Mind Games

What we think of as ‘mind games’ are the manipulative shitty things people say to each other (especially in relationships) in order to get their way and/or generate drama, but that’s not at all what John Lennon meant. His point was rather more literal; that you should playfully open your mind. If it sounds acid-baked and corny in its optimism, that may be because he first started germinating the idea back in ’69. By the time he got around to finishing and recording the song, Lennon was actually going through some difficult times in his life. In 1973 he was in and out of court trying not to get deported from the US, he was under FBI surveillance, his last record had flopped, he was drinking heavily and his marriage was on the rocks. He didn’t have much to be exuberantly optimistic about. Yet he still managed to create one of his most triumphant and uplifting solo singles. There are lyrical references to all the hopeful bright things from the sixties that might have seemed goofy in hindsight, including the gallery show where he first met Yoko (YES is the answer.) You can debate whether love really is the only answer you need, but John Lennon held on to that mantra.


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