Double fantasy

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Double fantasy
Studio album by John Lennon and Yoko Ono


17th November 1980

Label (s) Geffen Records , EMI

Format (s)

LP , MC , CD , download

Genre (s)


Title (number)

14 (LP) / 17 (CD)

running time

LP: 45 min 5 s

  • Hugh McCracken: guitar
  • Michelle Simpson,
    Cassandra Wooten,
    Cheryl Mason Jacks,
    Eric Troyer,
    Benny Cumming Singers,
    The Kings Temple Choir: Backing Vocals


Studio (s)

Shaved Fish by John Lennon

A story by Yoko Ono

Double fantasy The John Lennon Collection by John Lennon

Season of Glass by Yoko Ono

Double Fantasy ( English 'Doppelte Fantasie') is the seventh solo studio album by John Lennon after the breakup of the Beatles . At the same time, including the three avant-garde albums with his wife Yoko Ono , the live album by the Plastic Ono Band and the compilation album, it is John Lennon's twelfth album and the sixth album with Yoko Ono. At the same time, it is also the eleventh album by Yoko Ono. It was released in Great Britain and the United States on November 17, 1980 .

Three weeks after the album was released, John Lennon was murdered by Mark David Chapman outside his New York apartment . After Lennon's death, sales of the album increased and it reached number one on the charts in the United States and Great Britain, among others.

History of origin

Musical break

After John Lennon and Yoko Ono retired from the music business after the birth of their son Sean in October 1975, there was little news to report about the couple, who had previously made headlines through their activities. Lennon later cited the reasons for the withdrawal that on the one hand he wanted to concentrate fully on his second son after he had missed the childhood of his first son Julian , on the other hand he had had enough of being a rock star, the constant contractual obligations he had had since he was 22 . Year of life was exposed.

"[...] I had been under obligation or contract from the time I was 22 until well into my 30s. After all those years, it was all I knew. I wasn't free. I was boxed in. My contract was the physical manifestation of being in prison. It was more important to face myself and face that reality than to continue a life of rock 'n' roll - and to go up and down with the whims of either your own performance or the public's opinion of you. Rock 'n' roll was not fun anymore. "

- John Lennon, 1980

John Lennon and Yoko Ono gave two interviews at the time. An interview of Lennon and Ono with Elliot Mintz was taped on January 1, 1976 and aired on the radio from January 26 to February 1, 1976. The couple gave another interview on October 4, 1977 at the Okura Hotel in Tokyo , in which they stated that their current priorities are family life and the upbringing of their child and that they will therefore retire from the music business until their son Sean is five become.

Then the Lennons got in touch on May 27, 1979 with an advertisement in the New York Times in which they reported about their existence under the heading "Love Letter From John And Yoko To People Who Ask Us What, When And Why".

Contrary to the statements about the satisfied existence as a househusband, Lennon went through phases of uncertainty. Ono therefore sent him on various trips that took him to Hong Kong , South Africa , Egypt and finally to Bermuda in June 1980 . According to his own statements, it was there that Lennon made the decision to record an album again. The trigger was the song Rock Lobster by the American band The B-52’s , which he heard while visiting a dance club and which reminded him of Ono's music. The time seemed to be ripe to get active again - or as Lennon put it in an interview with Rolling Stone : "It's time to get out the old ax and wake the wife up!"

Although Lennon had n't released any recordings since the release of his best-of album Shaved Fish in October 1975, he had not been idle musically. In the five years of his self-chosen “exile” he composed numerous song fragments and made demo recordings at home. Without the pressure of having to record an album, however, these compositions remained largely unfinished. Here is a selection of the demo recordings:

  • 1975/1976: She's a Friend of Dorothy’s , Sally and Billy and Tennessee .
  • 1977/1978: Now and Then , Free as a Bird , Whatever Happened to? , One of the Boys and Mirror, Mirror (On the Wall) .
  • 1979/1980 in addition to demo recordings that were used for Double Fantasy , other songs were recorded: Gone from this Place , The Happy Rishikesh Song , Help Me to Help Myself , Howling at the Moon , I watch Your Face , India , Life begins at 40 , Memories , Real Love , That's the Way the World is and others.

All songs were published officially or on bootlegs in later years .

Lennon drew on some of these ideas when he set about composing songs for the new album in Bermuda.

The name of the album was John Lennon, as he walked through the Botanical Garden of Bermuda and a Freesia met, the Double Fantasy was said.

