Music

John Lennon's Greatest Hits

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John Lennon was killed today in 1980. Just an abominable and pointless crime for any number of reasons. 

Like each of the Beatles, Lennon helped to create a cultural archetype, in his case the semi-thinking man's rock star who rarely shied away from weighing in on the issues of the day. Though he's widely (and legitimately) characterized as being a commie-symp peacenik drug addict less-and-less-talented bum who might have been the original tea-bagger (tea-baggist?), he was a lot more complicated than all that. He made some great music and, especially with Yoko Ono at his side, really helped us all fly our freak flags more freely.

Here's some of his memorable quotes from a Playboy interview done shortly before his murder:

 

"I am not going to get locked in that business of saving the world on stage. The show is always a mess and the artist always comes off badly… . All of you who are reading this, don't bother sending me all that garbage about, 'Just come and save the Indians, come and save the blacks, come and save the war veterans'."…

"You know, America has poured billions into places like that. It doesn't mean a damn thing. After they've eaten that meal, then what? It lasts for only a day. After the $200,000,000 is gone, then what? It goes round and round in circles." It's a critique of foreign aid readers of P.T. Bauer would be familiar with. "You can pour money in forever. After Peru, then Harlem, then Britain. There is no one concert. We would have to dedicate the rest of our lives to one world concert tour, and I'm not ready for it."…

"I dabbled in so-called politics in the late Sixties and Seventies more out of guilt than anything," he revealed. "Guilt for being rich, and guilt thinking that perhaps love and peace isn't enough and you have to go and get shot or something, or get punched in the face, to prove I'm one of the people. I was doing it against my instincts….

I worked for money and I wanted to be rich. So what the hell—if that's a paradox, then I'm a socialist. But I am not anything. What I used to be is guilty about money. … Because I thought money was equated with sin. I don't know. I think I got over it, because I either have to put up or shut up, you know. If I'm going to be a monk with nothing, do it. Otherwise, if I am going to try and make money, make it. Money itself isn't the root of all evil….

"If you want to save Peru, go save Peru. It's quite possible to do anything, but not if you put it on the leaders and the parking meters. Don't expect Carter or Reagan or John Lennon or Yoko Ono or Bob Dylan or Jesus Christ to come and do it for you. You have to do it yourself."

This is pulled from the American Conservative.

Past Reason thoughts on John Lennon's death.

My defense of Yoko Ono in the pages of Suck, circa 2000.

Take it, away, John:

NEXT: Christmas Meat and Other Homeland Security Costs

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  1. “You know, America has poured billions into places like that. It doesn’t mean a damn thing. After they’ve eaten that meal, then what? It lasts for only a day. After the $200,000,000 is gone, then what? It goes round and round in circles.” It’s a critique of foreign aid readers of P.T. Bauer would be familiar with. “You can pour money in forever. After Peru, then Harlem, then Britain. There is no one concert. We would have to dedicate the rest of our lives to one world concert tour, and I’m not ready for it.”…

    After reading that my respect for John Lennon just went up – greatly.

    1. I thought the same as I read this.

    2. Does anyone have a link to the full text of the original Playboy interview?

  2. I swear that 90% of the really stupid shit John did was instigated by Yoko. I know we all love to slag on Yoko, but she really deserves it. What John would have been without her would have been interesting to see.

    1. Odds are he would have been Paul McCartney.

      1. I find it fascinating that once the greatest band in the history or rock ‘n’ roll broke up, not one member could make a solo album that even came close to the brilliance of their output as a band.

        1. And please don’t try to use “Imagine” or, God forbid, “Band on the Run” to refute my comment above.

          1. Plastic Ono Band is pretty awesome, dude.

            1. Color me shocked, shocked, that you support government secrecy.

          2. “Band on the Run” has some fantastic music — as does “Double Fantasy” and assorted bits and pieces of other Beatle solo-ness — but yeah you’re right.

            1. Oh, and also, George Martin. Dude was at least as important as Lennon and McCartney. Looks like he was only involved in a scattering of McCartney songs post-Beatles and no Lennon stuff.

