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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

John Lennon's Fork in the Road

"The Lost Lennon Tapes"
Rolling Stone (Issue 1120/1121, Dec 23, 2010/Jan 6, 2011)

We just finished reading "The Lost Lennon Tapes" interview by Jonathan Cott in Rolling Stone (Issue 1120/1121, 12-23-10/1/6/11) and were somewhat stunned by Lennon's final words.

On December 8, 1980, John Lennon was murdered outside of his New York apartment building by a deranged fan. Three days before John Lennon was killed, Jonathan Cott spent hours interviewing him for a planned cover story. The complete interview was never been published as Cott tossed the tapes in his closet after the murder and forgot about them until cleaning one day recently.

Cott's final interview with John Lennon was a nine-hour discussion that took place three days before he died. Lennon explains why he didn't record for five years, describes his weakness as a child and more. We strongly encourage you to read in its entirety.

At the very conclusion of the interview, Lennon's penultimate words spoken on the record were as follows:
LENNON: "Sometimes you wonder, I mean really wonder.

I know we make our own reality, and we always have a choice, but how much is preordained? Is there always a fork in the road, and are there two preordained paths that are equally preordained? There could be hundreds of paths where one could go this way or that way -- there's a chance, and it's very strange sometimes."


Eerie given that this interview took place in 1980 and was never published before. Neil Young's album Fork in the Road was released in 2009 and contains many similar themes about choice and paths. And -- of course -- there is the track "No Hidden Path" which touches on spirituality and choice, as well.

We realize that the phrase "Fork in the Road" is quite common and that this is all purely coincidental. Nonetheless, the coincidental connections between John Lennon and Neil Young are quite fascinating.

Just sayin....


At 1/11/2011 09:08:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

The impression I got from the interview/article was of how vibrant John Lennon was at the time and how he just seemed ready and poised to come on back into it all in his way with a calm confidence and still with his energy and positive outlook on where he was headed. He had belief in himself.

I always enjoy his interviews with his wit and insights and reactions which many times for me are just out of the blue right in my/your/our face. No pretenses.

In the end, his is a love story. A gift to us here and to many more to come. His love for Yoko is a great example of committment, desire, and a natural want to share himself; to give and recieve in the midst of it, and to learn and to grow.

His/their story will be the study of centuries to come as artists, friends, lovers, man and wife. As well as of the music, the art, the impact and the influence. I for one am very glad that his tenure in this life coicided with mine, at least for a while.

At 1/11/2011 09:25:00 PM, Blogger wardo said...

Anytime I see something about John Lennon's final days -- and truth be told, I was 12 years old at the time -- part of me keeps hoping that the story will turn out differently somehow. That the doctor will come out of the operating room and tell the media that he's going to be fine. That Walter Cronkite will have a different lead story for the news. That all the NYC radio stations won't be playing Lennon and Beatles songs as a tribute. But every time, I get sucked in, and the story ends the same horrible way.

It's impossible to say how John would have conducted himself had he lived these past 30 years. I'd like to think he'd've been as relevant as Neil, seeing the world around us and commenting as he saw fit. But there's no way to know that. As it is, we can only take the wisdom where we can find it. As for me, "I don't know how I'm standing here, living in the light." But I'm going to keep going. "Got fuel to burn, got roads to drive."

At 1/12/2011 09:55:00 AM, Blogger Old Black said...

I was (and am) a very big John Lennon admirer but I find it's a reach to describe his use of the term "fork in the road" as unusual. Where I come from, it's a common expression. Robert Frost essentially used it: "Two roads converged in the woods and I, I took the one least travelled by. And that has made all the difference."

Lennon did seem full of energy and ready to get back to it in late 1980. At the time, I was a DJ at my college radio station and I remembered how excited I was to drop the needle on the pre-release "Double Fantasy". Except for "Woman" and "Watching the Wheels", I was very disappointed. And years later, listening to that album, I concluded it was pretty mediocre. I still do (although Beautiful Boy grew on me).

But I think good things were ahead for John if fate hadn't tragically intervened. I strongly suspect we would have seen a reincarnation of the Beatles - not necessarily (but possibly) in name, but certainly John and Paul working together. The idea of that - Paul adding his musicality and John tempering Paul's sugary side - is what haunts me the most.

At 1/12/2011 10:40:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@SONY - nice

@Old Black - yes, a stretch. tried to qualify that in the post. just found it somewhat eerie.

yes, the possibilties of what Lennon might have done.

madmen with handguns...

