How the B-52’s’ ‘Rock Lobster’ Brought John Lennon Back to Music

In the mid-to-late ’70s, John Lennon wasn’t playing music. He wasn’t thinking much about music. He was trying to be a good father to son Sean. He’d lost interest in trying to persuade people to listen to the work he’d done with wife Yoko Ono, and his last release had been in 1974.

Around five years later, he exploded back into action in a matter of moments.

“I was at a dance club one night in Bermuda,” Lennon told Rolling Stone in an interview recorded three days before his death in 1980. “Upstairs, they were playing disco, and downstairs I suddenly heard ‘Rock Lobster’ by the B-52’s for the first time. Do you know it? It sounds just like Yoko’s music.”

In particular, Cindy Wilson’s scream toward the end of the song was reminiscent of Ono’s approach. “I said to meself, ‘It’s time to get out the old ax and wake the wife up!’” Lennon said.

Almost immediately he and Ono started working. He’d write a song and sing it to her on the phone; in New York, she’d come up with a song of her own as a reply. The result was Double Fantasy, the last full album Lennon ever worked on before his death in December 1980.

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