Who was John Lennon's main influence

The story of a driven man: On October 9th, John Lennon would have turned 80

Visionary, border breaker, rebel - John Lennon would have turned 80 on October 9th. Who was the person behind the musical genius? And how big is Lennon's influence on today's generations of musicians?

You can find more music news here

In Danny Boyle's musical comedy "Yesterday" there is a wonderful scene that features a 78 year old John Lennon. The film takes place in a world in which the Beatles never existed. Lennon led a simple life as a sailor and now enjoys his days in a cabin by the sea.

The film skillfully asks the question: "What if?" For the audience, the attraction arises from the fact that they know what was. That John Lennon was shot dead on December 8, 1980. With just 40 years. He would have turned 80 on October 9, 2020.

But could Lennon really have been imagined as a simple, humble sailor? The Lennon, whose middle name is Winston - after Winston Churchill, who is revered in England as a figure of light? Hardly likely.

John Lennon has been searching all his life

Lennon was driven all his life. Who wanted to break out of the civil narrowness from which he came. Who, plagued by self-doubt, was always looking for new ways of expression.

He was a rebel, a lateral thinker and a provocative. He was a teen idol and an avant-garde artist. Born on a night of bombing, he became the Peace activist. He was at home on the world's stages and lived as a city hermit for years.

Even at school, John Lennon was the class clown. He enrolled in art college but felt out of place and inferior to his fellow students. He happened to meet someone at a party Paul McCartney know. It was the beginning of the most groundbreaking Songwriting partnership of pop history.

Of course, Lennon's legacy is overwhelming. ʺHelpʺ, All You Need is Love ”,“ A Hard Day’s Night ”, Strawberry Fields Forever”, “Come Together” - the list of the super hits he has composed is long.

But when Lennon was at its peak with the Beatles he left the group. Out boredom - as he explained in a television interview a few years later.

When a new creative phase begins, he dies

At this point the restless man was knitting again on another John Lennon. With his new partner, the Fluxus artist Yoko Ono, he recorded experimental solo albums. Films produced. And organized happenings like the legendary "Bed-ins".

But it soon became quieter for Lennon. Sure, there was the great one Peace hymn "Imagine". With "Instant Karma", "Working Class Hero" and "Jealous Guy" he had a few more hits. But the musical development passed over him. The punk raged, disco stomped - a Lennon looked as if it had fallen out of time.

Finally Lennon withdrew completely into private. He lived a househusband life in New York for almost five years. It wasn't until 1980 that he came back with a new album. When the fatal shots rang out, Double Fantasy had been on the market for just three weeks.

Meanwhile, John is Lennon dead as long as he lived. But his influence on subsequent generations of musicians cannot be overestimated. Because that is not limited to the fact that Lennon with the Beatles practically created the blueprint for everything we call pop music today.

Lennon breaks the line - and is the first to sing about self-doubt

It was Lennon who for the first time his own in a pop song Addressed inadequacy. Focused on his self-doubt and pain. He sang "I'm a Loser" in 1964 - at a time when pop songs were about love and carefree summer days.

Lennon was all his life looking for help Paul McCartney said in a 2015 interview with Rolling Stone magazine. One of his greatest hits - "Help" - gets to the heart of this fact.

Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, maintains her husband's musical legacy to this day. In 1983 she finished the last planned Lennon album "Milk and Honey". In 1981 she had already released her own most successful album, "Season of Glass". Lennon's bloodied glasses were visible on the cover. Beatles fans accused her of using her husband's murder for their own purposes.

All You Need Is Love - the legacy

That the Lennon legacy can weigh heavily is evident in his Sons. Both started one Music career with tolerable success. Julian Lennon had some medium-sized hits in the 80s, the best known being "Too Late for Goodbyes".

Sean Lennon again tried out a wide variety of genres without celebrating the major successes. He collaborated with greats such as Thurston Moore, John Zorn, Ryan Adams and Lana del Rey, among others. In 2006 he formed the duo The Claypool Lennon Delirium with Les Claypool, the bassist of the funk-rock legend Primus.

So John Lennon's story will continue to be written, for many years to come. But maybe the parallel universe from the film "Yesterday" is not a completely unthinkable vision after all. The Lennon from the film says that he led a completely happy life. And that it is love that has always played the most important role for him. True to the motto: "All You Need Is Love".

Sources used:

  • Philip Norman: John Lennon: The Biography, Ecco 2019
  • YouTube: Inside John Lennon, 2003
  • YouTube: John Lennon at the Tomorrow Show
  • Rollingstone.de: Paul McCartney: "John Lennon was looking for help all his life"
John Lennon, co-founder of the Beatles, would have turned 80 on October 9, 2020. The new song collection "Gimme Some Truth", which contains 36 songs by the British music legend, will be released on the same day in his honor. We look back on his life, which was ended too soon by an assassination attempt.