Watching the Wheels
|"Watching the Wheels"|
|Single by John Lennon|
|from the album Double Fantasy|
|B-side||"Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)" (US Reissue) "Yes, I'm Your Angel" (Yoko Ono) (UK/US)|
|Released||13 March 1981 (US)|
27 March 1981 (UK)
|Producer(s)||John Lennon, Yoko Ono & Jack Douglas|
|John Lennon singles chronology|
|Double Fantasy track listing|
"Watching the Wheels" is a single by John Lennon released posthumously in 1981, after his murder. The B-side features Yoko Ono's "Yes, I'm Your Angel." It was the third and final single released from Lennon and Ono's album Double Fantasy, and reached No. 10 in the US on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 7 on Cashbox Magazine's Top 100. It peaked at number 30 in the UK.
Writing and recording
In "Watching the Wheels" Lennon addresses those who were confounded by his "househusband" years, 1975–1980, during which he retired from the music industry to concentrate on raising his son Sean with Ono. The acoustic demo of "Watching the Wheels" is featured in the ending credits to the 2009 film Funny People. The song features a hammered dulcimer accompanying the lead piano.
The photograph on the cover was taken by Paul Goresh, a fan of Lennon who also took the infamous photo of Lennon signing a copy of Double Fantasy for his murderer. Both photos were taken at the same place, in front of the Dakota building, which was the site of his 1980 shooting. The line "People say I'm crazy" from the song was later sampled for use by the band EMF in the track "Lies" from their 1991 album Schubert Dip, however upon immediate protests by Yoko Ono the sampling was removed on subsequent pressings.
- John Lennon – vocals, piano, keyboards
- Earl Slick, Hugh McCracken – lead guitar
- Tony Levin – bass guitar
- George Small – keyboards, piano, Fender Rhodes
- Eric Troyer – Prophet-5
- Andy Newmark – drums
- Matthew Cunningham – hammer dulcimer
- Arthur Jenkins – percussion
- Michelle Simpson, Cassandra Wooten, Cheryl Mason Jacks, Eric Troyer – backing vocals
The song has been covered by Gwen Guthrie (1992), The Samples (1997); Paraguayan rock band Deliverans released a Spanish version on the compilation album Lennon Vive: Un tributo del Rock paraguayo (2000), Matisyahu for the benefit album Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur (2007), and Charly García under the name "Mirando las ruedas" for his album Kill Gil (2010). Patrick Wolf re-arranged the song for a performance at Yoko Ono's Meltdown Festival at the Southbank Centre.
- Blaney, John (2005). John Lennon: Listen to This Book (illustrated ed.). [S.l.]: Paper Jukebox. p. 326. ISBN 978-0-9544528-1-0.
- "John Lennon – Double Fantasy". Jpgr.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-10-25.
- "Classic Tracks: John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "Watching the Wheels"". Mixonline. December 8, 2010.
- "Australian Chart Book". Austchartbook.com.au. Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2016-10-25.
- "Image : RPM Weekly – Library and Archives Canada". Bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved 2016-10-25.
- "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Watching the Wheels". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
- Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 – ISBN 0-89820-089-X
- "Adult Contemporary Music Chart". Billboard. 1981-05-23. Retrieved 2016-10-25.
- "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending May 23, 1981". Retrieved 2 April 2020. Cash Box magazine
- "Item Display – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2016-10-25.
- "Top 100 Hits of 1981/Top 100 Songs of 1981". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 2016-10-25.
- "Cash Box YE Pop Singles – 1981". Tropicalglen.com. 1981-12-26. Archived from the original on 2016-10-22. Retrieved 2016-10-25.