Released in 1981 the song became an instant New Wave classic Yoko and John Lennon concluded the recording of the song on December 8, 1980.
It was upon their return from the recording studio to The Dakota (their home in New York City) that Lennon was murdered by Mark David Chapman. Lennon was clutching a tape of a final mix when he was shot.
Lennon's lead guitar work on the track, which he recorded on 8 December 1980, is praised by many as the most fascinating of his career. At the end of January 1981, "Walking on Thin Ice" was released as a single and became Ono's first chart success, peaking at number 58 in the US and gaining major club/underground airplay.
The single was released in February 1981 in the UK and reached number 35 on the chart. The lyrics talk of the unpredictability of life and death — of "throwing the dice in the air" — and reach the conclusion, "when our hearts return to ashes, it will be just a story....".