Steel and Glass

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"Steel and Glass"
Song by John Lennon
from the album Walls and Bridges
PublishedLenono Music
Released26 September 1974 (US)
4 October 1974 (UK)
RecordedJuly – August 1974
Songwriter(s)John Lennon
Producer(s)John Lennon
Walls and Bridges track listing
12 tracks
Side one
  1. "Going Down on Love"
  2. "Whatever Gets You thru the Night"
  3. "Old Dirt Road"
  4. "What You Got"
  5. "Bless You"
  6. "Scared"
Side two
  1. "#9 Dream"
  2. "Surprise, Surprise (Sweet Bird of Paradox)"
  3. "Steel and Glass"
  4. "Beef Jerky"
  5. "Nobody Loves You (When You're Down and Out)"
  6. "Ya Ya"

"Steel and Glass" is a song written and performed by John Lennon, released on his 1974 album Walls and Bridges. A dark folk song,[1] it has been interpreted as an attack on Lennon's former business manager Allen Klein.[2][3]

The song contains a lick performed by violins and horns in the chorus that's reminiscent of Lennon's song "How Do You Sleep?", an attack on his former Beatles bandmate Paul McCartney.[2][4]


In 1973, before work began on Mind Games, John Lennon recorded an acoustic demo of "Steel and Glass". While Lennon's ideas were taking shape, it was largely based on a single piano chord – from the final studio recording. Before recording Walls and Bridges in July 1974, Lennon spent around 10 days in pre-production at Sunset Studios and Record Plant East, New York. During this time he rehearsed a few songs with the musicians he had recruited for the sessions.[citation needed]

Lennon admitted to a Detroit radio station, during an interview in 1974, that he reused "licks" from a certain song, in response to the interviewer bringing up the similarity of "Steel and Glass", and what he was wondering could be a second part to the Paul McCartney dig "How Do You Sleep?"[2]


An alternative take of "Steel and Glass" was included on the posthumous collection Menlove Ave., released in 1986. Take 8 was released on the 1998 box set John Lennon Anthology. Take 9 was the master used for Walls and Bridges.[2]


In a contemporary mixed review for Walls and Bridges, Ben Gerson of Rolling Stone found "Steel and Glass" "boring and needless" but added that "its unalloyed hatred is peculiarly compatible with the optimism of ["#9 Dream" and "Surprise, Surprise"]."[4] Writing for the same magazine in 2010, David Fricke named "Steel and Glass" as one of Lennon's most underappreciated songs, stating that the strings sound "like piercing needles" and "the phasing on Lennon's voice makes him sound like a hissing snake."[5]

Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic called "Steel and Glass" one of the "best moments" on Walls and Bridges, praising how Lennon opens up with his emotions on the song.[6]


The song was covered by American rock band Candlebox on the tribute album Working Class Hero: A Tribute to John Lennon.[7] Anglo-Swedish rock band Alberta Cross have also covered the song.[8]


The musicians who performed on the original recording were as follows:[2][better source needed]


  1. ^ "Walls and Bridges by John Lennon | Classic Rock Review". 9 July 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e "John Lennon: Steel and Glass". Retrieved 20 July 2011.
  3. ^ Rock, the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic (6 October 2014). "John Lennon – Walls and Bridges: On Second Thought". Something Else!. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  4. ^ a b Gerson, Ben (21 November 1974). "John Lennon: Walls and Bridges". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  5. ^ Fricke, David (10 December 2010). "20 Underappreciated John Lennon Solo Songs". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  6. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Walls & Bridges – John Lennon". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  7. ^ "Steel and Glass by John Lennon on WhoSampled". WhoSampled. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  8. ^ oz. "Alberta Cross covers John Lennon, Steel and Glass [new mp3]". HearYa – Indie Music Blog. Retrieved 8 May 2017.

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