Saturday 9: No. 9 Dream (1974)
Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.
1) John Lennon liked the number 9. It shows up in three of his songs (in addition to this song, he performed “Revolution #9” and “The One after 909” with the Beatles). He was born on the 9th of October, as was his son Sean. Coincidentally, “No. 9 Dream” hit #9 on the Billboard chart. Do you have a favorite number? 3. Not sure why.
2) The phrase repeated in the chorus, “Ah bowakawa pousse pousse” means nothing. It’s gibberish that John sang until he could come up with “real” lyrics for this melody. Then he decided he liked the sound of it, so he kept it. Can you think of a word that’s fun to say just because you like how it sounds? Do curse words count?
3) John referred to “No. 9 Dream” as an example of “craftsmanship writing.” A snatch of the melody just came to him and he got it down on a tape recorder, wrote lyrics, arranged it and recorded it in short order because he needed another song to finish the LP, Walls and Bridges. What’s the last thing that you did because you were supposed to or you had to, and not because you wanted to? I guess that depends on your perspective. I recently wrote an article because I claimed it in our queue and I was therefore expected to finish it, but I do that writing in the first place because I want to. It’s my side hustle, but it’s also a choice, and I could easily decide, like, right now that I don’t want to do it anymore and stop.
4) Yet once “No. 9 Dream” was recorded, it became one of John’s favorite of his solo songs. He loved its ethereal feel. Tell us about something that turned out better than you thought it would. I’ve had social interactions that have gone better than expected. I’m sure I’ve written things that have turned out better than I expected, but normally, I’m just critical of myself.
5) When he was working, John drank a lot of tea, as many as 30 cups in a day. Do you take your tea with cream, sugar, honey, or lemon? It depends on the tea, honestly. Black tea, yeah, I’ll do milk and sugar, but other flavored teas, I won’t touch, like fruit teas. Orange comes to mind–that one’s best left alone.
6) During his reclusive years (1975 to 1980), John didn’t have household help, preferring to take care of his young son and housework himself. He did, however, have a chauffeur on call around the clock. If you could afford to a staff of one, what single thing would you have him/her do? Oh, hands down, I would just hire a personal chef. Neither I nor my husband cooks much, but if we could just have someone make us delicious food, done.
7) When John was a boy, he requested water colors and colored pencils for his birthday and at Christmastime. Do you recall a special birthday or Christmas gift you received as a child? A dollhouse one year as a kid, a guitar one year as a teenager. Come to think of it, I think almost all of my guitars were gifts.
8) Beatles producer George Martin said John was “a completely impractical man.” Would you describe yourself as impulsive, with flashes of practicality? Or are you practical, with flashes of impulsivity? Practical with flashes of impulsivity. I tend to think I’m more impulsive than I really am.
9) Random question — Congratulations! You just won the Saturday 9 Sweepstakes, and the prize is your choice of a boat or a motorcycle. Which one do you take? The boat. There are a few rivers nearby and I love being on the water, so I’d enjoy that way more.