Album facts: Walls and Bridges

On October 4th 1974, John Lennon released his fifth studio album Walls and Bridges in the UK, having been released in the US on September 26th. The album reached number one on the US albums chart and peaked at number 6 in the UK.

Wall and Bridges was recorded during Lennon's 18-month separation from Yoko Ono, also known as his Lost Weekend. The album features the hit singles Whatever Gets You thru the Night and #9 Dream; Elton John played piano and sang on Whatever Gets You thru the Nightwhich went on to become Lennon's first US number one on November 16th, 1974. 

"I think I was more in a morass mentally than Yoko was. If you listen to Walls And Bridges you hear somebody that is depressed. You can say, 'Well, it was because of years of fighting deportation and this problem and that problem,' but whatever it was, it sounds depressing. The guy knows how to make tables, but there's no spirit in the tables.
I'm not knocking the record. But I'm saying it showed where I was. It's a reflection of the time." - John Lennon

John had promised Elton that if Whatever Gets You thru the Night got to number one he'd play at one of his shows. True to his word Lennon made an appearance at Elton's Thanksgiving performance at Madison Square Garden on November 28th, 1974.

Track listing

Side one

  1. "Going Down on Love" – 3:54
  2. "Whatever Gets You thru the Night" – 3:28
  3. "Old Dirt Road" (Lennon, Harry Nilsson) – 4:11
  4. "What You Got" – 3:09
  5. "Bless You" – 4:38
  6. "Scared" – 4:36

Side two

  1. "#9 Dream" – 4:47
  2. "Surprise, Surprise (Sweet Bird of Paradox)" – 2:55
  3. "Steel and Glass" – 4:37
  4. "Beef Jerky" – 3:26
  5. "Nobody Loves You (When You're Down and Out)" – 5:08
  6. "Ya Ya" (Morgan Robinson, Lee Dorsey, Clarence Lewis, Morris Levy) – 1:06

 Personnel

  • John Lennon - arrangements, vocals (lead, harmony, and background), lead guitar, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, whistling, percussion, production

Plastic Ono Nuclear Band

  • Ken Ascher – electric piano, clavinet, Mellotron
  • Jim Keltner – drums
  • Arthur Jenkins – percussion
  • Nicky Hopkins – piano
  • Klaus Voormann – bass
  • Bobby Keys – tenor saxophone
  • Ron Aprea - tenor saxophone
  • Jesse Ed Davis – acoustic guitar, lead guitar
  • Eddie Mottau – acoustic guitar

Additional personnel

  • Strings and brass musicians from The Philharmonic Orchestrange – arranged and conducted by Ken Ascher.
  • Little Big Horns – Ron Aprea (alto sax), Bobby Keys (tenor sax), Frank Vicari (tenor sax), Howard Johnson (baritone and bass sax) and Steve Madaio (trumpet).
  • Julian Lennon – drums on "Ya Ya".
  • Elton John – piano and harmony vocals on "Whatever Gets you thru the Night" and Hammond organ and background vocals on "Surprise, Surprise (Sweet Bird of Paradox)"
  • Harry Nilsson – backing vocals on "Old Dirt Road".
  • The 44th Street Fairies: Joey Dambra, Lori Burton and May Pang – background vocals on "#9 Dream".
  • Shelly Yakus – engineer
  • Jimmy Iovine – overdub engineer
  • Roy Cicala – remix engineer
  • May Pang – production coordinator
  • Roy Kohara – art direction
  • Bob Gruen – photography
 Walls and Bridges album cover and photo shoot, 1974.

Walls and Bridges album cover and photo shoot, 1974.

 John Lennon, Walls and Bridges photo shoot, 1974. 

John Lennon, Walls and Bridges photo shoot, 1974. 

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