Becoming more like John Lennon

Checking out some  old vids the other day it struck me there was a time when everybody seemed to want to shamelessly ape John Lennon.

Lennon, of course, was always the coolest Beatle and while his death at the hands of a deranged fan in 1980 was a terrible tragedy that robbed the music world of one of its greatest talents, there is nothing like a premature death to ensure you are forever young in the hearts of the public.

Would Marlyn Monroe be the iconic and flawlessly beautiful figure she is today if she had been allowed to grown old ungracefully like Bardot? And would James Dean be forever be the Rebel Without A Cause had he ended up wearing old man's golf slacks?

Princess Diana is forever beautiful because she was beautiful the night she died. John Lennon is forever cool.

There was always something of a Lennon v McCartney rivalry in the Beatles. They were both geniuses but nobody wants to emulate McCartney - and that's not just because he wrote the Frog Chorus and married a scary woman with one leg.

In the 1990s it seemed as if just about every young act, and some not so young ones wanted to be John Lennon. Liam Gallagher from Oasis is the most well known example. In his prime Liam was like a badass, juvenile Lennon with ADD.

Then there was Paul Weller, the so-called Modfather who revived his Jam glory days in 1995 with his solo album Stanley Road, that sounds Beatlesque in the Abbey Road genre but it actually the name of the road he grew up in, in Woking. You Do Something To Me was one of his biggest hits. He seems tio want to emulate Lennon with those specs. Or maybe he wants to emulate Liam.

Even the bloke from Ocean Colour Scene looks like he's trying to do a John Lennon. Badly. I liked The Day We Caught the Train when it came out. Not so much now.

There were quite a few other acts that could also do a passable John Lennon. But the best John Lennon impression was given by this guy in tracks such as Jealous Guy where he does a great impression of Bryan Ferry.


  1. Thanks for the selection, David. It seems that Liam Gallagher is still obsessed by John Lennon, in spite of what he says in Supersonic: 'I need to be myself, no one else'.

  2. So this is where everyone will get mad at me when I say that if I never hear 'imagine' or a Beatles song again it'll be too soon. I guess I got SO sick of their music after Lennon was killed b/c it got overplayed. I do, however, still like #9 Dream and whatever gets you thru the night. But of the two, I'll take Paul Weller any day. Also prefer Bryan Ferry's Jealous Guy. Just as I prefer Elton's Lucy in the Sky (and Pinball Wizard).

    1. ooo sacrilege JoJo - although I would agree with you in liking Bryan Ferry's version of Jealous Guy better

  3. Interesting take on it all! Thanks for sharing.

    John Lennon was always my favourite Beatle, then it was George, then Paul and Ringo. I loved wearing the John Lennon sunglasses, back then.

    To add to your list, let's not forget Jack Karouac. I think he died from too much drink. (A habit that came with the times). It was his liver. But to emulate his drinking among young writers of today as cool- I dunno!

    1. cool Jacqueline - were you in London back then? True Jack will be forever hip

  4. I couldn't agree with you more. Legends are legends in Hollywood because of their last image. Look at Elizabeth Taylor. She is considered Hollywood royalty, of course, but she will never truly be considered the flawless icon like that of Marilyn or Grace, because she was all over the tabloids as a crazy, Michael Jackson bff overweight diamond-grubber.

    Look at Marlon Brando. He was the original James Dean and was super gorgeous. But that image has been tainted because most of us know him as the obese cranky old man who scowled until he died.

    I often wonder what would have happened in Marilyn had lived to 80-something. No doubt she would have gone the Liz route. Addiction to pills or alcohol would cause her to be either obese or gaunt. She would have married a lot more men that were no good for her, which isn't as adorable when you're 50-something. She would have probably gotten bitter and spiteful because of it. Fame was the only thing going for her and Marilyn after 40 wouldn't have been able to handle it.

    John Lennon though...he would probably still be cool...probably shopping at Whole Foods and promoting his agendas via twitter though.

  5. Absoutely Jen - Brando is the classic example, although I hadn;t thought of him. He had early matinee looks but everybody thinks of the big scary, brooding guy in the Godfather as classic Brando.


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