The recordings

The Hit Factory recording studio

After John Lennon and Yoko Ono had composed enough material for the album, Jack Douglas was hired as co- producer . Douglas had worked with Lennon when he was a sound engineer on the recording of Imagine . John Lennon returned from Bermuda on July 30, 1980, and music rehearsals began on August 2 and 4, 1980. An ensemble of studio musicians was put together in great secrecy and only found out who they were working for during the first rehearsal in the Dakota apartment .

The recordings began on August 6, 1980 in the New York "Hit Factory" studios. Lennon and Ono took turns in the recording sessions. Ono worked from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the late afternoon. John Lennon came into the studio around 7pm and worked until the wee hours of the morning. Jack Douglas documented the development of the songs by recording the entire recording on tapes, which John Lennon was not aware of during the recording.

During the second week of recording, Jack Douglas also invited guitarist Rick Nielsen and drummer Bun E. Carlos, both members of the Cheap Trick music group , to play the Lennon song I'm Losing You and the. With Tony Levin and George Small Recorded Ono song I'm Moving On . Original plans to use these two versions were then dropped.

In the next two weeks the following 22 songs were recorded,

including twelve songs by John Lennon:

  1. (Just Like) Starting Over
  2. Cleanup time
  3. I'm losing you
  4. Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)
  5. Watching the wheels
  6. Woman
  7. Dear Yoko
  8. I don't wanna face it
  9. I'm stepping out
  10. Borrowed Time
  11. (Forgive Me) My Little Flower Princess
  12. Nobody told me

and ten songs by Yoko Ono:

  1. Kiss kiss kiss
  2. Give me something
  3. I'm moving on
  4. Yes I'm Your Angel
  5. Beautiful boys
  6. Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him
  7. Hard Times Are Over
  8. Walking on Thin Ice
  9. Don't be scared
  10. O'Sanity

Of the 22 songs, 14 were selected for Double Fantasy .

score for the song Woman, written by John Lennon

On August 8, 1980, a test recording of the Ono song Nobody Sees Me Like You Do was recorded, but so far it is only available on bootlegs. A re-recording of the song appeared on the Yoko Ono album Season of Glass . On August 19, 1980 the essential recordings were finished.

Between August 18 and 22, 1980, music videos were recorded under the direction of Jay Dubin in which John Lennon sang rock 'n roll and blues songs: C'mon Everybody , Rip It Up , I'm a Man , Be-Bop-A-Lula , 12-bar Blues , Dream Lover , Stay , Mystery Train , Blues in the Night and the Beatles song She's a Woman . The songs, but not the videos, were only published on bootlegs . During the filming, the two videos for the songs I'm Losing You and I'm Moving On were recorded on August 19, 1980 ; the full videos have not yet been legally published.

On August 25, 1980, a preliminary version of Double Fantasy was compiled, which had a different order of the songs compared to the published version and included Walking on Thin Ice and the two songs with Cheap Trick:

page 1

  1. (Just Like) Starting Over
  2. Yes I'm Your Angel
  3. Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)
  4. Give me something
  5. Watching the wheels
  6. Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him
  7. I'm Losing You (Cheap Trick Version)

Page 2

  1. Walking on Thin Ice
  2. Dear Yoko
  3. Beautiful boys
  4. Woman
  5. I'm Moving On (Cheap Trick Version)
  6. Cleanup time
  7. Hard Times Are Over

In September one began with the recording of overdubs and with the mixing , which was completed on October 13, 1980.

The remaining songs remained in their raw version for the time being, only Walking on Thin Ice was completed on December 8, 1980.

The remaining songs of the recording sessions were released in January 1984 on the album Milk and Honey , further versions of the songs appeared in November 1998 on the box set John Lennon Anthology ; as well as on the bonus CD Home Tapes of the Signature Box in October 2010.

Until November 1980 John Lennon worked on other songs, but they did not get beyond the stage of demo recordings, his last songs were Grow Old with Me , Serve Yourself , Gone from this Place , Dear John and You Saved My Soul .

Lyrically, the songs on John Lennon's Double Fantasy album essentially deal with the relationship with his wife Yoko Ono and his son Sean, or his family situation. Yoko Ono's texts basically deal with the same topics, but the texts are often more critical and direct. Overall, the album should represent a dialogue between man and woman.

(Just Like) Starting Over lyrically deals with John Lennon's continuing love for Yoko Ono, the same subject can be found in Dear Yoko .

I'm Losing You includes relationship problems and the momentary inability to contact the partner over the phone.

Another homage to Yoko Ono and women in general is the song Woman.

Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) is a song for his son Sean.

Cleanup Time glorifies the Lennon family's current social situation.

In the song Watching the Wheels , John Lennon describes the inquiries that were made during his five years of musical inactivity and how he responded to them.

