Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Oct 8th 2010 9:30AM by Gaylord Fields
Chris Walter, WireImage
From 1970s 'John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band'
When it comes to Beatlemania, I rank my particular strain of the syndrome as being as acute as it can manifest itself. That meant as a teen in the 1970s owning both US and British import vinyl, almost every mono and stereo variation, and enough Beatles bootleg LPs to have me looking over my shoulder in case the royalties police come a-callin'. That makes it especially odd that for years my ardor didn't extend to bothering to own any of the former Fab Four's individual efforts.
When I did finally get around to purchasing my first Lennon solo album, I had enough knowledge to suss out that the primal scream therapy-inspired 'John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band' was the one to own. And it's songs like the LP's second track, 'Hold On,' that sent me scurrying to invent a self-kicking machine. Coming off the album opener, 'Mother,' Lennon's naked, cathartic and self-flagellating exploration of his feelings of parental abandonment, 'Hold On' serves as a self-administered pep talk. It's deceptively simple in its structure and only 1:53 long, and in each of its three verses Lennon reminds himself/his wife/the world that "it's gonna be all right" and that each will, respectively, "win the fight/make the flight/see the light."
The song's arrangement and instrumentation are just as elemental. Phil Spector is credited as co-producer, but you wouldn't know it to hear it. Where are the castanets, the sleigh bells, the tympani, the massed instrumentation, the celestial choir and all the other building blocks of his famous Wall of Sound production technique? With just Lennon on guitar, longtime friend Klaus Voormann on bass and trusty sidekick Ringo Starr behind the kit, the barren setting makes every chord, every note count twice as much.
Also, why would a notorious (and that's putting it mildly) control freak like Spector allow Lennon to break out in a tension-relieving Cookie Monster impression mid-song? If not for this reminder that optimism and humor are part of Lennon's complex personality, I would probably need some primal therapy myself by the end of 'Plastic Ono Band,' especially after one listen to the album's penultimate track, Lennon's scorched-earth-policy manifesto, 'God.' 'Hold On' reminds John, Yoko, me, you and the rest of the world that life can get better, which makes me glad I grabbed on and held on tight.