I Know (I Know)

Mind Games album artwork - John LennonWritten by: Lennon
Recorded: July-August 1973
Producer: John Lennon

Released: 16 November 1973 (UK), 29 October 1973 (US)

John Lennon: vocals, guitar
David Spinozza: guitar
Ken Ascher: keyboards
Gordon Edwards: bass guitar
Jim Keltner: drums

Available on:
Mind Games
John Lennon Anthology

I Know (I Know) was a plaintive ballad in which John Lennon continued the self-exploration that had been a hallmark of his work since John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band in 1970.

I Know (I Know) - Mind Games (Remastered)

Although in his extensive 1980 interview for Playboy he dismissed the song as "just a piece of nothing", the lyrics of I Know (I Know) are open to interpretation as a commentary on Lennon's relationship with Yoko Ono, which by 1973 was faltering. Lennon realised matters had turned sour, and the song can be seen as a confessional in which he claimed to finally be able to see clearly, just as he had before on the Imagine song How? and Jealous Guy.

The curious repetition of the title in parentheses could have been simply one of Lennon's whims, but it is possible that he was presenting a coded message - not for the first time - to his former bandmate Paul McCartney. Wings' 1971 album Wild Life had featured the song Some People Never Know, in which McCartney lamented that some people fail to understand what it means to love. In this light, Lennon's response saw the pair in agreement, in a marked contrast to their earlier song-based conflicts.

Lennon recorded a home demo of I Know (I Know) in the early summer of 1973, prior to entering the studio. During this time he worked on a number of songs destined for Mind Games.

The demo was recorded on a steel string acoustic guitar. Lennon performed I Know (I Know) twice, preceded by two false starts; the final full run-through was released on the 1998 box set John Lennon Anthology.

13 responses on “I Know (I Know)

  1. Lord Hasenpfeffer

    Love this song! IMO, it’s one of the most underrated and overlooked tracks in the Lennon solo catalog. It does indeed resemble “I’ve Got A Feeling” at times but as a whole would have fit right in somewhere on the White Album. How many Lennon/Beatles fans do you know who *don’t* know this song – or even that it exists?

    1. Joseph Brush

      One of my favourites from the Mind Games LP ever since it was released.
      Back then it was one of three tracks that received some FM airplay (Out Of The Blue, Bring On The Lucie were the others) along with the title track of course.

  2. Fan

    I disagree with the summary, it’s about Paul and is an apology for ‘How do you sleep?’. ‘I love you more’ is a Beatles reference and clue, ‘I love you more than ‘Yesterday” probably proves it, ‘and I know it’s getting better all the time’, I think closes the argument (anyone who doesn’t know, famously Lennon contributed ‘it couldn’t get much worse’ to the Beatles song). There are probably more references, I’m just a casual listener but saw those!

    1. Iain

      Yes, surely the summary’s wrong saying that it is about Yoko. I can’t think of any other songs to Yoko that contain several Beatles references in the lyrics and music.

  3. sertaneja

    Also the introduction…It’s the almost the same as I got a Feeling! How he would use so many references to Paul’s work in a song for Yoko? Non sense. He had to use references to Yoko’s poems. The sad part is that How do you Sleep is openly to Paul. Everybody knows it its. And this is due to interpretation. John should have stated it was for him so people would know for sure he was sorrry. But..it’s so clear it’s for Paul! Guess he thought everybody would guess.

  4. one of the mobley twins

    hard to imagine there is such a thing as an overlooked pop masterpiece by a beatle, but this is such, along with paul’s “little lamb dragonfly.”

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