According to the text on the booklet of the Onobox , three of the songs on the album by Yoko Ono are from earlier years, for example Give Me Something and I'm Moving On were composed in 1973. Hard Times Are Over was first recorded in 1974 for the Yoko Ono album A Story .

Yoko Ono was sued for her composition I'm Your Angel in June 1981 because of its similarities to the song Makin 'Whoopee .

The album was released in 1981 in the GDR on the Amiga label. It was the first of two John Lennon albums released in the GDR; the second was Shaved Fish .

In February 1982, Double Fantasy was named "Album of the Year" at the Grammy Awards .


John Lennon and Yoko Ono had produced the album from their own resources in order not to have to contract with a record company. That way they were in complete control of the album. Several major record companies were interested in selling Double Fantasy . The choice fell on Geffen Records , since David Geffen managed to develop a trusting relationship with Lennon and Ono. Geffen didn't mind that Ono was musically involved and he decided not to listen to the material beforehand.

Cover design

The cover pictures were photographed by Kishin Shinoyama. The design comes from Christopher Whorf / Art Hotel.

Comeback and promotional activities

John Lennon and Yoko Ono , 1980

As part of the advertising campaign for the upcoming album Double Fantasy , John Lennon and Yoko Ono conducted several interviews with radio stations and magazines. Between September 10 and 28, 1980, the couple conducted a 30-hour interview with David Sheff for Playboy magazine . The interviews were conducted in her apartment in the Dakota Building and in the “La Fortuna Coffee Shop”. Parts of the interview were published on December 16, 1983 on the album Heart Play - unfinished dialogue .

On September 17, 1980, Barbara Graustark was interviewed for Newsweek magazine, and a day later a reporter for the New York Times visited the Lennons in the studio.

After the album was released, advertising photos of Allan Tannenbaum and Annie Leibovitz were made from late November to early December , as well as film recordings by Ethan Russell.

On November 15, 1980, John Lennon met Ringo Starr at the Plaza Hotel in New York, where he presented Starr with a music cassette with four songs, with the two demo recordings Life Begins at Forty and Nobody Told Me on the cassette. It was planned joint recordings in January 1981 for the Ringo Starr album Stop and Smell the Roses .

After completing the next album, John Lennon planned to go on tour for the first time with the studio musicians of Double Fantasy . The tour was to begin under the title One World, One People in Japan in May 1981 , followed by Europe and the USA.

Further interviews followed, on December 5, 1980 with Jonathan Cott from Rolling Stone music magazine, on December 6, 1980 the couple conducted a three-hour interview with Andy Peebles for BBC Radio 1 in the Hit Factory Studio , the majority of which was on November 12, 1990 was released on the album John & Yoko: The Interview .

After the photo session with Annie Leibovitz, he gave John Lennon's last interview to RKO Radio on the afternoon of December 8, 1980 , interviewers were Dave Sholin, Laurie Kaye and Ron Hummel. The interview was published on several - partly illegal - albums and as a download .

Death of John Lennon

Lennon was murdered in front of the entrance to the Dakota Building in 1980

On the evening of December 8, 1980, John Lennon and Yoko were working on the final mixing of the Ono composition Walking on Thin Ice at Record Plant East . They didn't return to the Dakota Building until 10:48 p.m. , contrary to his custom, Lennon instructed his driver not to go into the courtyard of the building, but to let him and Yoko Ono get off in front of the house. After walking past the archway of the Dakota Building, the killer shot John Lennon with a revolver from about six meters away. Lennon was still conscious when he was driven to Roosevelt General Hospital but died from his serious injuries at 11:07 p.m. John Lennon was 40 years old.

Track list

page 1

  1. (Just Like) Starting Over ( John Lennon ) - 3:56
  2. Kiss Kiss Kiss ( Yoko Ono ) - 2:41
  3. Cleanup Time (Lennon) - 2:58
  4. Give Me Something (Ono) - 1:35
  5. I'm Losing You (Lennon) - 3:57
  6. I'm Moving On (Ono) - 2:20
  7. Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) (Lennon) - 4:02

Page 2

  1. Watching the Wheels (Lennon) - 4:00
  2. Yes I'm Your Angel (Ono) - 3:08
  3. Woman (Lennon) - 3:32
  4. Beautiful Boys (Ono) - 2:55
  5. Dear Yoko (Lennon) - 2:34
  6. Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him (Ono) - 4:02
  7. Hard Times Are Over (Ono) - 3:20

Bonus title

  1. Help Me to Help Myself (Lennon) - 2:37 (appeared on the 2000 re-release)
  2. Walking on Thin Ice (Ono) - 6:00 (appeared on the 2000 re-release)
  3. Central Park Stroll (dialogue) - 0:17 (appeared on the 2000 re-release)


