John Lennon – How Do You Sleep?

The song is on the album “Imagine.” This John Lennon song is direct and to the point. With his feud with Paul in the papers and what John took as lyrics aimed at him and Yoko from Paul’s album “Ram” culminated with this song. John always said that “How Do You Sleep” was like one of Dylan’s nasty songs and mentioned “Like a Rolling Stone” but the big difference was that Bob veiled the identity of his target. This song was vicious but not as vicious as it could have been if Ringo and other musicians hadn’t intervened.

Yoko and Allen Klein were feeding some lines about Paul to John during the recording. Ringo was upset with the content and simply said: “That’s enough, John”. Alan White ended up playing the drums on the track.

This song can be hard to listen to as a Beatle fan but it is a catchy dark gritty song. I have always liked this song. George Harrison’s slide guitar cuts through and doesn’t have the sweet sound he uses for his songs. This is not John’s best song by any measure but the music has an intensity about it and is very powerful. It’s ironic but even without Paul being there he helped pull it out of John.

Paul did later admit that a few lyrics on “Ram” were pointed at John and Yoko but John, never one to hint…went for the throat. John would later soften and say the song was more about himself than Paul.

John and Paul would later repair the relationship…never to the point of working together again but on a friendly basis. They would keep in touch over the years talking on the phone, letters, and face to face at times.

To read more about it go to this link that will take you to The Beatles Bible website which is one of the best sites I have found on The Beatles. It contains a first-hand account of the session with Felix Dennis of OZ magazine.


Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

7 thoughts on “John Lennon – How Do You Sleep?”

  1. Agree with you on the Beatles Bible website- wonderful. This is a great sounding song- but like you pointed out- with Dylan it is only speculation on who Ballad Of A Thin Man or Like A Rolling Stone is about, on one listen you knew who this song was about. He should have just kept it in his head.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a love-hate relationship with this song. I love the sound of it and the music is really good but he was being a jerk at that moment.
      I am glad Paul took the high road after this song.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s raw and dark, and honest for that moment in time. I listen and just think “wow”. To me it reveals a lot more about John than Paul. Bottom line, those two had a nearly life-long association with high highs and low lows, and this was just one chapter, that might have been smoothed over by publicists, if not for John’s song.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Paul took the high road after this. I think the lyrics about each other stopped after this.

      Paul also admitted that he didn’t want a war of words with John Lennon.


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