Tight A$

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"Tight A$"
Song by John Lennon from the album Mind Games
Released 16 November 1973
Recorded July–August 1973
Genre Rock
Length 3:37
Label Apple
Writer John Lennon
Producer John Lennon
Mind Games track listing

"Tight A$" is a song written by John Lennon released on his 1973 album Mind Games.[1][2] The song is also included in the 2010 compilation album, Gimme Some Truth.[3] A tongue-in-cheek rocker, Lennon managed to get the phrase "tight ass" past the censors.

Lyrics & music[edit]

The title of "Tight A$" is a pun on the expressions "tight as" and "tight ass."[4]

"Tight A$" is in a rockabilly style with a 1950s sound, along the lines of earlier rockabilly songs that inspired Lennon in his youth.[4][5][6] Lennon biographer Geoffrey Giuliano describes the music as "funky."[6] It is reminiscent of Elvis Presley's 1954 single "That's All Right."[4] Pop music historian Robert Rodriguez also finds influences from Carl Perkins and Doug Sahm.[7]

Lennon developed the riff for his later instrumental "Beef Jerky" by toying with variations on the music of this song and "Meat City."[4][8] Du Noyer particularly praises the pedal steel guitar playing of Pete Kleinow, as does music critic Johnny Rogan.[5][9] Pop culture historian Robert Rodriguez praises the "standout" extended guitar solo performed by David Spinozza.[7]

Lennon recorded the song at Record Plant East over many takes.[8] Take four was the version that was edited for release on Mind Games.[8][10] The backing track for the released version was composed of four separate segments spliced together.[10] The production uses echo to compress Lennon's vocal performance.[5]

In 1975, Lennnon wrote a letter to country singer Waylon Jennings, suggesting that Jennings record the song. Lennon believed the song would be a hit single for Jennings. Lennon had met Jennings, who had played in Buddy Holly's backup band, the Crickets, at the Grammy Awards several months earlier. [11]

Reception[edit]

Allmusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine describes "Tight A$" as a "forced, ham-fisted rocker."[2] Author Tim Riley describes it as "dross."[12] Du Noyer criticised it for having little to say, lacking energy and being an example of Lennon's ability for "knocking of songs to fulfil the album's quota."[9] John Blaney also criticizes the song for having little to say, but acknowledges that the song's "jokey wordplay was a timely reminder of what Lennon was capable of."[8] Chip Mandinger and Mark Easter regard the fact that the song isn't "about something" to be refreshing, given Lennon's "political ranting and raving" in the period just before the song's release and praise the song as "a rockin' little tune."[10] PopMatters describes the song as a "throwaway" but appreciates that it provides some "mindless fun."[13] Lennon himself described the song as "a bit of a throwaway."[14]

Robert Rodriguez, however, regards it as one of the "best unsung John" Lennon songs and "one of the highlights of Mind Games."[7] Rodriguez considers it a rocker of the sort that the Beatles used to play in their early days, sounding like an American song sung by an Englishman.[7] Although Rodriguez agrees that the song isn't about much, it represents the type of writing Lennon had often done earlier in his career "when a string of words that scanned nicely was enough," and also praises the band's tight playing on the song.[7] Johnny Rogan also praises the song as "one of the more interesting moments" of Mind Games, although acknowledging that it does not have the "greatest tune."[5] Keith Spore of The Milwaukee Sentinel called the song a "smashing serpentine rocker" which serves as a reminder of Lennon's past brilliance.[15] Rolling Stone Magazine critic Stephen Holden regards "Tight A$" as one of the two highlights of Mind Games, along with the title track.[16] Journalists Roy Carr and Tony Tyler also regard it as one of the best songs on Mind Games, saying it demonstrates the return of Lennon's "cockiness and irreverence," which they consider to possibly be his best qualities.[17]

Personnel[edit]

The musicians who performed on the original recording were as follows:[7][18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "John Lennon: Tight A$". The Beatles Bible. Retrieved 6 September 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Erlewine, S.T.. "Mind Games". Allmusic. Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
  3. ^ Erlewine, S.T.. "Gimme Some Truth". Allmusic. Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d Urish, B. & Bielen, K. (2007). The Words and Music of John Lennon. Praeger. pp. 48–49, 61. ISBN 978-0-275-99180-7. 
  5. ^ a b c d Rogan, J. (1997). The Complete Guide to the Music of John Lennon. Omnius Press. p. 79. ISBN 0711955999. 
  6. ^ a b Giuliano, G. (2004). Lennon in America: based in part on the lost Lennon diaries, 1971–1980. University of Michigan. p. 54. ISBN 9780815410737. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Rodriguez, R. (2010). Fab Four FAQ 2.0: The Beatles' Solo Years 1970–1980. Hal Leonard. pp. 206, 348. ISBN 978-0-87930-968-8. 
  8. ^ a b c d Blaney, J. (2007). Lennon and McCartney: together alone : a critical discography of their solo work. Jawbone Press. p. 81. ISBN 9781906002022. 
  9. ^ a b du Noyer, P. (1999). John Lennon: Whatever Gets You Through the Night. Thunder's Mouth Press. pp. 73–74. ISBN 1560252103. 
  10. ^ a b c Madinger, C. & Easter, M. (2000). Eight Arms to Hold You. 44.1 Productions. p. 87. ISBN 0-615-11724-4. 
  11. ^ http://www.savingcountrymusic.com/tag/george-harrison
  12. ^ Riley, T. (2002). Tell me why: a Beatles commentary. Da Capo. p. 381. ISBN 9780306811203. 
  13. ^ "John Lennon 101 – Day 4: The Lost Weekend (1972–1973)". PopMatters.com. Retrieved 2013-01-07. 
  14. ^ Hamelman, S.L. (2004). But Is It Garbage?: On Rock and Trash. University of Georgia Press. pp. 72–73. ISBN 9780820325873. 
  15. ^ Spore, K. (7 December 1973). "Beatles Reflected in Lennon Genius". The Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 25. Retrieved 20 December 2012. 
  16. ^ Holden, S. (7 December 2010). "Lennon's Music: A Range of Genius". Rolling Stone Magazine. Retrieved 2012-12-20. 
  17. ^ Carr, R. & Tyler, T. (1978). The Beatles: An illustrated record. Harmony Books. p. 108. ISBN 0-517-53367-7. 
  18. ^ Noyer, Paul Du (2010). "Mind Games". John Lennon: The Stories Behind Every Song 1970–1980 (Rev. ed.). London: Carlton Books Ltd. p. 82. ISBN 978-1-84732-665-2. 
  19. ^ Noyer, Paul Du (2010). "Mind Games". John Lennon: The Stories Behind Every Song 1970–1980 (Rev. ed.). London: Carlton Books Ltd. p. 88. ISBN 978-1-84732-665-2.