Tribute Songs for John Lennon

Ringo's beautiful birthday message for John. And a picture of the pair in very short shorts and masks...

Ringo’s lovely birthday Facebook post for John. (And a pic of the pair.) The post reads: “Peace and love to everyone else around the world celebrating John’s birthday on John Lennon week. He was my friend. Peace and love R.”

 

As we all know, it was John’s birthday two days ago. Happy birthday again, Johnny! I’m still listening to my ‘John’ playlist on my iPad, and my LP of choice recently has been Shaved Fish, a 1975 compilation of John’s best hits (until that point in time — he still had Double Fantasy to release. And if that Thing hadn’t fired its stupid gun, John would still be here today. And we might have had more.) So today I thought I would keep on with the Lennon theme and write about four tribute songs written for John. They’re all very different, but they also all are emotional affairs and portray the relationship the singer felt with John. So here goes…

 

Paul’s ‘Here Today’

john and paul one

 

As you would perhaps assume, Paul wrote/did the most beautiful John tribute ever recorded. My opinion, anyway. People who think John and Paul hated each other really need to listen to this song. You can’t deny that they were close after hearing it. I really can’t help but tear up when I listen to this song — you will hear why when you listen to it, too.

It was only after I heard this for the first time late last year that I realised that John and Paul were more than just the best songwriters in the history of the world (IMO). They were best friends who loved each other. I’m reading Alistair Taylor’s memoirs at the moment, and I like how he says that (paraphrasing), “John and Paul were closer than brothers.” People sometimes forget that you don’t have to be sexually attracted to another person to love them — that you can love your friends just as much. I think John and Paul are a perfect example of this, regardless of their early-’70s fights. And this song is the perfect testament to their closeness. Thank you, Paul!

George’s ‘All Those Years Ago’

 

This was the first tribute to John I heard (late last year). I listened to it first probably ‘cos George is my second-favourite Beatle! Very upbeat, but still moving. I especially love the electric piano! And the music video (wow!). And the lyrics…as with the above, people who seriously think that John and George weren’t close, listen to the lyrics, man! The Beatles were all very close, I think. Maybe that is one of the reasons as to why they were so darn fantabulous (there isn’t a word in the English language to describe how fab The Beatles were/are)!

I’ve been doing a bit of research on John and George’s friendship lately, and I found this gorgeous story from John’s birthday, 1970, at which time he was recording ‘Remember’ from Plastic Ono Band with Klaus Voorman and Ringo. To quote the Beatles Bible: “During the session George Harrison arrived at the studio, arriving in his dark blue Ferrari 330 GTC. He presented Lennon with a plastic flower and the pair hugged each other.” 🙂 ! As Yoko Ono said, “John loved George and George loved John. Their friendship was very special.”

Elton John’s ‘Empty Garden (Hey, Hey Johnny)’

john lennon and elton john

 

I don’t know as much about John and Elton John’s friendship as I do the relationships within The Beatles, but I — like most hardcore Lennonites — know the story of the 1974 Madison Square concert. For those of you who don’t, here it is: Once upon a time John is recording ‘Whatever Gets You Through The Night’ with Elton (who features on harmony vocals and piano), and Elton tells John that the song will reach #1. John had not had a (solo) #1 yet, and didn’t believe it would, so the two make a bet — if the song is a Number One hit, John (who suffered from stage fright at the time) performs it with Elton at the latter’s upcoming concert in Madison. So the song reaches Number One in the US — his only #1 in his lifetime — and John, defeated, performs it onstage, along with ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ and Elton’s cover of ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’! It would be John’s last onstage appearance. He was going to tour the world in 1981. But that never happened. But I’m not going to brood today.

As for the song itself, all I really know about it is that Elton John does not perform it live as it “brings back too many painful memories” (I don’t blame him). I love it, and like just as much as Paul’s and George’s!

Queen’s ‘Life Is Real (Song For Lennon)’

 

Whilst — as far as I can see — John and the members of Queen never crossed paths (i.e. never met), this song is still a beautiful tribute to John. The piano is relatively Lennon-esque, and I particularly love Freddie Mercury’s vocals + Brian May’s guitar solo. After John died, Queen would also cover ‘Imagine’ in their concerts, and I believe they cited John/The Beatles as major influences on their work. I think it is just as beautiful as the ones John’s actual friends did, proving again that John was/is loved and sorely missed by nearly everyone in this world.

 

So there we go! What’s your favourite of the above? Do you know any other tributes for John? Please give me a buzz in the Comments below… I’m thinking of writing my own tribute for John at some point in the feature (I’ve got two songs of my own creation and some Beatles covers to do first), which I promise to upload here when it’s done.