At 1/12/2011 12:06:00 PM, Blogger Sunny82 said...

I'm a pretty big Neil Young fab but my interest begins and ends with the music that the man makes. I always feel a little dirty as a fan when reading a story like this; it's kind of weird the way in which you try and find a tenuous link between Neil Young and any and every other thing. Can't you just stick to the actual news stories instead of making up stuff like this?

At 1/12/2011 01:04:00 PM, Blogger RICK RANGEL said...


At 1/12/2011 02:12:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@S - well, now. "it's kind of weird the way in which you try and find a tenuous link between Neil Young and any and every other thing." really?

On the one hand, that's kinda the point of the blog. Afterall, the centerpiece of TW is the Neil Matters page.

There are lots of other places to get just "actual news stories". What would be the point to have TW be just another news site? Isn't that why you're here? To get more than just setlists, chords, tabs, lyrics, etc?

2nd - "making stuff up"? That's a rather serious charge that you need to support with facts.

Lastly, what exactly should we be doing here??

@Rick - inside voices...

At 1/12/2011 02:21:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

There are some other comments I made earlier this year on the 'Imagine' John/Neil page which I won't repeat, but to say the least of it, to me Neil Young & John Lennon stand at the front with Dylan and potentially a few others at the top of the heap relative to artistic and musical expression and musical integrity to themselves. I also now view Lennon's work as never-ending and frozen. It remains active to his causes, his beliefs and his personality and always will because the tape stopped. Other musicians/artists crescendo and fall, or seem to mellow or don't live up to the climbing impressions of thier youth, even Neil to some degree and in the eyes of some. Can't be helped. But the tragedy of Lennon fixes, to me anyway, that 'feel' of his music, his personna and everything. May even enhance it as I go back to dig deeper into it all as the historical story is a reference to itself and now can not change.

At 1/12/2011 03:33:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

As much as I admire and enjoy so much of Lennon's musical legacy and as much as I genuinely respect his message of peace and love, Lennon lacked the spirituality that Neil has been fostering for decades. Lennon was so focused on life here on this Earth that I feel he missed out on genuine soulfulness - eternity and what it means. Look how he attacked Bob Dylan when Dylan decided to become a Christian - I believe Lennon's response to 'Gotta Serve Somebody' was...'serve yourself'. I'm sorry but that attitude is the polar opposite of so many of Neil's songs which deal with the great mysteries of the universe - God Himself. 'No Hidden Path' / 'Spirit Road' / 'When God Made Me' / 'The Way' / - the list goes on and on. I don't know I'm just pointing out a huge difference here between two great songwriters and their effect on the culture at large through their music.

At 1/12/2011 03:35:00 PM, Blogger John said...


I appreciate all the time and effort you put in on the Thrasherswheat site. Maybe I don't agree with every item posted or position taken, but I find the site informative and entertaining and relevent. Its your site-you understand the need to follow your own muse. My muse is often asleep or notoriously lazy, so I must rely on your hard work. So all your critics need to sit alone they're no better than you for what they've shown. Everybody knows its all the same song anyway


At 1/12/2011 08:24:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@SONY - keep on speakin' out

@Jonathan - interesting points on Lennon, Dylan & Young. Some food for thought....

@Electrocruiser - thanks man.

At 1/13/2011 01:04:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

On the other hand, Neil has been blessed to live thirty years + more since Lennon was murdered - perhaps Lennon would have changed.

But I'll still stand by my comment...

Peace Thrasher

At 1/13/2011 03:37:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

There certainly is merit to evaluating or perceiving the 'spiritualness' of musical artists. Lenon, Dylan and Neil being marquee players with the vast numbers of songs they've written. They sing about nearly everthing under the sun, painting lyrical landscapes based on song content. The intensity, versatility, delivery and style of each is without question incomparable.

Then you have song content. This is vastly different from each while also being somewhat similar in their exposure of topics and the story line of each song. Peace, love, understanding....drugs, sex, betrayel, rock & name it. And that's what makes 'em great. They are vastly intelligent, coloquial, and 'soulfull' with a myriad of talent displayed in the lyrics, the presentation and their performaces musically. They have each defined what rock and roll is.

