67. Yoko Ono – ‘Walking On Thin Ice’ (1981)

“I may cry some day
But the tears will dry whichever way
And when our hearts return to ashes
It’ll be just a story”

Written by Yoko Ono

Produced by Yoko Ono

Taken from the album Walking On Thin Ice

Also released on Onobox, Yes I’m A Witch and Open Your Box

UK #35, US #58

I’m guessing my favourite Yoko Ono song is probably the favourite of many others too, due to it being by far her most famous solo single. The well-known story about ‘Walking On Thin Ice’ is how it was John Lennon’s final work, and how he was holding the master tape as he was killed in December 1980. It becomes doubly creepy that the song itself is about how unpredictable life and death is, and how living is like “throwing the dice in the air”.

“I may cry someday”, Yoko sings, her voice full of her usual anguish and pain, but toned down somewhat to allow for the lyrics to be fully digested and understood by the listener. The new-wave backing track was a new direction for her, and as she hadn’t released a single in six years, it was always going to be a stunning return, with or without the surrounding circumstances.

“I knew a girl
Who tried to walk across the lake
Of course it was winter
When all this was ice
A hell of a thing to do, you know
They say the lake is as big as the ocean
I wonder if she knew about it?”

Fear not, this isn’t a straight-up pop song. It is, after all, Yoko Ono. In addition to the strange, ominous spoken word section above, there is also sections of the song where Yoko barks like a dog and then proceeds to make vomiting sounds all over the place. It’s awesome. The contrast between the dramatic vocals and the effortlessly cool pop backing make for a listening experience that isn’t easy to forget. The only Yoko Ono single to become a UK top forty hit – upon release and then again as a remix in 2003 – ‘Walking On Thin Ice’ is also her greatest achievement.

Music video:

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