Providing a moment of tranquility between the polemic of ‘Gimme Some Truth’ and the Paul McCartney-baiting ‘How Do You Sleep?’, ‘Oh My Love’ was perhaps the tenderest moment on John Lennon’s Imagine album.
Along with the title track, ‘Oh My Love’ was the only song on Imagine to be a songwriting collaboration between Lennon and Yoko Ono. The lyrics, which reveal feelings of clarity and rebirth at having fallen in love, are among the album’s most elegant and direct, and the references to the wind and clouds are reminiscent of Ono’s instructional works.
In the studio
John Lennon recorded various demos of ‘Oh My Love’ before bringing it to Ascot Sound Studios in May 1971. Film footage from the studio captured him performing the song for George Harrison before recording began.
The early rehearsals featured Lennon on a Steinway piano and Harrison on acoustic guitar as they worked out a suitable arrangement. At one point they considered adding a dobro, before Harrison switched to a Les Paul electric guitar. Nicky Hopkins’ electric piano added further elegance to one of Lennon’s most affecting solo recordings.
A studio outtake of ‘Oh My Love’ was featured on the John Lennon Anthology box set in 1998.
The song was recorded on 28 May 1971 in 20 takes, the last of which became the master.
Track 1 had Klaus Voormann’s bass guitar, and on track 2 Alan White played Tibetan cymbals on takes 1-5.
Tracks 3 and 4 had Harrison’s electric guitar and Hopkins’ electric piano respectively, while Lennon’s acoustic piano was on 5.
Lennon recorded his lead vocals on tracks 6 and 7, and track 8 contained another Tibetan cymbal overdub by White.