Whatever level of spirituality is involved generally comes out in the lyrical phrasing and juxtapositioning of the words and ideas/storylines. Dylan put out 'Saved' which is obvious. Shot of Love - excellent. And some others. Lennon stated his beliefs - God is a concept...Don't believe in Jesus/Bhudda/I-ching....and Neil somewhere in between with When God made me, and others.

Harrison made many references to his beliefs in his songs, and if anyone knows who Laryy Norman is/was, he's the Christian version of all these guys put together.

It's hard to talk about things you don't know. Writing songs typically exposes the things one believes, thinks and feels, also one's perspectives on issues, be it politics, religion, love, family, almost everything.

The difference between Lennon, Dylan and Neil is relatively as basic and the difference in thier fingerprints. It's hard to say which is best - cause, as Neil said..."there is no best in music".

It's hard to know how another 30 years would have affected John Lennon. Probably reinforced what he already showed. I've often thought with all the Beatles went through so fast with so much exposure, they are really much older than their years.

At 1/13/2011 04:14:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

Great thoughtful comments there Sony - thanks a bunch...

I was speaking directly to Lennon's remarks about Dylan's conversion but I also "feel" it in Lennon's solo music - his songs - that is the lack of soulfullness - and of course that is a 100% subjective opinion.

But thanks again for making me think...

At 1/13/2011 04:53:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

"How sweet the sound" too - with all of 'em

At 1/15/2011 09:13:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Wow, what a stretch by Thrasher.

Yea, so 30 years ago, John Lennon uttered the words "Fork in the Road"...and then, unbelievably, Neil Young names an album Fork in the Road decades later!


Thrash, you're losing your fastball, big guy!

At 1/15/2011 02:14:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@Rusted - thank you for the feedback.

Yes, a stretch. Exactly as stated in the original post. Yet, an eerie stretch -- not "EERY". (inside voices, now).

Also, has stated above @ 1/12/2011 03:12:00 PM, this was the core original purpose of TW, as you know. If you think that's a stretch, check out some of the other stretches we've made over the years that have gone on unremarked.

Oddly, Rusted, i can't say i recall you commenting on anything before? Now why is that? Would've have thought you might comment on other Lennon/Young connections like the other commenters have above here. Afterall, isn't that what makes it interesting?

we're not trying to dazzle anyone with fastballs here... just throw curve balls.

You know why? because we just passed the FITR...

At 1/15/2011 05:16:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Thrash, give it a rest with our pompous, elitist views. I have not the time for them.

I haven't posted here before because i never had an account.

Wow, let's turn this into a conspiracy. Better yet, let's call it "eerie." Or however the hell you spell it.

Have a good one, champ.

PS - I hope you enjoy the Neil interviews I posted for your enjoyment. There's a lot more Neil-related content in those videos then the bogus Neil-Lennon connection that you created out of thin air.

PSS - Grow some thicker skin.


At 1/15/2011 05:42:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

thrasher, you wrote: "...Also, has stated above @ 1/12/2011 03:12:00 PM...."

Hmmmm, me thinks you meant to write "...Also, as stated above @ 1/12/2011 03:12:00 PM...." - not "HAS" - (inside voices, now).

What comes around, goes around, buddy....!


At 1/15/2011 08:14:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

@rusted - go start your own blog. T doesn't owe a shred of decency whan ya act like you have. You say you don't have the time so go soak your head in oil rusty.

At 1/15/2011 08:36:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Sony, come on man......Thrash is a big boy.

he can handle it.


At 1/15/2011 08:38:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

btw, it's so eerie (sp?) that Lennon uttered the words "Fork In The Road" 30-plus years ago!

is it also eerie (sp?) that a billion other people said the name words over the last 30 years?

come on boys, grow a thick skin.


At 1/17/2011 10:50:00 AM, Blogger Jonathan said...

Hey Rusted - you come across as a genuine 100% prick. Talk about elitist pompous views - go re-read your own assinine posts. And get bent while you're at it - prick.

Sorry Thrasher I was going to let it go and take the high road but this clown harkens back to the Troll era from last summer. What a dick.

At 1/17/2011 11:35:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@Jonathan - easy now. actually Rusted and i worked things out & were cool now. He has a nice channel to check out linked on the MTV post.

At 1/17/2011 12:39:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...


I keep seeing this, please define

At 1/17/2011 12:41:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

@Thrasher - sorry that was my gut reaction and then I see that it was posted over the weekend - glad you guys are cool. I know I've challenged you before on a few political matters but I hope I've never come across as a dick like that.


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