Gimme Some Truth
|"Gimme Some Truth"|
|Song by John Lennon from the album Imagine|
|Released||9 September 1971 (US)
8 October 1971 (UK)
Ascot Sound Studios, Surrey
|Genre||Hard rock, blues rock|
|Producer||John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and Phil Spector|
|"Gimme Some Truth"|
|Single by John Lennon|
|Released||15 November 1982|
|Producer(s)||Phil Spector, John Lennon, and Yoko Ono|
|John Lennon singles chronology|
"Gimme Some Truth" − or "Give Me Some Truth", as the title originally appeared on record sleeves − is a protest song written and performed by John Lennon. It was first released on his 1971 album Imagine. As with a number of songs on that album, the title track being one, "Gimme Some Truth" contains obvious political references emerging from the time it was written, during the latter years of the Vietnam War.
Work on the song began as early as January 1969 during The Beatles' Get Back sessions, which would eventually evolve into Let It Be. Bootleg recordings of the group performing songs that would eventually go onto the members' solo recordings feature a few performances of "Gimme Some Truth".
The song expresses Lennon's frustration with deceptive politicians ("short-haired yellow-bellied sons of Tricky Dicky"), with hypocrisy, and with chauvinism ("tight-lipped condescending mommy's little chauvinists"). The song encapsulates some widely held feelings of the time, when people were heavily participating in protest rallies against the government.
"Gimme Some Truth" uses a reference to the nursery rhyme "Old Mother Hubbard" (about a woman going to get her dog a bone, only to discover that her cupboard is empty) as verb. The song's mention of "soft-soap" employs that slang verb in its classic sense − i.e., insincere flattery that attempts to convince someone to do or to think something, as in the case of politicians who use specious or beguiling rhetoric to quell public unrest or to propagandise unfairly.
- John Lennon – vocals, electric guitar
- George Harrison – electric guitar, slide guitar
- Nicky Hopkins – piano
- Rod Linton – acoustic guitar
- Andy Davis – acoustic guitar
- Klaus Voormann – bass
- Alan White – drums
Cover versions and performances by other artists
- Billy Idol's band Generation X recorded it as B-side to "King Rocker" in 1978. It appeared on the USA release of their eponymous first album and also appears as a bonus track on the remastered version of 1979's Valley of the Dolls
- The Wonder Stuff included "Gimme Some Truth" on the expanded version of the 1989 album Hup.
- Sam Phillips recorded a version for her 1994 album Martinis & Bikinis.
- Ash released it as a B-side to "Angel Interceptor" in 1995.
- Travis's version is a B-side to "More Than Us", released in 1998.
- Pearl Jam covered this song on some of their live shows, more notably on the third leg of their 2003 tour during the beginning of the Iraq War. In his 8 July 2003 performance of the song in Madison Square Garden, Eddie Vedder substituted "Georgie Porgie" for "Tricky Dicky" in one verse, substituted the line "no blood for oil" for "money for rope," and as the outro repeated over and over the modified lyric "All we want is the truth / we can handle the truth." Following the song and before "I Am Mine," Vedder mentioned that it was the band's first time in New York since 9/11 and he thanked the people of New York for being so strong.
- On the 2007 compilation album Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur, The Wallflowers' frontman Jakob Dylan (son of Bob Dylan) covers the song and Dhani Harrison (son of George Harrison) reprises his father's role as lead guitarist. Mexican group Jaguares made another cover version for the same album.
- Primal Scream recorded this song as a B-side to their "Country Girl" single in 2006.
- In The Polyphonic Spree's 2007 tour promoting the release of the album The Fragile Army, the band opened their show with the song, with the lyrics projected on a piece of fabric strung across the front of the stage.
- Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs released a version on their 2009 collaboration Under the Covers, Vol. 2.
Other works named after the song
- A 2000 direct-to-video documentary film showing the recording sessions and evolution of Imagine took its title, Gimme Some Truth: The Making of John Lennon's Imagine Album, from this song.
- Jon Wiener took the title of this song for his 1999 book, Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI Files, about Nixon's attempt to deport Lennon in 1972.
- "Generation X [US] – Generation X : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
- Ankeny, Jason. "Martinis & Bikinis – Sam Phillips : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
- "Pearl Jam – Gimme Some Truth (Live at the Garden'03) – John Lennon – cover". youtube.com. 29 October 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
- "Five Horizons ] 2003 Concert Chronology part 3". Five Horizons. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
- Thomas, Stephen. "Under the Covers, Vol. 2 – Matthew Sweet : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
- Wiener, Jon (3 February 2000). Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI Files. University of California Press. p. 368. ISBN 978-0-520-21646-4.