Watching the Wheels

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"Watching the Wheels"
Watching the Wheels (John Lennon single - cover art).jpg
Single by John Lennon
from the album Double Fantasy
A-side "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)" (US)
B-side "Yes, I'm Your Angel" (Yoko Ono) (UK/US)
Released 13 March 1981 (US)
27 March 1981 (UK)
Format 7", Cassette
Recorded 1980
Genre Rock
Length 3.30
Label Geffen Records
Songwriter(s) John Lennon
Producer(s) John Lennon, Yoko Ono & Jack Douglas
John Lennon singles chronology
"Watching the Wheels"
"Watching the Wheels"
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 #10 in the US on the Billboard Hot 100 and #7 on Cashbox Magazine's Top 100,[1] respectively. It also peaked at number 30 in the UK.

Writing and recording[edit]

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.[2]


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 killer, Mark David Chapman. Both photos were taken at the same place, in front of the Dakota building, which was the site of his 1980 shooting. Later, Chapman was recorded in police custody reciting the line "People say I'm crazy" from the song. This clip was used by the band EMF for the track "Lies" on their 1991 album Schubert Dip, though immediate protests from Ono prompted the sample's removal on subsequent pressings.


Chart performance[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

The song has been covered by Gwen Guthrie (1992), The Samples (1997), 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.


  1. ^ Blaney, John (2005). John Lennon: Listen to This Book (illustrated ed.). [S.l.]: Paper Jukebox. p. 326. ISBN 978-0-9544528-1-0. 
  2. ^ "John Lennon – Double Fantasy". Retrieved 2016-10-25. 
  3. ^ "Australian Chart Book". Retrieved 2016-10-25. 
  4. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly – Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-25. 
  5. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  6. ^ "Adult Contemporary Music Chart". Billboard. 1981-05-23. Retrieved 2016-10-25. 
  7. ^ CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending MONTH DD, 19YY at the Wayback Machine (archived 30 September 2012). Cash Box magazine. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  8. ^ "Item Display – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-25. 
  9. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1981/Top 100 Songs of 1981". Retrieved 2016-10-25. 
  10. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles – 1981". 1981-12-26. Retrieved 2016-10-25. 

External links[edit]