Although in his extensive 1980 interview for Playboy he dismissed the song as “just a piece of nothing”, the lyrics of I Know (I Know) are open to interpretation as a commentary on Lennon’s relationship with Yoko Ono, which by 1973 was faltering. Lennon realised matters had turned sour, and the song can be seen as a confessional in which he claimed to finally be able to see clearly, just as he had before on the Imagine song ‘How?’ and ‘Jealous Guy’.

The curious repetition of the title in parentheses could have been simply one of Lennon’s whims, but it is possible that he was presenting a coded message – not for the first time – to his former bandmate Paul McCartney. Wings’ 1971 album Wild Life had featured the song Some People Never Know, in which McCartney lamented that some people fail to understand what it means to love. In this light, Lennon’s response saw the pair in agreement, in a marked contrast to their earlier song-based conflicts.