036 – Don’t Let Me Down – Adam Elk
Original version recorded January 28, 1969
Ukulele version recorded March 29, 2012
Written by John Lennon
Credited to Lennon/McCartney
Adam Elk – Vocal
David Barratt: Ukulele and everything else
Produced by David Barratt at The Abattoir Of Good Taste
ABOUT THE SONG
How does it feel to be let down?
That moment when the person who is the centre of your life says “Honey there is something we have to talk about”.
When you find your business partner has bought a condo in Florida on expenses without telling you.
When your spouse turns up at your parents 40th wedding anniversary wasted, telling your sister for the twenty-first time what a slut she is.
John Lennon’s early life had a few moments like that.
He was let down by his mother Julia. She gave up the position of mother in everything but name to leave him with her sister Mimi. Later she moved in with her lover without inviting John to live with them. He really got the message then. And finally, in the summer of 1958, she had the temerity to walk in front of a drunken driver without saying goodbye to John.
Alf, his father who chose the dancehalls and vaudeville palaces of Liverpool over his family. The man who asked five-year-old John to choose between Julia or him. John chose Alf Lennon twice but as his mother walked away kinder-john began to cry and chased her.
It didn’t matter anyway, John ended up with his Aunt Mimi who hated John’s music almost as much as she hated his mother.
He was let down by the fame and power he so desperately craved as a young man. He thought the Holy Grail of celebrity would protect him from his childhood pain. He was wrong. It was even more empty than his parental relationships.
It was no wonder that when he met the woman he believed could protect him from whatever he thought the world could throw he was panicked. This love was more dangerous than than any drug he was taking. He could not afford to lose this savior.
Lennon sounds like a desperate child on this song. The voice raw even by Lennon standards. I can’t think of him sounding more vulnerable and desperate. Here was a man stripped bare, begging.
Not unlike his stalker songs (Run For Your Life, It Won’t Be Long, I’ll Get You) there is a tremendous will at work here. He will not be let down again.
Many people, including have had less than complimentary things to say about Yoko Ono but it can not be denied that she has always fiercely protected what she sees as The John Lennon legacy. It is very easy to ridicule her pretentious art, tuneless caterwauling and hyper-naive politics but she has never let him down.
Phil Spector decided that Don’t Let Me Down was not good enough to be on the Let It Be album. Spector was of course insane. This is one of Lennon’s best performances.
Special mention for Billy Preston who plays piano like both Paul and John do in their dreams.George’s lead fills are perfect compliment to Preston’s piano, Ringo hits his mark but this song is all about the vocal delivery.
Don’t Let Me Down should win an award for excessively cruel lyric writing
“I’m in love for the first time”
How do you think Cynthia Lennon felt when she heard that? Julian ?
Our minimal solo ukulele version features Craig Greenberg.
Who is Adam singing to?
He never told us and we are far to polite to ask, but whoever it is in for a torrid time. That amount of desire and need is a lot to handle.
An old ukulele will never let you down.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
10 years of touring North America in the 90′s , 11 years of writing commercial music at the legendary JSM music in NYC, meanwhile, recording and producing records for his band "The Mommyheads" and many others;
Adam Elk understands the music industry like a seasoned veteran, but with the same enthusiasm and purpose he had the moment he picked up his first guitar.
While teaching a "music for picture" clinic in Scandinavia in 2011, Adam had his "Ah ha" moment: start a new music venture!
Strip away the glossy sheen, take from all the lessons, mistakes, desires and accomplishments from years of creating music professionally and boil it down to its essence.
The idea is simple…
Work with the best people,
create the best music you possibly can,
treat everyone with the respect they deserve,
and enjoy every moment of it.