              1. +1 I like almost all the early Beatles and I really like Abby Road. The stuff in between is OK but never grabbed me the same way. It was years before I found out that George Martin wasn’t involved in the middle stuff but came back to work with the boys on Abby. I consider George Martin the 5th Beatle.

                1. “It was years before I found out that George Martin wasn’t involved in the middle stuff but came back to work with the boys on Abbey.”

                  George Martin is great, but this is not accurate.

          3. ClubMed,

            I am not a HareKrishna by any means but there was one album that Harrison did with the HarreKrishna’s did that was brilliant – comparable to the Beatle’s later work. I once had a copy on casset tape – I cannot remember the name of the actual album and even searched Amazon for it. Could not find it. I would love to have a CD or even a set of MP3 files for it.

            1. I don’t know it either offhand, but it would probably have been the one with the My Sweet Lord track on it.

            2. You might look here at the Wikipedia article for Harrison. There’s a fairly detailed list of his work.

        2. Oh, I don’t know. I can’t remember much from Lennon or McCartney’s solo albums, but Harrison’s All Things Must Pass was pretty good. At least I can still remember most of the songs off of it. That’s something, anyway.

        3. I guess I’m not trying to slag their solo stuff so much as point out how much greater the Beatles were than the sum of their parts. Personally, I think there’s something to be said for strong personalities keeping each other in check (much in the same way that Jeff Tweedy was so much better when he had Jay Farrar–and later Jay Bennett–then he was after kicking Bennett out of Wilco).

          On a side note, I’m disappointed nobody mentioned Ringo’s eponymous record… “Photograph” rules!

        4. You have to admit that this song was the greatest solo recording by anyone – EVER!

          1. Jim- I was hoping you were linking to that song. When I got my first Walkman for Christmas I spent hours jumping from station to station trying to find that song, and thanks to Chicago’s homogeneous radio market I was successful probably once every five minutes.

          2. Great song by, hands down, the coolest Beatle.

            Geez, they really just don’t make music – or music videos – like they used to.

          3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWi5jdgTUJs

            Like so many things, I knew and loved the spoofs before I knew the originals.

        5. And, in fact, it was McCartney’s solo top-40 teeny-bopper pablum garbage that made me re-examine the Beatles works. About the only Beatles that I can tolerate nowadays is from George and Ringo.

          And I was around 10 when Beatle-mania hit.

          … Hobbit

          1. I went through a phase where I thought that, too, but now I realize that I secretly actually really like the Wings stuff.

        6. I find it fascinating that once the greatest band in the history or rock ‘n’ roll broke up, not one member could make a solo album that even came close to the brilliance of their output as a band.

          Lennon and McCartney competed with each other while in the Beatles. When they broke up, they didn’t care to compete anymore and their quality suffered. While in the band, even Harrison couldn’t take it anymore and started to compete – and might’ve outdone Paul & John. Probably the real reason Paul quit.

          No competition for space on a solo album. Sort of an artistic monopoly – and the quality suffered.

    2. When people tell me they hate my music, I play some Yoko Ono for them. After that, they change their mind.

      1. Heh. I still think the best thing you ever did was the Poloroid Swinger jingle.

      2. Early Barrow Manilow had some great songs.

  3. Wow! I am in amazement about this interview. I truly underestimated him and his political savvy. Too Bad Yoko didn’t get free market hint. But she certainly counts those checks

    1. Actually, Yoko was very much the capitalist businesswoman, and Lennon himself credited her with helping him come around to his later viewpoints regarding money, success, work, etc. He does som at one point in this very interview in fact.

      1. Actually, Yoko was very much the capitalist businesswoman…

        That’s right – she was the daughter of a very rich and powerful Japanese banker.

  4. I never realized he had such a Peru fixation. Did he read Paddington as a kid?

  5. What? No Dimebag memorial?

  6. My defense of Yoko Ono in the pages of Suck, circa 2010.

    Ewww, she totally ruined the Plastic Ono Band!

  7. John Lennon was killed today in 1980. Just an abominable and pointless crime for any number of reasons.

    Are crimes required to have a point?

  8. I second the previous commenters that I had no idea Lennon was this level headed about foreign aid and attempting to obtain material wealth. And I’m pretty damn sure that the majority of Lennon worshipers have no idea about it either.

