After famously giving Paul McCartney hell for writing "silly love songs," it was Lennon himself who got a bit sentimental towards the end of his life.
There are some artists – and Lennon seemed to be one of them – who believe the best art is born from pain. Would Lennon have turned into an insufferable sentimentalist had he lived? Would he have been one of those artists who can make happiness interesting? Would his peace have been short-lived? The unanswered questions and the unknowable possibilities are just two of the ways we measure the loss.
We could spend every day until the end of time listing the number of ways Lennon's murder at age 40 was such a bitter, stinging loss. One of the toughest for me is that the man finally seemed to have found some peace in his life. The only article I've ever read in Playboy magazine – I'll let you do the math on that — was the interview he gave near the end. He seemed to have left the tumult of his "lost weekend" behind him. He'd spent time at home raising his son and was ready to come out of semi-retirement to start making music again. Life begins at 40, he'd said, and he was ready for re-birth.
The most amazing thing about "Woman" is that something so great could be inspired by Yoko Ono. It is sometimes awkwardly honest, but it's the vocal that makes it work for me. It's hard to believe anything about Lennon could be overlooked or underappreciated, but sometimes I think we lose sight of what a great singer he was because he was such an amazing songwriter and icon. I also love the bass line. It moves. Where a lot of midtempo, semi-schmaltz tunes have static, anonymous bass lines, this one actually has motion.
Lennon wrote and sang better, but "Woman" remains a favorite for me.