I want to wrap up this thread before the end of the year, so the plan is to do three posts on the last songs of Mind Games, Band on the Run, and Ringo that include any relevant thoughts on the three albums. Then this blog will go back into hibernation for the foreseeable future.

Lennon ends Mind Games with a blast of energy called “Meat City”:

Coming at the end of a mostly soporific B side, “Meat City” is pretty refreshing, and John clearly had some fun with it, adding backwards vocals that when reversed say things like “fuck a pig.” The lyrics have a sort of “Come Together”–style stream-of-consciousness flow:

People were dancin’ like there’s no tomorrow
Meat City
Fingerlickin chickinpickin Meat City shook down U.S.A
Pig Meat City

Well I been the mountain to see for myself
Well I been the mountain to see for myself
Been the mountain been the
Just got to give me some rock ‘n roll

Snake doctors shakin like there’s no tomorrow
Freak City
Chickinsuckin mothertruckin Meat City shook down U.S.A
Pig Meat City

Presumably he’s trying to make some sort of comment about his adopted country and its meat-eating ways.1Just this morning I was reading an NYT article about America’s love affair with prime rib that contained the astounding statistic that in the 1970s, when Mind Games was made, the average American ate about 90 pounds of beef a year. Even today it’s still around 60.

At the end of “Meat City” John promises to go to China, à la Dick Nixon. At the time he commented:

I shall go there. I will take the opportunity to try to see Mao. If he is ill or dead or refuses to see me, too bad. But if I go there I want to meet people who are doing something important. I want to take a rock band to China. That is really what I want to do. To play rock in China.

Never happened, though. Maybe if he’d lived longer he would have gotten around to it.

As I said, in context “Meat City” is a refreshing change of pace. Ultimately though I find both it and Mind Games as a whole unsatisfying. Too often John falls back on old tricks rather than breaking new ground, and at times he seems to be pretending that his marriage with Yoko was still in its honeymoon phase, when we know it was on the brink of dissolution. Lennon’s brand was honesty and I don’t think he was being honest on Mind Games.

I give it two and a half stars.

One last footnote: In watching the May Pang–authorized documentary The Lost Weekend: A Love Story I learned that in October 1973, Lennon found time to film a TV commercial for Mind Games. That’s Tony King — head of A&R for Apple Records and a flamboyant personality in his own right — as the Queen. John was in the studio but does not appear on camera; he can be heard laughing in the background.

I have no idea if or when this actually appeared on television. For some reason it’s amusing me greatly to imagine it playing between segments of the Tomorrow show — Tom Snyder cackling hoarsely and exhaling a cloud of cigarette smoke as he throws to the commercial break. And on that happy note, I’ll leave off for today.

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