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Jealous Guy

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"Jealous Guy"
US picture sleeve
Single by John Lennon
from the album Imagine
Released18 November 1985 (UK)
3 October 1988 (US)
Recorded24 May – 5 July 1971
Songwriter(s)John Lennon
John Lennon singles chronology
"Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him"
"Jealous Guy"
Alternative cover
1985 UK picture sleeve

"Jealous Guy" is a song written and originally recorded by the English rock musician John Lennon from his second studio album Imagine (1971). Not released as a single during Lennon's lifetime, it became an international hit in a version by Roxy Music issued in early 1981; this version reached #1 in the UK and Australia, and was a top 10 hit in several European countries. Lennon's own version was subsequently issued as a single, and charted in the US and UK.

Lennon began writing the song in 1968, when, as "Child of Nature", it was among the many songs demoed by the Beatles before they recorded their self-titled double album (also known as the "White Album"). The lyrics were originally inspired by a lecture given by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in early 1968, when the Beatles attended his spiritual retreat in Rishikesh, India. In January 1969, The Beatles (primarily John) jammed the song during their Get Back / Let It Be recording sessions, where it was referred to as "On the Road to Marrakesh".[1][2][3]

"Jealous Guy" is one of the most commonly recorded Lennon songs, with at least 92 cover versions.


The song's inspiration came in India, after the Beatles attended a lecture by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi about a "son of the mother nature". This inspired both Paul McCartney and John Lennon to write songs about the same subject. McCartney's composition, "Mother Nature's Son", was selected for The Beatles, but Lennon did not attempt to record "Child of Nature" during the sessions for the album. Both were demoed at George Harrison's Esher home in May 1968. The demo of "Child of Nature" featured Lennon's double-tracked vocal and playing an acoustic guitar. Early the following year, Lennon revisited the song as "On the Road to Marrakesh" during the Get Back sessions.[4] Eventually, the lyrics were scrapped and replaced by the now well-known "Jealous Guy" lyrics for Imagine.

Listening to the original Esher Demo, the song begins "On the road to Rishikesh" and mentions mountains. It is not referring to Marrakesh in Morocco, and there is no evidence Lennon ever visited there. In its rewritten form, the song serves as a confessional in which Lennon addresses the feelings of inadequacy that resulted in pain for those he loved.

Three recordings of "Child of Nature" are currently known. The first is a demo of the song recorded at the home of George Harrison in May 1968. The second, on which Harrison sings backing vocals, was recorded at Twickenham Film Studios on 2 January 1969. A third recording was made at the Beatles' Apple Studio on 24 January. A snatch of the chorus from the second recording appears on the Fly on the Wall bonus disc packaged with Let It Be... Naked (2003).[4] The first recording appears on the fiftieth anniversary release of The Beatles, which contains all of the demos recorded at Esher.[5][6]


Lennon recorded "Jealous Guy" on 24 May 1971 at Ascot Sound Studios, where his vocals were overdubbed on 29 May 1971. String overdubs took place on 4 July 1971 at the Record Plant, in New York City.[7] Musicians included Mike Pinder of the Moody Blues and Joey Molland and Tom Evans of Badfinger.


Lennon's recording of "Jealous Guy" was released on the Imagine album in 1971. It was not released as a single until November 1985, five years after Lennon's murder, and four-and-a-half years after Roxy Music had taken their cover of the song to number one. Accompanied on the B-side by "Going Down on Love", a track from Walls and Bridges (1974), the single reached number 65 in the UK charts.[8]

In the United States, the single reached number 80 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1988, in conjunction with the release of the documentary film Imagine: John Lennon.[9] "Jealous Guy" also peaked at number 22 on the Hot Adult Contemporary chart.[10]

Critical reception[edit]

Stereogum contributors Timothy and Elizabeth Bracy rated it as Lennon's second best solo song, saying that "we have Lennon at his most wounded and vulnerable, confessing to every manner of emotional extortion, and somehow still on the defensive" in a song with "a melody worthy of anything the Beatles ever produced."[11]

Ultimate Classic Rock critic Stephen Lewis rated it as Lennon's third greatest solo love song, calling it "one of his most mature piano melodies."[12]


The following musicians performed on the final track on Imagine:[13][14]


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[15]
2011 release
Silver 200,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Promotional video[edit]

A promotional video was made for the song in 1971. It showed, mostly in a continuous overhead shot by helicopter, John and Yoko travelling in a hearse from their Tittenhurst Park mansion to a nearby lake, where they were then shown getting into a row boat.[16][17]

Other versions[edit]

"Jealous Guy" has been recorded by many musicians including Aslan,[18] Joe Cocker, Roberto Bellarosa, Donny Hathaway, Claudine Longet, the Faces, Frankie Miller, Roxy Music, Belinda Carlisle, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Peter Criss, Elliott Smith, Deftones, Spector, and the Weeknd. Lou Reed covered the song for a 2001 Lennon tribute concert. Jazz musician Jimmy Scott covered Jealous Guy on his 1998 album Holding Back the Years. The rock band the Black Crowes released a live cover of Jealous Guy on the 30th anniversary release of their debut studio album Shake Your Money Maker (1990).[19]

Roxy Music version[edit]

"Jealous Guy"
Single by Roxy Music
B-side"To Turn You On"
Released13 February 1981 (1981-02-13)(UK)[20]
4:57 (edit)
Songwriter(s)John Lennon
Roxy Music singles chronology
"In the Midnight Hour"
"Jealous Guy"
"More Than This"

