Album facts: Double Fantasy

On November 17th 1980, John Lennon and Yoko Ono released Double Fantasy; Lennon's final studio album before his murder the following month.

Double Fantasy was poorly received by critics upon its release, but gained popularity over the years having been issued so close to Lennon's death. It also went on to win the Grammy Award for Album of the Year on February 24th 1982.

John Lennon recording Double Fantasy, 1980.

John Lennon recording Double Fantasy, 1980.

John Lennon recording Double Fantasy, 1980.

John Lennon recording Double Fantasy, 1980.

Origins

Five years before the recording of Double Fantasy, Lennon put his musical career on hold to look after his and Yoko's son Sean. He was on a musical haittus for five years, outside of recording the occasional demo from his New York apartment.

During the summer of 1980, Lennon was on a sailing trip from Rhode Island to Bermuda, which turned into a near disaster. The yacht and crew were subjected to a sever storm and most on board succumbed to seasickness. John was the only one who didn't suffer from the seasickness and was forced to take command of the vessel, sailing for hours alone and without any assistance.

After his harrowing experience on the yacht, Lennon reportedly found a new sense of vigor and appreciation for the fragility of life. He was then inspired to write the songs that would appear on Double Fantasy.

I was there driving the boat for six hours, keeping it on course. I was buried under water. I was smashed in the face by waves for six solid hours. It won't go away. You can't change your mind. It's like being on stage; once you're on there's no gettin' off. A couple of the waves had me on my knees. I was just hanging on with my hands on the wheel - it's very powerful weather - and I was having the time of my life. I was screaming sea chanteys and shoutin' at the gods! I felt like the Viking, you know, Jason and the Golden Fleece. I arrived in Bermuda. Once I got there, I was so centred after the experience at sea that I was tuned in, or whatever, to the cosmos. And all these songs came!

John Lennon  

John Lennon and Yoko Ono, 1980. 

John Lennon and Yoko Ono, 1980. 

John and Yoko began rehearsing and recording the album in August at the Hit Factory in New York. Because they wanted to keep the rehearsals a secret they paid for the sessions themselves, eventually signing to the newly-formed Geffen Records when they felt the music was ready.

Chart position

Three singles were released off the album: Woman, Watching the Wheels and (Just Like) Starting Over. Just Like Starting Over reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on December 27th 1980; just 19 days after Lennon's murder. The album reached the top of the charts on the same day.

Woman reached the top of the UK Singles Chart on February 7th 1981.

 Track listing

  1. (Just Like) Starting Over
  2. Kiss Kiss Kiss
  3. Cleanup Time
  4. Give Me Something
  5. I'm Losing You
  6. I'm Moving On
  7. Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)
  8. Watching The Wheels
  9. Yes I'm Your Angel
  10. Woman
  11. Beautiful Boys
  12. Dear Yoko
  13. Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him
  14. Hard Times Are Over
John Lennon and Yoko Ono in New York, 1980. 

John Lennon and Yoko Ono in New York, 1980.