It was 40 years ago today (November 17th, 1980), that John Lennon and Yoko Ono released their comeback album Double Fantasy. The collection marked Lennon's first release since his self-imposed five-year retirement from the music business in 1975, during which time he had become a self described “house husband” in Manhattan raising the couple's son Sean, while Yoko managed the couple's finances.
At the time of the album's release, Lennon did an interview with Playboy magazine in which he said that his songs on Double Fantasy came rushing out of him all at once. Contrary to what Lennon told the magazine, most of the music on Double Fantasy actually dated back several years, and it was not the only music he composed during his “retirement.” Lennon had begun recording demos in 1976 for a pair of projects that never saw the light of day — an unrealized seventh studio album called Between The Lines, and a musical based on his life with Yoko, called The Ballad Of John And Yoko, named after the 1969 Beatles song. Music and lyrics from both unfinished projects found their way into Lennon's 1980 songs.
Legendary rock photographer Bob Gruen took many of the most iconic shots of Lennon during the 1970's. He shed some light on Lennon's reclusive househusband years when the entire world was wondering why he had abandoned recording music: “Y'know, seeing him, he really had dedicated himself to raising his child, he really had kind of withdrawn from the business. He had a very, very, very intense involvement with — y'know, from the Beatles on — being managed by Allen Klein, one of the most powerful managers in the world. I think when that was finally settled in '77, when they signed off on that, and after that, he was kind of free and I think kind of enjoying not having any commitments to business and to companies. And wanted to learn what it was like to have a life.”