Following Lennon's murder in 1980, Roxy Music added a version of the song to their set while touring in Germany, which they recorded and released in February 1981.[21] The single was released by Polydor with "To Turn You On" as the B-side, with catalogue number "ROXY 2".[21][22] The song was the only UK No. 1 hit for Roxy Music, topping the charts for two weeks in March 1981.[23] "To Turn You On" later appeared on their eighth studio album Avalon (1982), although it was slightly remixed.[24] Roxy Music's cover of "Jealous Guy" features on many Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music collections and 1980s music compilations, though not always in its full-length version. As of 1982, the single had sold 91,000 copies in Australia.[25]


Weekly charts[edit]
Chart (1981) Peak
Australian Kent Music Report[26] 1
Austrian Top 40[27] 6
Belgium VRT Top 30[27] 5
Dutch Top 40[27] 7
French Singles Chart[28] 9
German Media Control Singles Chart[27] 19
Irish Singles Chart[29] 3
New Zealand Singles Chart[27] 4
Norwegian Singles Chart[27] 6
Radio Luxemburg Singles[30] 1
Spanish Singles Chart 22
Swedish Singles Chart[27] 18
Swiss Singles Chart[27] 4
UK Singles Chart[31] 1
Chart (1988) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[32] 80
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[33] 22
US Cash Box Top 100[34] 64
Year-end charts[edit]
Chart (1981) Position
Australian (Kent Music Report)[35] 4
Belgian VRT Top 30[36] 28
Dutch Top 40[37] 61
UK Singles Chart[31] 20
Music video[edit]

A music video was filmed for the song, which mainly consisted of Bryan Ferry singing to camera before whistling and playing on a Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 synthesizer during the coda. Guitarist Phil Manzanera and saxophonist Andy Mackay also appear in the video during their respective solos.

Roberto Bellarosa version[edit]

"Jealous Guy"
Single by Roberto Bellarosa
from the album Ma voie
Released4 April 2012
Songwriter(s)John Lennon
Roberto Bellarosa singles chronology
"Jealous Guy"
"Je Crois"

In 2012, Belgian singer of Italian origin Roberto Bellarosa recorded "Jealous Guy" after winning the first season of The Voice Belgique. It was released as a single on 4 April 2012 and included on his debut studio album Ma voie.[38] The single reached number 4 in Belgium.[39]


  1. ^ "Get Back/Let It Be sessions: day 19". 28 January 1969. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
  2. ^ Beaumont, Mark (29 November 2021). "Every song The Beatles play in Peter Jackson's 'Get Back'". NME. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
  3. ^ Taylor, Tom (27 September 2023). "'Jealous Guy': How The Beatles rejected John Lennon's defining anthem". Far Out. Retrieved 24 January 2024.
  4. ^ a b "Child Of Nature". The Beatles Bible. 16 March 2008. Archived from the original on 17 April 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
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  8. ^ "Jealous Guy b/w Going Down On Love – John Lennon". Archived from the original on 16 July 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2009.
  9. ^ "The Billboard Hot 100-Jealous Guy". Billboard.
  10. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–2001. Record Research. p. 143.
  11. ^ Bracy, Timothy; Bracy, Elizabeth (13 May 2014). "The 10 Best John Lennon Songs". Stereogum. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  12. ^ Lewis, Stephen (20 March 2013). "Top 10 John Lennon Love Songs". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  13. ^ John Blaney (6 June 2005). John Lennon. John Blaney. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-9544528-1-0.
  14. ^ "John Lennon: Jealous Guy". The Beatles Bible. 3 August 2010. Archived from the original on 16 June 2016. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  15. ^ "British single certifications – John Lennon – Jealous Guy". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  16. ^ "YouTube – Jealous Guy (John Lennon) – promotional music video". YouTube. Archived from the original on 24 March 2016. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  17. ^ "YouTube – Jealous Guy (John Lennon) – official music video". YouTube. Archived from the original on 10 March 2016. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  18. ^ "Aslan Official Site – Singles". Aslan.ie. Archived from the original on 26 February 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  19. ^ "The Black Crowes Share 'Jealous Guy' Outtake". JamBase. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  20. ^ "New Singles" (PDF). Music Week. 14 February 1981. p. 24. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  21. ^ a b c Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 212. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.
  22. ^ "Discogs - Jealous Guy - 1981 single, Polydor (ROXY 2) UK". Discogs. February 1981. Archived from the original on 10 March 2016. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  23. ^ "UK top 40 database". Archived from the original on 13 September 2008.
  24. ^ "Roxy Music – Songs – on". Vivaroxymusic.com. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  25. ^ "Billboard Vol. 94, No. 23– Majors Flight Economics with Quirky Rock Originals". Billboard. 6 December 1982. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  26. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h Steffen Hung. "Roxy Music – Jealous Guy". swisscharts.com. Archived from the original on 22 June 2013. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
  28. ^ "InfoDisc: Tout les Titres par Artiste". Infodisc.fr. Archived from the original on 14 June 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  29. ^ Jaclyn Ward – Fireball Media Group. "The Irish Charts – All there is to know". Irishcharts.ie. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  30. ^ "Ultimate Music Database". Umdmusic.com. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  31. ^ a b "jealous guy | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Official Charts. Archived from the original on 20 November 2018. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  32. ^ "John Lennon Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  33. ^ "John Lennon Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  34. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles, October 29, 1988
  35. ^ "National Top 100 Singles for 1981". Kent Music Report. 4 January 1982. p. 7. Retrieved 11 January 2022 – via Imgur.
  36. ^ "1981". Luckysdb.be. Archived from the original on 2 July 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  37. ^ "Dutch Single Top 100: 1981" (PDF). Top40.nl. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 November 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  38. ^ "iTunes Music – Jealous Guy – Single by Roberto Bellarosa". iTunes Store. 4 April 2012. Archived from the original on 18 June 2015. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  39. ^ Jealous Guy – Single by Roberto Bellarosa, 4 April 2012, archived from the original on 20 November 2018, retrieved 20 November 2018