although the drug in question is never named. This of course came as a great surprise to Lennon, who considered this song as something of an anti-drug anthem, with “thirty-six hours rolling in pain”, among other lines in the song hardly standing as endorsements of drug use

Lennon originally intended that it be released as a Beatles single, only to be voted down by McCartney. So, the song was put out under Plastic Ono Band, with this single as the second of his songs released under that name after “Give Peace A Chance”. It would be the first song not to include McCartney’s name in the song credit, which may have been a telling sign as to where Lennon’s head was at at the time. And where was that, exactly?

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