March 1981: John Lennon's "Watching the Wheels" Released

Watching the Wheels cover art
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(Geffen)

In March 1981, the world was still reeling from the tragic murder of John Lennon on December 8, 1980, in New York City. His seventh and final studio album (and fifth with Yoko Ono), Double Fantasy, had just been released in November 1980. The album's first single, "(Just Like) Starting Over," had hit #1 on the Hot 100 in America. The second single, "Woman," would get as high as #2 on the same chart for the week of March 21, 1981. The #1 song in America that week: REO Speedwagon's "Keep on Loving You."

The song "Watching the Wheels" would serve as the album's third single. Written lyrically to sum up the six years between 1974 album, Walls and Bridges, and its follow-up, Double Fantasy, which wouldn't arrive until six years later. It was during that time that the ex-Beatle would become a true family man, after his notorious "Lost Weekend" era of 1973-74.

Released on March 13, 1981, in America, the song would be another hit from Double Fantasy. It would quickly peak at #10 for the week of March 23, 1981. The #1 song in America that week: Kim Carnes' "Bette Davis Eyes."

When later asked to talk about the song's meaning, Yoko Ono would simply say: "Let's have that inner space to dream, the dream power."

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