Tuesday, April 16, 2024

“Whatever Gets You Through the Night”, the John Lennon and Elton John collaboration peaks to No.1 on the Hot 100

John Lennon got the idea for the title from a late night religious TV show

“Whatever Gets You Through the Night”, the John Lennon and Elton John collaboration peaks to No.1 on the Hot 100

By 1974, John Lennon Beatles days were long gone. The singer and songwriter had abandoned touring and dedicated himself exclusively to studio recording, though having not released any No.1 singles in the U.S at the time. “Whatever Gets You Through the Night” was Lennon’s only solo No. 1 single in the United States during his lifetime, and Lennon was the last member of The Beatles to achieve this. The recording featured Elton John on harmony vocals and piano. While in the studio, John bet Lennon that the song would top the charts, and such was Lennon’s skepticism that John secured from him a promise to appear on stage at one of his performances should the record indeed hit number one. When the record did achieve that on November 16th, 1974, Lennon appeared at John’s Thanksgiving performance at Madison Square Garden on November 28th. It was his last major concert appearance and backstage after the concert, Lennon got back with Yoko Ono after a temporary split. “Whatever Gets You Through the Night” was the lead single for the Walls and Bridges album in the US; in the UK it was released the same day as the album. The music was inspired by the number one single at the time, “Rock Your Baby” by George McCrae and according to May Pang (who lived with Lennon during one year when separated from Yoko) the lyrics came from late-night television. In December 2005, May Pang told Radio Times: “At night he loved to channel-surf, and would pick up phrases from all the shows. One time, he was watching Reverend Ike, a famous black evangelist, who was saying, “Let me tell you guys, it doesn’t matter, it’s whatever gets you through the night.” John loved it and said, “I’ve got to write it down or I’ll forget it.” Aside of Elton John (who became his son’s Godfather) John Lennon collaborated with other singers during the 1970’s such as Harry Nilsson and in the following year, 1975, with David Bowie he achieved also No.1 but as a co-writer with “Fame”.

Watch the music video for “Whatever Gets You Through the Night” by John Lennon feat. Elton John

Watch John Lennon and Elton John performing “Whatever Gets You Through the Night” live at the Madison Square Garden, 1974


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