Thursday, 14 July 2011

Lennon: New York Years

In response to a piece on the NME website regarding the recent John Lennon TV programme 'Lennon: The New York Years' which argued the point that Lennon spent the 1970’s in a under achieving funk compared to his previous incarnation in The Beatles and in the 60’s as a decade. Well where do you start with something like that? First of all there are some points to be taken into considering when talking about John Lennon’s solo career such as:

•His solo career only lasted a grand total of 6 years. Between recording the much discussed ‘Rock N Roll’ album in 1975 and his final ‘Double Fantasy’ just before his assassination in 1980 he took a nearly 5 year break to raise his newborn son Sean. So looking at the albums as 6 years work suddenly ‘Plastic Ono Band’, ‘Imagine’, ‘Some Time In New York City’(definitely the weakest out of the bunch, no argument there), ‘Mind Games’, ‘Walls & Bridges’, ‘Rock N Roll’, ‘Double Fantasy’ starts to pile up as a wonderful achievement, not taken into account albums such as ‘Pussy Cats’ which he produced for Harry Nilsson and simply dismissing it as “acting a bellend” just misses the point by a long shot.

•Secondly NOBODY can match up to The Beatles as a group, especially 1 part of them, they were 4 after all. Match John Lennon against his contemporaries not himself when he was part of the most influential group of all time.

•Blaming Lennon for influencing The Charlatans is obviously a sly attempt at humour although it does keep being brought up as if this has any bearing on anything whatsoever. What’s next? Blame Led Zeppelin for all the shitty 80s heavy metal hair bands that appeared in their wake (although maybe this week we are all supposed to ironically love hair metal?)

•I can say honestly that I think ‘Whatever Gets You Thru the Night’ isn’t in my top 10 favourite Lennon solo songs by any stretch but for knocking it because it got to #1 in the charts just stinks of indie elitism, also the same for his contribution to ‘Fame’ with David Bowie...also #1 in the charts.. He was John Lennon after all, did you really expect him make a record that was destined to tank with a number 90 lead balloon in the billboard charts and only be available as a Japanese import only EP. He was a Beatle for Gods sake!

I will admit that whenever I see Lennon on the front of the many magazines available these days I am always filled with the 50/50 split of “what the hell is there left to talk about in regards to his career that hasn’t been dragged up and pinpointed already?” and the other part of me which thinks “wow, I hope there is a picture I haven’t seen before or a quote or two from other musicians about his music”, it’s the enduring appeal of Lennon that makes fans both casual and fanatic protective over his legacy and image and whenever some wet behind the ears indie kid looking to make a shallow name for himself starts knocking him to hopefully get a response*, you can only roll your eyes and realise its all for effect and that nobody is that stupid as to believe any of it. What’s next? Muhammad Ali was actually rubbish at boxing claims 17 year old media student on their I-phone updated blog. Whatever gets you through the night.

*=yes I’m fully aware that moaning that it’s all for effect in an attempt to get a response while actually responding is kinda walking straight into a trap but what the hell it’s nearly the weekend what’s a few more misjudgements?

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