  • It was first released in CD format in September 1986 in the USA and in October 1986 in Europe on the Geffen Records label; in January 1989 there was a release by Capitol Records . The CD is accompanied by an eight-page booklet containing the lyrics and information about the album.
  • The CD release from 1989 was remastered by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab (MFSL) and was released in April 1994 as a gold-plated 24-carat CD in a limited edition. The CD comes with a twelve-page illustrated booklet containing information on the album and the lyrics to the song.
  • In October 2000 the album was re-released in a remastered , but not remixed version, with two bonus tracks and a short dialogue by the EMI . The remastering took place in the summer of 2000 at Sterling Sound Studios in New York under the supervision of Yoko Ono. George Marino was responsible for the remastering. The CD comes with a 20-page illustrated booklet that contains information about the album and the lyrics to the song. On the occasion of the re-release, the six-track promotional compilation album Starting Over for the albums John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band , Imagine and Double Fantasy with interview excerpts by John Lennon and comments by Yoko Ono was released in the USA .
  • In October 2010 the album was re-released in a remastered version, in the original mix and without bonus tracks. The remastering took place in 2010 at Sterling Sound Studios in New York by George Marino. The album has a cardboard cover that can be opened and a 16-page illustrated booklet is enclosed, which contains information about the album and the lyrics. The design comes from the company Peacock and Karla Merrifield.

Single releases

(Just Like) Starting Over

In the run-up to the album, the single (Just Like) Starting Over / Kiss Kiss Kiss was released in Great Britain and the USA on October 24, 1980 .

In the USA a 12 ″ promotional single (Just like) Starting Over / Kiss Kiss Kiss , which contains a 20 second longer outro of (Just like) Starting Over , was published for advertising purposes .

The 7 ″ promotional single was released in the USA as follows: the mono version is on the A side and the stereo version of the A side of the single is on the B side.


After Lennon's death, Woman / Beautiful Boys was released as a second single on January 12, 1981 in the USA and on January 16, 1981 in Great Britain .

The promotional single Woman / Dear Yoko was produced in Italy .

Watching the wheels

The third single in Great Britain was released on March 27, 1981, and in the US on March 16, 1981, Watching the Wheels / Yes, I'm Your Angel .

Walking on Thin Ice

Yoko Ono had previously released the title Walking on Thin Ice on February 20, 1981 in the UK and on February 6, 1981 in the US , which was recorded during the sessions for the album Double Fantasy . In Germany the single was also released in 12 ″ format.

The B-side It Happened is another Ono composition originally recorded in 1974 and remixed in 1980 by Jack Douglas, John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The song begins with a conversation between John and Yoko, recorded on November 21, 1980 in Central Park , New York. The original was released on July 22, 1997 on the Yoko Ono album A Story .

The US promotional 12 ″ vinyl single also contains the song Hard Times Are Over , as does the British cassette single.

More singles

  • On June 5, 1981, the single (Just like) Starting Over / Woman was released in the USA .
  • On November 4, 1981, the single Watching the Wheels / Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) was released in the United States .
  • In 1999, the 3 ″ CD single (Just like) Starting Over / Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) was released in Japan .
  • On January 15, 2001, the 7 "vinyl jukebox single was released in blue vinyl in the USA: (Just Like) Starting Over / Watching the Wheels .
  • On January 15, 2001, another 7 "vinyl jukebox single was released on clear vinyl in the USA: Woman / Walking on Thin Ice .

Chart placements

year album Chart placements
1980 Double fantasy 2 1 - 1 1
year Single release Chart placements
1980 (Just Like) Starting Over 4th 1 1 1 1
1981 Woman 4th 3 2 1 2
1981 Walking On Thin Ice (Yoko Ono) separate single - - - 35 58
1981 Watching the wheels 46 12 - 30th 10

Sales figures and awards

Country / Region Award Sales
Awards for music sales
(country / region, Award, Sales)
Germany (BVMI) Germany (BVMI) Gold record icon.svg gold 250,000
France (SNEP) France (SNEP) Platinum record icon.svg platinum 300,000
Hong Kong (IFPI / HKRIA) Hong Kong (IFPI / HKRIA) Platinum record icon.svg platinum 20,000
New Zealand (RMNZ) New Zealand (RMNZ) Platinum record icon.svg platinum 15,000
Spain (Promusicae) Spain (Promusicae) Gold record icon.svg gold 50,000
United States (RIAA) United States (RIAA) Platinum record icon.svg 3 × platinum 3,000,000
United Kingdom (BPI) United Kingdom (BPI) Platinum record icon.svg platinum 300,000
All in all Gold record icon.svg2 × gold
Platinum record icon.svg7 × platinum

