In June 1973 Yoko Ono told Lennon she wanted a separation right before the sessions for the Mind Games album began began. Lennon didn’t want to believe they were through, and many Mind Games songs were tributes and apologies to Ono: “Aisumasen (I’m Sorry),” “You Are Here,” and the best of them, “Out the Blue.”
In one of his finest arranging jobs, he keeps the song continually interesting through the gradual introduction of each element: first just guitar, then piano/steel guitar/bass/and drums, then Beatles-esque backing harmonies. His impassioned vocal becomes a touch rawer, then leads into a fiery piano solo. With each piece making its own entrance, the listener can appreciate the new color it adds to the whole more clearly than if they had all been playing together right from the beginning.
Lennon fiercely pins his survival on Ono, singing that he was born just to get to her. A reformed chauvinist, he thanks both the Lord and Lady that he survived long enough to marry her. He sings that she came to him like a UFO out of the blue and cast out the blue that had been depressing him with the romance that rocked their world. A UFO is an apt metaphor, for it’s hard to think of any other woman who could have been more surprising to find on Lennon’s arm than Ono back in 1968. One has to give him points for originality. Lennon himself was an alien to much of the conventional world, so naturally he adored someone who had a similar power to confound the small-minded.
Lennon uses all his power to express how much Ono means to him to sway her to stay. The song comes close to being a standard that could serve as the traditional first dance in a wedding, though Lennon’s intensity and offbeat lyrics are too much for that context.
Ono still said it was over and thus Lennon headed out to Los Angeles for the epic bender that was his Lost Weekend. In the cover he designed for Mind Games, a very small Lennon walks away from a mountain that is Ono’s profile, as if she’s lying in a sarcophagus. But in 1975 Ono would take him back.