So once again, happy birthday, Johnny! I love you. Good day sunshine! 🙂

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAUL McCARTNEY!!

The birthday boy in a cat costume!

The birthday boy in a cat costume!

 

As all Beatlemaniacs will know, it is Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE’s 72nd birthday, today! The electrifying riff on ‘Birthday’ is playing (I’m still making my way through the White Album…), George’s ‘What Is Life’ was just on the radio (yes, I know – wrong Beatle – but I’m still in a Beatle-y mood from it), and I was going to say I was really, really happy, but ‘Yer Blues’ has just come on, and the lyrics are slightly extremely depressing (not that I care – I love the song!), but not even those words are going to dampen my mood. Happy birthday, Paul!

Now, Paul may be my third-favourite Beatle, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love him (not as much as I love his song-writing partner, John), all the same! Though I prefer John’s (and in many cases, George’s – he’s my second-favourite) songs, there is no doubt that Paul was a truly one-of-a-kind songwriter with a very large amount of talent! I will say now that I dislike much of Paul’s solo/Wings career (DO NOT GET ME STARTED ON ‘SILLY LOVE SONGS’ – I hate that song…), but even I will admit that there were some very good songs, which I will post later. He was, however, a fantabulous songwriter within The Beatles, especially around the Help!/Rubber Soul/Revolver period (i.e. ‘For No One’, ‘The Night Before’, ‘I’m Looking Through You’, ‘Here, There and Everywhere’), though. My theory (and a lot of other people’s) is that he needed John (as a friend/competition/song-writing partner) to write such poignant, beautiful, experimental songs as he did in the ’60s; John has said that Paul is capable of writing beautiful lyrics (note ‘The Fool On The Hill’ and ‘Hey Jude’), but the latter was never really aware of it. I think such talents were more evident whilst he was a Beatle, ’cause John’s competition was more also more evident. The above is just my opinion – probably because I’m a very strong Lennon Lover – but I wonder if anyone else agrees? Regardless of what I just wrote, I think Paul was/is very, very cool (the song that has just started playing – ‘Helter Skelter’, which I love – is more proof) and that he was/is equally as talented.

I’m going to post some YouTube clips of my favourite – because I’m not generally a fan of Wings/solo Paul (as you may have already gathered, I’m a Plastic Ono Band type of gal), I’m going to include some of his Beatle compositions:

 

 

This is ‘For No One’, we’re talking about – it is too beautiful for words (excuse cliché), END OF STORY! (Yay; ‘Long Long Long’ – which is one of my favourite George Beatle songs – just came on! Sorry – completely random.)

 

 

I love ‘The Night Before’, almost (if not as much) as ‘For No One’ – I couldn’t find the proper clip from Help!, ’cause the song is all split up in the film (there should be a revolution on YouTube – guess the song (clue: it doesn’t involve a ‘9’)), but here are some parts of the film sequence, plus some bits from ‘I Need You’!

 

 

Now onto some Paul solo stuff – this is one of two of his solo songs that I really like (the other one will be below, though it’s fairly obvious if you know who my favourite Beatle is). It’s quite Beatle-y, which I probably why I like it so much. According to Mum (who shares my views on Wings), ‘Uncle Albert’ is quite a good song – must listen to it at some point. I don’t mind ‘Band On The Run’, either, but I don’t like it as much as above or below.

 

 

 

Okay – of course I love this song! In fact, I’m going to listen to it now (‘Savoy Truffle’, though it is fab, can wait). I mean, what Lennon Lover doesn’t?! It is just so sweet and heartfelt  – thank you, Paul! You can just feel how close he and John were, by listening to even just the first notes

 

Just a couple of other things (if I can see the screen – ‘Here Today’ always makes me tear up) – most people know that a few weeks ago, Paul was ill and had to cancel his Japanese dates. As far as I know, he is sort-of better now, but he has had to postpone all his concerts up until October, or something, so he can make a full recovery. Get well soon, Paul! When he’s better, maybe he can come and do some gigs in Australia – he hasn’t toured here since 1993 (before I was born), so maybe he will see that it’s time he came, again. I know for a fact that millions of people would go, including myself – and I’d make sure he’d come to Adelaide, all right! If he wasn’t going to come down South, I could do something similar to what Bob Francis did for him, John, George and Ringo-turn-Jimmie back in ’64 – wouldn’t that be cool?

But anyway, I wish you a beautiful birthday, Paul – thank you for the wonderful music you and John, George and Ringo made five decades ago! Good day sunshine, for now.

 

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A picture of a page in the paper, with a cute picture on it!