Yoko Songs: Listen the Snow is Falling

YOKO SONG: Listen the Snow is Falling

By Madeline Bocaro 

© Madeline Bocaro, 2017/2019. No part of this site may be reproduced in whole or in part in any manner without permission of the copyright owner.

Listen, The Snow is Falling
B-Side of ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’ 1971
B-Side of ‘Mind Train’ 1971

“Just before it snows I feel something, you know. And I start to get sort of elevated in a way. Then I see snow and I think Oh! That’s what it was, It’s always like that.”

– Yoko, Los Angeles Free Press

Yoko is asking us to listen to ‘the sound of one hand clapping’. A meditation. This song shimmers like light on snow. It quiets our minds and bodies in a blanket of peacefulness. This was one of the first songs of her own that she shared with John. The lyrics come from ‘Snow Piece’ (1963) in Yoko’s book Grapefruit. An early vocal-only demo contains an outtake verse which is exactly ‘Snow Piece’.

When you talk to someone
Snow is falling between you and him
When you talk with someone
Go on talking until he’s covered with snow

The tape echo on Yoko’s voice makes the B-side sound magical. Her instruction to Nicky Hopkins for the piano intro was, “Pretend that it’s snowing…that snow is melting on your fingertips.” She desires the sound of a celeste, so the electric piano is doctored to sound like one. “Feet in the Snow” and “Strong Wind” from a sound effects record are layered atop each other.

Listen, the snow is falling all the time
Listen, the snow is everywhere
Between your bed and mine
Between your head and my mind
…between your god and mine
…snow of dream, snow of hope, snow of love
Listen – listen baby

Some words reflect where Yoko was living (NYC), and her Wrap Piece (wrapping the lion statues in Trafalgar Square).

Between Empire State Building and between Trafalgar Square
Snow is falling everywhere
Snow is falling all the time

The song was reissued as a promotional CD single in 1995 with a still from Yoko’s Fluxfilm no. 14: One (a.k.a. Match) 1966 on the cover.

The reverence to silence is reminiscent of John & Yoko’s ‘Two Minutes of Silence’ (1969) and preceded their ‘Nutopian National Anthem’ (1973), which quite possibly samples “4:33” by John Cage (1952)!
The best mashup ever:

John Cage “Silence” & John & Yoko’s “Two Minutes of Silence” – with lyrics!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xb4aW1G1Kc4&sns=em

Yoko & John & John Cage discussing vocalizing on Bank Street
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=O6fYyw-XcfE

Here are some wonderful cover versions of Yoko’s song…

By Stephen Emmer:
Listen, the Snow Is Falling, Pt. 1 (feat. Kazu Makino)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qus1Rd4Bog0

Listen, the Snow Is Falling, Pt. 2 (feat. Yoko Ono & Samuel Beckett)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNbnlU8Xc1I

Galaxie 500 (1990)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX-o3rN99pI&feature=youtu.be

Harry Nilsson’s posthumously released version on his album Losst and Founnd (2019:

© Madeline Bocaro 2017/2019. No part of the materials available through madelinex.com may be copied, photocopied, reproduced, translated or reduced to any electronic medium or machine-readable form, in whole or in part, without the  prior written consent of Madeline Bocaro. Any other reproduction in any form without the permission of Madeline Bocaro is prohibited. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without prior written permission of Madeline Bocaro.

 

 

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