    You know what else is funny? The majority of people in their 20’s that I know hate -HATE- the Beatles. I know, it’s sacrilege, etc. etc. But seriously, they don’t understand what the big deal about them is and couldn’t care less about their music.

    I’m old.

    1. If it makes you feel any better I’m 27 and I spent middle and high school obsessed with them. I like a lot of music, but nobody could ever top the Beatles.

      1. Faith in humanity: Restored.

      2. I was thinking the same thing. I don’t consider myself a huge Beatles fan (though I do own everything from Rubber Soul on) but I knew tons of kids who were all into the Beatles in high school (1993-97). Admittedly I’m just outside the 20-something demographic, but given the success of the Beatles Rock Band it seems that they’re still pretty popular with the kids.

    2. yesterday.

  9. Were Yoko’s boobs really that big, or is it an optical illusion I’m witnessing?

    1. It’s the outfit.

      1. Really? Then I know what to get my wife for Christmas – THAT outfit.

    2. I saw an interview with her recently and she was showing some ample cleavage. She has a set on her.

      1. There’s no need for unfulfilled curiosity on this point. Ono and Lennon posed nude on the cover of Two Virgins.

        1. Re: Jesse Walker,

          Please, don’t remind me. The photos gave a visual account of the possibility that a guy could have a nicer ass than a girl. Gave me nightmares.

          1. (… because Yoko’s ass looked like an old lady’s… Yuck!)

            1. Yes her face looks like an old ladies ass

  10. Just curious… does anyone ever break out their copy of Double Fantasy and listen to it on December 8th?

    1. Did you just admit to owning Double Fantasy?!?

      1. You got a problem with that? I’ll step outside right now, I swear.

        (Really though, it’s good shit. Fuck you if you don’t like “Watching the Wheels.”)

        1. Wheels is the only song I like off that album.

          1. Clean Up Time is really good. And Tony Levin plays on that album. I like Tony Levin.

        2. Isn’t “Woman” on that album? Great song. Also, “Beautiful Boy” is good.

      2. Oh hell no!

        I don’t own Double Live Gonzo, either.

    2. Re: Mister DNA,

      I would probably listen to it on a dare.

    3. Flesh for Fantasy? What does Billy Idol have to do with this?

  11. “Nor do I think we came from monkeys, by the way,” he insisted. “That’s another piece of garbage. What the hell’s it based on? We couldn’t’ve come from anything?fish, maybe, but not monkeys. I don’t believe in the evolution of fish to monkeys to men. Why aren’t monkeys changing into men now? It’s absolute garbage.”

    …weak.

    1. Wow, he was a Creationist? I feel like I have no idea who he was anymore.

      A flaming liberal free-market anti-globalization capitalist creationist.

      Bill the Cat would be proud.

      1. I highly doubt that John Lennon was a creationist.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wv3ic6OOXns

        1. Did you read the quote? He completely rejects evolution. If not a creationist, then what?

          1. Yeah, pre-Darwin atheists were pretty much SOL.

    2. He sounds exactly like Mr. Garrison in “Go God Go”.

      1. Best explanation of evolution ever.

  12. There are two kinds of people: Those who love the Beatles, and those who haven’t really listened to the Beatles.

    1. I don’t take an anti-Beatles stance for the sake of being contrary, but damnit, I’ve listened to The Beatles and I’ve listened to the Kinks.

      I love The Kinks, if only for the fact that they didn’t write and record “Rocky Raccoon”.

      1. They did, however, record “Bungalow Bill.” Only they called it “Sweet Lady Genevieve.”

        (And if anyone doubts that the Kinks are better than the Beatles, consider the fact that “Sweet Lady Genevieve,” unlike “Bungalow Bill,” is a great song.)

        1. “Yellow Submarine” also sucks. This proves nothing.

        2. The Beatles are unique in that it would be virtually impossible to put together a single “best of” LP and get any agreeement among their fans. But you could easily put together a “worst of” and fill almost exactly a single LP.

          And no Jessee the Kinks are not better than the Beatles. The Kinks recorded Come Dancing and Rock and Roll Cities and a whole collection of crap in the 1980s.

