#9 DREAM. John Lennon with The Plastic Ono Nuclear Band.


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John Lennon and The Plastic U.F.Ono Band

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So long ago
Was it in a dream?
Was it just a dream?
I know
Yes I know
Seemed so very real
It seemed so real to me

Took a walk down the street
Through the heat whispered trees
I thought I could hear
Somebody call out my name
As it started to rain
Two spirits dancing so strange

Ah! böwakawa poussé poussé
Ah! böwakawa poussé poussé
Ah! böwakawa poussé poussé

Dream dream away
Magic in the air
Was magic in the air?
I believe
Yes I believe
More I cannot say
What more can I say?

On a river of sound
Through the mirror go round round
I thought I could feel
Music touching my soul
Something warm sudden cold
The spirit dance was unfolding

Ah! böwakawa poussé poussé
Ah! böwakawa poussé poussé
Ah! böwakawa poussé poussé
Ah! böwakawa poussé poussé
Ah! böwakawa poussé poussé

John: It was based on a dream I had. I wrote it around the string arrangement I’d written for ‘Many Rivers To Cross’ [on Harry Nillsson’s album ‘Pussycats’, produced by John] and it was such a nice melody on the strings, I just wrote words to the string arrangement; a psychedelic dreamy kind of thing.



Back cover artwork for the Walls and Bridges album (1974)

There’s an exam they have in England that they hang over your head from age five. If you don’t pass the Eleven Plus, which you take at eleven, obviously, then you’re finished in life. So that was the only exam I ever passed, because I was terrified.

After that exam was over, the teacher said, ‘you can do whatever you want’, so I just painted. And of all the childhood drawings and paintings I did, these were the only ones that ever got saved. I was originally going to use them for the ‘Oldies But Goldies’ album with Spector, but that fell apart and the guy had already started the design, so I said, ‘Oh, they’ll fit the new album anyway, so use them.’

Photomontage artworks for the front and back cover of Mind Games (1973)

It’s the first time since I was a Beatle that I let the package out of my hands. I even hand-made the cover on ‘Mind Games’ – I cut out little pictures. I enjoyed it. But I didn’t really have time and I’m glad because I let it go, and the guy came up with something creative, and it’s a surprise for me now. I can look at it and enjoy it without discussing, thinking, ‘Oh, I should have done this, I should have done that’.

I had the song ‘#9 Dream’ which was originally called ‘Walls and Bridges’ and I just had the title ‘Walls and Bridges’. I tried to fit it in anywhere, like a jigsaw. It didn’t seem to fit any of the songs, and I hadn’t written anything, so I just shoved it on as the album title. It seemed to be wide enough to cover everything. It’s like communication – walls, four walls, bridges you go over. I think I heard it on a public-service announcement on TV; one of those late-night things where they make you feel awful in between the movies.

Front cover artwork for the Walls and Bridges album (1974).

If you look at the cover, in June 1952 I’d drawn four guys playing football, and number nine is the number on the guy’s back, and that was pure coincidence. I lived at 9 Newcastle Road, I was born on the 9th October. It’s just a number that follows me around. But numerologically, apparently, I am number six or three or something, but it’s all part of nine.

That ‘Number nine, number nine’ Beatle thing was an engineer’s voice. It just sorta seems to be my number, so I stick with it.

There was some, uh, Gaelic words, ‘Ah! böwakawa poussé poussé’…

John & Yoko with their great friend Roy Cicala, chief engineer at The Record Plant in New York.

Roy Cicala (engineer): Al Coury, the promotion man for Capitol, said, ‘They’re not going to play this record.’ When John asked Al, ‘Why?’ he was told, ‘Because you’re saying “pussy” on it!’ So, Lori [Burton, Roy’s wife and backing singer on the track with Joey Dambra and May Pang] changed it to ‘Ah! böwakawa poussé poussé’ – kinda like French – and it worked.

One time, I gave John the tape after finishing a mix and he took it upstairs for Greg Calbi to master. Then John called me: ‘There’s been a problem up here.’ ‘OK, what?’ ‘I don’t know. Come and help us.’ So, I went upstairs and I walked into the cutting room, and the mastering machine had tape maybe 12 inches high spilled all over the place. ‘The machine went bananas,’ John said. I did an about‑face, walked out, and they caught me down on the first floor as I was leaving the building. Ha‑ha‑ha‑ha‑ha!’ They were joking… We really had a lot of fun doing those records.

John at the console with then-assistant engineer Jimmy Iovine at The Record Plant.

Jimmy Iovine (engineer): the Walls and Bridges sessions were the most professional I have been on. He was every day, twelve o’clock to ten o’clock, off the weekends, eight weeks, done. John knew what he wanted, he knew how to get what he was going after; he was going after a noise and he knew how to get it, and for the most part he got it. What he explained, we used to get. His solo thing had an incredible sound to it. And he really had his own sound.

There was an old beat-up microphone that was in a bass drum for years, so it was dull in a way, but John’s voice was so bright that it sounded incredible on it. It turned out to be great vocal sound, like on ‘#9 Dream’.

Get ‘#9 Dream’ and thirty-five more John Lennon tracks on JOHN LENNON. GIMME SOME TRUTH. THE ULTIMATE MIXES – the very best of John Lennon.

Executive Produced by Yoko Ono Lennon and Produced by Sean Ono Lennon, thirty-six much loved John Lennon classics, completely remixed from the original multitracks by Paul Hicks and Sam Gannon using brand new first-generation multitrack transfers, painstakingly restored and sonically upgraded, and then remixed using all the genuine vintage analogue effects at Henson Studios in Los Angeles, and finally mastered in analogue by Alex Wharton at Abbey Road Studios.

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