Double Fantasy Stripped Down

On October 1st 2010 the double CD Double Fantasy Stripped Down was released . Disc 1 is titled Double Fantasy Stripped Down and Disc 2 is titled Original Album . While the second CD contains the newly remastered version of the album, Stripped Down is, according to the CD booklet, a complete remix by Jack Douglas and Yoko Ono, which was made in the Avatar Studios. The main musical difference to the original mix is ​​that the voices of John Lennon and Yoko Ono can be heard more clearly and various instrumental accompaniments and choirs have been "left out". According to the CD booklet, Yoko Ono gives the reason that she never liked the mixes of the 1970s and 1980s because, in her opinion, the voices were "buried". The running time of the CD Double Fantasy Stripped Down has been extended by three minutes compared to the original version, to 48 minutes and 13 seconds, by adding studio talks or later fading out songs. The newly designed cover is based on drawings by Sean Lennon .

Track list / length of CD 1

  1. (Just Like) Starting Over - 4:24
  2. Kiss Kiss Kiss - 2:45
  3. Cleanup Time - 3:56
  4. Give Me Something - 1:31
  5. I'm Losing You - 4:26
  6. I'm Moving On - 2:28
  7. Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) - 3:50
  8. Watching the Wheels - 3:32
  9. Yes, I'm Your Angel - 2:53
  10. Woman - 3:45
  11. Beautiful Boys - 3:16
  12. Dear Yoko - 3:03
  13. Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him - 4:46
  14. Hard Times Are Over - 3:38


  • John Blaney: Lennon and McCartney - Together Alone: ​​A Critical Discography of their Solo Work . Jawbone, 2007, ISBN 1-906002-02-9 .
  • Chip Madinger, Mark Easter: Eight Arms To Hold You - The Solo Compendium . 44.1 Productions, 2000, ISBN 0-615-11724-4 , pp. 130-146.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Newsweek ; Interview with Newsweek magazine; Issued September 29, 1980
  2. a b c Interview with Playboy magazine; U.S. edition from January 1981
  3. ^ A b Lennon and McCartney - Together Alone: ​​A Critical Discography of their Solo Work . Jawbone, 2007, p. 142
  4. Interview with Rolling Stone ; U.S. edition dated January 22, 1981
  5. ^ A b Lennon and McCartney - Together Alone: ​​A Critical Discography of their Solo Work . Jawbone, 2007, p. 143 f.
  6. Text: Video recordings for I'm Losing You
  7. ^ Text: video recordings in August 1980
  8. Text: (Just Like) Starting Over
  9. Text: Dear Yoko
  10. Text: I'm Losing You
  11. Text: Woman
  12. Text: Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)
  13. Text: Cleanup Time
  14. ^ Text: Watching the Wheels
  15. ^ GDR edition of the album
  16. ^ John Blaney: Lennon and McCartney - Together Alone: ​​A Critical Discography of their Solo Work . Jawbone, 2007, p. 144
  17. Playboy Interview
  18. Newsweek magazine interview
  19. Photos by Allan Tannenbaum
  20. Photo by Annie Leibovitz
  21. ^ Lennon Tour, One World, One People
  22. ^ Rolling Stone Interview
  23. Interview with Andy Peebles
  24. ^ RKO radio interview
  25. Interview albums
  26. USA promotion CD: Starting Over
  27. US 7 ″ vinyl single: (Just Like) Starting Over
  28. Promotion 12 ″ vinyl single: (Just Like) Starting Over
  29. Promotion 7 ″ vinyl single: (Just Like) Starting Over
  30. US 7 ″ vinyl single: Woman
  31. Italian 7 ″ promotion single: Woman / Dear Yoko
  32. US 7 ″ vinyl single: Watching the Wheels
  33. US 7 ″ vinyl single: Walking on Thin Ice
  34. German 12 ″ vinyl single: Walking on Thin Ice
  35. Promotion 12 ″ vinyl single: Walking on Thin Ice
  36. Cassette single: Walking on Thin Ice
  37. US 7 ″ vinyl single: (Just like) Starting Over / Woman
  38. US 7 ″ vinyl single: Watching the Wheels / Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)
  39. Japan 3 ″ CD single: (Just Like) Starting Over / Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)
  40. US 7 ″ -Jukebox-Vinyl-Single: (Just Like) Starting Over / Watching the Wheels
  41. US 7 ″ -Jukebox vinyl single: Woman / Walking on thin Ice
  42. Cover of Double Fantasy Stripped Down ( Memento from December 21, 2014 in the Internet Archive )