John Lennon – Crippled Inside

On December 8th I left my schedule empty because I know who I’m going to slide in there. It’s the ugliest rock date of the year. John by far is my favorite Beatle and the leader of that band. My next post as always on this date will be about where I was when I found out…and I update it some every year.

I’ve always considered Plastic Ono Band and Imagine the top two albums that Lennon made and either one will match up with the best of the other solo Beatles albums. They both are sparse and more simple than his Beatle colleagues. Imagine is a more polished album than Plastic Ono Band… of course, that is not saying a lot. Phil Spector produced this album and I’ve always wondered why Lennon got him when he didn’t like overproduced music. He kept Spector under control for the most part.

When the Beatles broke up, John and Paul dove headfirst into their individual careers. Paul jumped straight into pop and Lennon dived into writing what he thought was the truth and setting it to a backbeat. They were not going to veer from their respective targets. You could tell they didn’t have each other to hold the other back anymore. That is what the Beatles had as a whole that the two head Beatles didn’t anymore. George just went on… already accustomed to writing alone but John and Paul had no brakes.

For John, it paid off in two brilliant albums off the bat that probably would not have been the same with The Beatles. With Paul, it paid off with Ram but with just an OK debut album. After these first two albums, John seemed to lose some of his edge and Paul took a while but finally gained more confidence until he made his masterpiece Band On The Run released late in 1973.

David Bowie gave John a huge compliment. He said he could find the most odd ideas and turn them around for the masses.

Imagine peaked at #1 on the Billboard Album Charts and the UK. It also peaked at #2 in Canada in 1971.

John Lennon wearing David Bowie tshirt

David Bowie: “Hell, I mean, he was one of the major major influences on my musical life. I just thought he was the very best of what could be done with Rock and Roll. I felt such kin to him as much as he would rifle the avant-garde and look for ideas that were so on the outside on the periphery of what was the mainstream and then make them apply in a functional manner to something that was considered populist and make it work.”

“He would make the most odd idea and make it work for the masses I thought that was just so admirable. I mean, that was like making art work for the people and not sort of having it as an elitist, you know. The thing there was just so much about in that I admire, he was tremendous”

John Lennon: Songwriting is like getting the demon out of me. It’s like being possessed. You try to go to sleep, but the song won’t let you. So you have to get up and make it into something, and then you’re allowed to sleep. It’s always in the middle of the bloody night or when you’re half awake or tired, when your critical faculties are switched off.

‘Crippled Inside’ is a social comment. It talks about people having false fronts in society and really underneath there’s something else. Satire. There was one review of that song that said, ‘Oh, that kind of song has been done before…’ but I wasn’t even thinking about it. I was sitting down and this little riff came into me head, like an old Twenties song: ‘One thing you can’t hide is when you’re crippled inside.’ It just came to me, you know, like that, and I just finished it off.

Crippled Inside

You can shine your shoes and wear a suit
You can comb your hair and look quite cute
You can hide your face behind a smile
One thing you can’t hide
Is when you’re crippled inside

You can wear a mask and paint your face
You can call yourself the human race
You can wear a collar and a tie
One thing you can’t hide
Is when you’re crippled inside

Well now you know that your
Cat has nine lives
Nine lives to itself
But you only got one
And a dog’s life ain’t fun
Momma take a look outside

You can go to church and sing a hymn
You can judge me by the color of my skin
You can live a lie until you die
One thing you can’t hide
Is when you’re crippled inside

Well now you know that your
Cat has nine lives
Nine lives to itself
But you only got one
And a dog’s life ain’t fun
Momma take a look outside

You can go to church and sing a hymn
Judge me by the color of my skin
You can live a lie until you die
One thing you can’t hide
Is when you’re crippled inside

One thing you can’t hide
Is when you’re crippled inside
One thing you can’t hide
Is when you’re crippled inside

Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

18 thoughts on “John Lennon – Crippled Inside”

  1. some of his better lyrics. Of course he helped Bowie later on ‘Fame’ but I didn’t realize they were as big an influence on each other as they seem to have been. May both RIP

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can see why they were friends… Bowie also had that way of making something different than normal… a success across the board….as in Ziggy for one thing.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. After reading what Bowie said…I can see the influence more. Taking odd ideas for songs and making them work commercially. Bowie had that gift as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The Beatles solo stuff gets a bit over-rated I reckon, although it certainly has its moments. But they put so much of themselves into the band that there wasn’t much left in the tank, although George had the big stockpile of songs for ATMP.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well said, Max! It’s kind of mind-boggling that John has been gone for 42 years – that’s longer than he actually lived! I agree “John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band” and “Imagine” are his best albums. I also really like “Double Fantasy”, even though half of the songs are Yoko’s! “Crippled Inside” is a great tune!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This one sounds somewhat like “Don’t Pass Me By.” He’s really singing to the human condition here, as I feel each one of us is crippled inside. John has written important songs for the state of the human condition. It’s a dirty rotten shame he was taken from us so soon.

    Liked by 1 person

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