Mind Games is the fourth studio album by John Lennon. It was recorded at Record Plant Studios in New York in summer 1973. The album was released in the US 29 October 1973 and the UK 16 November 1973. The album was Lennon's first self-produced recording without help from Phil Spector. Like his previous album, the politically topical and somewhat abrasive Some Time in New York City, Mind Games received mixed reviews upon release. It reached number 13 in the UK and number 9 in the US, where it was certified gold.
The album was recorded while Lennon was having difficulties with US immigration and at the beginning of his 18-month separation from Yoko Ono. The title track was released as a single at the same time as the album. The album itself was later reissued several times throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
By the start of 1973, John Lennon began distancing himself from the political and social issues he had embraced in the previous 18 months. It was also around this time that he and his wife, Yoko Ono, were going through marital problems. As Ono was completing her fourth album, Feeling the Space, Lennon decided he also wanted to record a new album, and liked the studio musicians that their assistant and production coordinator May Pang had assembled for Ono's album. Shortly thereafter, he asked Pang to book them for his sessions. Wanting to produce an album that would be more accepted than his previous politically charged commercial flop Some Time in New York City, Lennon began writing and demoing a few songs for Mind Games in his Greenwich Village apartment. He began composing after a period of almost a year of not writing any material.
Amid frequent court appearances battling to stay in the United States, Lennon became stressed, a situation that was only worsened by constant surveillance by the FBI, due to his political activism. Lennon said, "I just couldn't function, you know? I was so paranoid from them tappin' the phone and followin' me." All this combined made Lennon begin to feel emotionally withdrawn. Lennon put his suffering aside to write the songs for Mind Games, writing all the songs for it in a week.
Under the moniker of "The Plastic U.F.Ono Band", Lennon engaged the services of session drummer Jim Keltner, guitarist David Spinozza, Gordon Edwards on bass, Arthur Jenkins on percussion, Michael Brecker on saxophone, Ken Ascher on piano and organ, and the vocal backing of a group called Something Different. Difficulties between Lennon and Ono became more and more noticeable around this time. Just as the sessions were to get under way in June at New York's Record Plant Studios, John and Yoko separated. At Ono's urging, Pang became Lennon's companion and lover in what would become an 18-month relationship later renowned as Lennon's "lost weekend".