          1. The Kinks put out their worst work in the latter half of the ’80s, but c’mon, “Come Dancing” is great. And anyway, if you’re judging the Kinks by what they did in the 1980s, you have to compare it to the solo stuff McCartney, Harrison, and Starr were releasing at the same time. I’m not convinced the Beatles would come out ahead.

            1. I’m not convinced the Beatles would come out ahead.

              Kids these days, what are we gonna do with them?

              1. I’m an Old, and I’m also a musician:

                1) I would rather listen to the Kinks over the Beatles EVERYTIME.

                2) I’d rather listen to the Who over the Stones EVERYTIME.

                3) I’d rather listen to Willie Dixon over Led Zepplin EVERYTIME.

                …not that it matters one bit, actually, as we like what we like.

            2. That is ludicrous Jessee. That is like saying when judging the Jackson Five you have to consider Tito’s solo records. A band should be judged by the material it produced together.

          2. You may not like “Come Dancing,” but you can’t ignore that State of Confusion is a fairly solid album, as is 1981’s Give the People What They Want. And 1984’s Word of Mouth isn’t bad.

            While during the same period, Paul McCartney recorded three of the worst songs the universe will ever hear: “Ebony and Ivory,” The Girl Is Mine,” and “Say Say Say.”

            1. You may not like “Come Dancing,” but you can’t ignore that State of Confusion is a fairly solid album, as is 1981’s Give the People What They Want. And 1984’s Word of Mouth isn’t bad.

              I like all three of those albums. The dip in quality didn’t really start until they made the mistake of hopping from Arista to MCA in 1986.

            2. I totally wore out my copy of Give the People What They Want when I was in high school. And One For the Road.

  13. Plastic Ono Band is pretty awesome, dude.

    I assume you mean the Yoko record called Plastic Ono Band, because the John one is unlistenable piss.

    EEeeeeeEEEEEEeeeeeEEE 4 LYFE

  14. I might question my wealth also if all money and fame get you is a Yoko. Hideous. I have a fondness for Asian women, but Yoko?

  15. Guy almost makes sense with some of that.

    I always considered him to be the most overrated member of an overrated band.

    They were great, mind you, but I never did understand the adulation.

    1. I feel the same way about Paganini.

  16. Gillespie2000:

    And then there’s Nancy Reagan, often simply castigated as a bitch, a shrew, and a loon who believed not only in astrology and the viability of late capitalism but also in Just Saying No to Drugs and Just Saying Yes to Sitting in Mr. T’s Lap. There’s a lot that can be said about I Love You, Ronnie: The Letters of Ronald Reagan to Nancy Reagan ? and at the top of the list is, “Excuse me, I’m going to vomit.” But the collection, which Nancy recently edited and published to massive sales, offers clues about where the Reagan White House’s real intellectual center lay. Whatever else we may learn from the series of pre-Alzheimer’s letters in which the former president who contemplated a limited nuclear war in Europe addresses his wife as “Mommie Poo Pants” and “Nancy Poo Pants,” these letters clearly indicate that the President owed not just a large part of his professional success but a large part of whatever small semblance of sanity he conveyed to his tireless First Lady.

    That this article needs to be written ? much less read ? is of course proof enough that even in a world liberated enough to stack but one girl against two guys (and, in the original version, a pizza place) in a sitcom, women’s contributions are still underappreciated as a matter of course.

    There are signs, however mixed, that true gender liberation may be at hand. A widely circulated email rumor holds that the George W. Bush campaign is going to either kill arteriosclerotic running mate Dick Cheney and make it look like a heart attack, force him to resign over phony “health concerns,” or (the method that apparently polled highest) kill him in full public view with no further comment or explanation. In several mutant versions of the email rumor, former head of the National Endowment for the Humanities Lynne Cheney not only will deliver the blows that actually disable her husband but will also replace him on the Republican ticket.

    1. Hey, they can’t all be gems….

    2. former president who contemplated a limited nuclear war in Europe addresses his wife as “Mommie Poo Pants” and “Nancy Poo Pants…

      I was going to laugh but then my brain broke.

  17. Tonight I am going to play “Nowhere Man” in honor of Barack Obama and “Tax Man” (the greatest of all George songs) in honor of…well, Democrats everywhere.

