John Lennon: vocals
Jesse Ed Davis, Steve Cropper, Jose Feliciano, Art Munson, William Perry, Louis Shelton, Dale Anderson, Larry Carlton, David Cohen: guitar
Phil Spector: guitar, piano
Mac Rebennack, Leon Russell, Michael Omartian: keyboards
Nino Tempo: saxophone, keyboards
Bob Glaub, Thomas Hensley, Ray Neapolitan: bass guitar
William Perkins, Robert Hardaway: woodwind
Anthony Terran: trumpet
Jeff Barry, Andy Thomas, Michael Wofford, Michael Lang, Barry Mann, Michael Melvoin: piano
Bobby Keys, Jim Horn, Plas Johnson, Ronald Langinger, Donald Menza, Gene Cipriano: saxophone
Joseph Kelson: horn
Julian Matlock: clarinet
Conte Candoli, Chuck Findley: trumpet
Jim Keltner, Hal Blaine, Frank Capp, Jim Gordon: drums
Gary Coleman, Alan Estes, Steve Forman, Terry Gibbs: percussion
Lennon recorded two home demos of ‘Here We Go Again’ in October 1973, performed on an acoustic guitar. The first take broke down, but the second showed how Lennon was still working on the lyrics.
Later that month work began on the Rock ‘N’ Roll project with Spector. As an original composition it was unlikely that ‘Here We Go Again’ was considered for the album, so the reason for its recording remains unclear. It is possible that Lennon was considering hiring Spector to produce the follow-up to Mind Games, but their working relationship ended during those chaotic sessions.
Spector’s role in the songwriting is unclear. Lennon had the tune in place by the time the demos were recorded, so it is possible that the producer’s contribution was to assist with the final lyrics. The song was copyrighted to both men on 16 July 1975.
‘Here We Go Again’ was shelved by Lennon, most likely because its full-on deployment of Spector’s trademark Wall of Sound would have sat uneasily on Walls And Bridges. Although it would have made a fine standalone single in early 1974, it was eventually released after Lennon’s death as the lead track on the posthumous collection Menlove Ave.
The lyrics were a contemplation on the purposes of life, with a sense of being guided by karma and destiny – themes which Lennon had touched upon in early compositions such as ‘Instant Karma’ and ‘Mind Games’.
Lennon’s doleful vocals, seemingly resigned to the various lows he would experience throughout the Lost Weekend, were perfectly complemented by the spiralling brass arrangement. His screams towards the end of the song encapsulated his frustrations at having parted from Yoko Ono, the decline in his commercial fortunes since the release of Some Time In New York City, and his descent into alcohol abuse.