Steel and Glass
|"Steel and Glass"|
|Song by John Lennon|
|from the album Walls and Bridges|
26 September 1974 (US)|
4 October 1974 (UK)
|Recorded||July – August 1974|
|Walls and Bridges track listing|
"Steel and Glass" is a song written and performed by John Lennon, released on his 1974 album Walls and Bridges. A dark folk song, it has been interpreted as an attack on Lennon's former business manager Allen Klein.
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.
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?"
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.
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"]." 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."
The musicians who performed on the original recording were as follows:
- John Lennon – vocals, acoustic guitar
- Nicky Hopkins – piano
- Jesse Ed Davis – electric guitar
- Eddie Mottau – acoustic guitar
- Ken Ascher – clavinet
- Klaus Voormann – bass
- Arthur Jenkins – percussion
- Jim Keltner – drums
- Bobby Keys, Steve Madaio, Howard Johnson, Ron Aprea, Frank Vicari – horns
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- Gerson, Ben (21 November 1974). "John Lennon: Walls and Bridges". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
- Fricke, David (10 December 2010). "20 Underappreciated John Lennon Solo Songs". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Walls & Bridges – John Lennon". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
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