  18. RIP Dime. six years since being murdered on stage

    1. RIP Dimebag. Worst musical tragedy in recent memory. Talk about pointless…

      Why do people kill so many of the wrong ones? Darrel gets murdered on STAGE for godsakes and Ulrich still runs around suing college kids for getting free copies of Ride the Lightning.

      Shit ain’t right, is what I’m saying.

      1. Maybe the guy was pissed that Damageplan was no Pantera? But yes, pointless and a great loss.

  19. My favorite Beatle’s song is “Rain”. I understand that John Lennon was it’s primary author. I had thought it is was on the Revolver album, but my memory is worthless, it was on the flip side of a single with “Paperback Writer”.

  20. “We’re shagging for peace, man!”

  21. Relata refero.*

    *”phrase to dissociate its user from judging the content of his words”

  22. I am the author of The Lennon Factor, the only book written about John Lennon while he was alive. A new electronic edition is now available on Amazon at
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Lenn…..mp;sr=1-1. Paul Young.

  23. I was so impressed with what he said there that I went and found the original article – which was disappointingly 180 degrees from the quote you got from that conservative site.

    In fact half of that quote isn’t even from that original Playboy article. The rest? In the original interview, far from talking about what a waste charity is, he talks about giving 10% of his income to the poor.

    Read it for yourself: http://www.john-lennon.com/pla…..okoono.htm

  24. Don’t forget that he wrote “Revolution”. Boomer leftist always talk about “Imagine” and forget Revolution for a reason. Revolution was a giant “fuck you” to the new left. The song calls them out for being the mindlessly violent little bastards they were. He says

    You say you got a real solution
    Well, you know
    We’d all love to see the plan
    You ask me for a contribution
    Well, you know
    We’re doing what we can
    But when you want money
    for people with minds that hate
    All I can tell is brother you have to wait

    You say you’ll change the constitution
    Well, you know
    We all want to change your head
    You tell me it’s the institution
    Well, you know
    You better free you mind instead
    But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao
    You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow

    He caught a lot of flack for that song. The New Left knew he was talking about them. I always contrast Revolution with the Rolling Stones “Street Fighting Man”. Now Jagger and Richards were about as communist as I am. By 1968 they had pretty much created Stones Inc. They looked at 1968 and thought, “how can we sell some records” and wrote “Street Fighting Man”, which, while a great song, is a completely cynical attempt to capitalize on the spirit of 68. Lennon, in contrast, actually thought about it and wrote what he thought. And said something that was pretty ballsy for someone in his position. I have always respected him for that song.

    As a side note, the song shows how badly he needed McCartney. He originally wrote it as the slower version on the White Album. It was McCartney and Harrison at McCartney’s urging who insisted that the song be re-recorded at a faster tempo if it was going to be a single. Thanks to them, a good song was turned into a classic.

  25. Complicated man. I have heard that as they were taking him to the hospital, one of the policemen, testing to see if he was in shock, asked him, “do you know who you are”? I always found that quite fitting.

    1. I wonder what his answer was. How awesome would it be if he had guessed the name of one of the other Beatles?

      1. I am the walrus, ko ko ca choo.

  26. Fuck boomer scum and their “nostalgia”

  27. I totally prefer Lennon’s solo stuff, the distorted funky shit like how do you sleep and the asian tinged romantic stuff like jealous guy
    He was much better without McCartney dragging him down
    Viva John!

  28. Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.

    1. Fountainhead: The Musical?

  29. John Lennon’s Christmas song came on the radio as soon as I started reading this article. Freaky.

    1. I think his Christmas song is probably about the best pop Christmas song ever.

  30. If you want to save Peru, go save Peru. It’s quite possible to do anything, but not if you put it on the leaders and the parking meters. Don’t expect Carter or Reagan or John Lennon or Yoko Ono or Bob Dylan or Jesus Christ to come and do it for you. You have to do it yourself.

    Less pithy than Gahndi’s “be the change” quote, but good nonetheless. Thursday, December 9 will stand out in my life as the day I resolved to stop waiting for parking meters to solve my problems.

  31. What a seriously aged demographic in this thread…

    1. Fuck all you little punk bastards. And get off my lawn, or I’ll set the dogs on ya.

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