"Tomorrow Never Came" is a song by Lana Del Rey featuring Sean Ono Lennon. It was written and produced with Lennon and Rick Nowels. It is featured on her fifth studio album and fourth major-label studio album, Lust for Life.
Del Rey's fans began speculating that Sean Ono Lennon would be featured on Lust for Life during March, 2017, when they noticed that the Lust for Life album trailer featured the 'Chimera Music' logo, Lennon's record label. During an interview with Courtney Love for Dazed magazine, Del Rey confirmed that he would be featured on the album on a song called "Tomorrow Never Came".
A snippet of a supposed demo of the song with additional vocal harmonies and more sparse instrumentation surfaced on March 13, 2018.. An alternate version of the song with different lyrics, unmastered and different instrumental mix leaked on April 16, 2018. The original file that leaked was titled "Tomorrow Never Came 3.10.17", suggesting that the song was recorded on March 10, 2017. The studio a cappella of this version leaked the same day. On August 26, 2018, a longer snippet of the supposed demo leaked. The supposed demo surfaced on February 23, 2020, though it was later confirmed to be a stem edit.
Writing and inspiration
In an interview with Courtney Love for Dazed magazine, Del Rey talked about writing the song and stated:
“When I wrote it I felt like it wasn’t really for me. I kept on thinking about who this song was for or who could do it with me, and then I realised that he would be a good person. I didn’t know if I should ask him because I actually have a line in it where I say, ‘I wish we could go back to your country house and put on the radio and listen to our favourite song by Lennon and Yoko.’ I didn’t want him to think I was asking him because I was namechecking them. Actually, I had listened to his records over the years and I did think it was his vibe, so I played it for him and he liked it. He rewrote his verse and had extensive notes, down to the mix. And that was the last thing I did, decision-wise. I haven’t mixed the record, but the fact that "Love" just came out and Sean kind of finished up the record, it felt very meant-to-be. Because that whole concept of peace and love really is in his veins and in his family.”
In an interview with BBC Radio 1 on April 19, 2017, Del Rey mentioned the song again and called it an acoustic song that is one of her personal top three favorite tracks from the album.
In an interview for Flaunt magazine, Del Rey stated that the track explores Sean Ono Lennon's parents, John Lennon and Yoko Ono. She spoke to Lennon via phone and sent him a very simple version of the song consisting of her vocals, a guitar and an organ. However, she felt that the song belonged to someone else and not to her. Flaunt also asked Lennon about the making of the song and he said: "I’ll never forget when she called me after I sent her [Del Rey] what I did and her first words were ‘It’s perfect!’ I almost cried with joy because I honestly don’t think anyone has ever said that to me about anything I’ve ever done. It was a very good feeling."
Del Rey performed the song live for the first time at her Lust for Life listening party and performance hosted by Spotify at No Vacancy in Los Angeles, California, on July 20, 2017. The song was performed in full alongside Sean Ono Lennon during the Norman Fucking Rockwell Tour on September 21, 2019 at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, New York.
- "Pouring rain" is also mentioned in "Born to Die" and "Paradise".
- "Lay lady lay" is a reference to the 1969 Bob Dylan song. The song is also mentioned in "Religion".
- Mention of a radio can be found in "Put the Radio On" and the song of the same name.
- Paradise is a phrase frequently mentioned in various songs, most notably in "Dark Paradise" and the song of the same name.
- Del Rey also opens the song by asking "what you doin'?" in the first line of "Making Out" and asks "what'cha doin'?" in "Breaking My Heart".
- Playing guitar is also mentioned in "Music to Watch Boys To", "Brooklyn Baby", "For K (Part 2)", "Groupie Love" and "The Next Best American Record".
- There is a line "you'd be my tiny dancer" that refers to Elton John's "Tiny dancer."
- Album version — 5:07
- Instrumental version — 5:09
- Alternate version — 5:09
- Alternate version a cappella — 4:54
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