Just miss this one; it came to me after stepping out of the car having fulfilled father duties such as fetching the youngest from a party. This was covered by several artists as wiki notes and I particularly fancy Freddie Hubbard’s version of it, taking, if I remember right, 10 minutes all in all. Jazz improvisation, which contaminated rock bands such as The Grateful Dead I suppose. Have it on his CD.
Yer Blues came next in the youtube from the Rolling Stones Rock N Roll Circus so here it is, too. Quite fitting anyway. Love John’s guitar bass-strings work on this during the latter half of the song. Both songs – pure blues rock.
This song is about drug withdrawal. Quitting “Cold Turkey” means abruptly stopping drug use, and wreaks havoc on the body because it has to suddenly adjust to not getting drugs. John Lennon quit cold turkey because he wanted to get off drugs and start a family with Yoko (who also quit with him). He wrote this song about that experience.
Lennon wanted to record this with The Beatles for their Abbey Road album, but the other Beatles rejected it. Lennon recorded it with a group of musicians he called The Plastic Ono Band and released it as a single. It was not available on an album.
Lennon’s second single away from The Beatles. “Give Peace A Chance” was released a few months earlier.
Lennon performed this in September, 1969 at “The Toronto Rock and Revival Show,” featuring Eric Clapton on guitar, Klaus Voorman on bass, and Alan White on drums. The set was released as a live album.
Eric Clapton played some of the guitar on this. Lennon asked Clapton to join The Plastic Ono Band, but Eric declined.
Lennon wrote and recorded this song before attending Arthur Janov’s Primal Scream therapy workshop, which played a part in his song “Mother.” The screams he used in “Cold Turkey,” he was actually emulating Yoko singing.
Lennon discussed this song in an interview with BBC Radio 1 DJ Andy Peebles on December 6, 1980, four days before his death. He recalled: “Cold Turkey was banned. They thought it was a pro-drugs song. But I’ve always expressed what I’ve been feeling or thinking at the time. So I was just writing the experience I’d had of withdrawing from heroin. To some it was a rock ‘n’ roll version of The Man With The Golden Arm because it showed Frank Sinatra suffering from drug withdrawal.” (Source Q magazine November 2010)
When John Lennon decided to return his MBE (Member of the British Empire) award on November 25, 1969, he sent it to Queen Elizabeth II with a note explaining, “I am returning this MBE in protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against ‘Cold Turkey’ slipping down the charts.”
- Freddie Hubbard recorded an instrumental version in 1970, as an outtake from his CTI Records album, Red Clay. Hubbard’s version, featuring Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Ron Carter and Lenny White, is influenced by funk and free jazz.
- A live recording of the song appears on the 1979 LP A Can of Bees by the Soft Boys.
- The Godfathers recorded a version of the song in 1986 with producer Vic Maile; the song was first released on a 1986 compilation album called Hit by Hit that included their three early 12″ singles.
- The track was also covered by PiL originator/guitarist Keith Levene on his solo album Violent Opposition in 1989.
- Cheap Trick recorded two versions of the song in 1994. One went on the album Working Class Hero: A Tribute to John Lennon, and the other was released on one of the Bun E.’s Basement Bootleg albums.
- Beki Bondage of Vice Squad released a version on her 2000 solo covers album also called Cold Turkey.
- Lenny Kravitz recorded a version for the 2007 benefit album Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur.
- Billy Talent did a cover for it on the B-side for their single “Rusted from the Rain” in 2009.
- Most recently, Alice Cooper covered the song with his supergroup Hollywood Vampires on their debut album, released September 11, 2015.