the influence of the beatles vs the influence of john lennon *

Es­ti­mated reading time is 2 min­utes.

IN AN ATTEMPT to reach more po­ten­tial readers for my blogs, I have taken to an­swering ques­tions posed on Quora. While the ques­tions posed run the gamut of the ra­tio­nality spec­trum, most of the an­swers pro­vided by readers are in­tel­li­gent and ar­tic­u­late. It’s a good site that claims to have more than 190,000,000 monthly unique visitors!

So the ques­tion was, “Is there any Bea­tles song that has in­flu­enced the world as much as John Lennon’s song Imagine has done?” This is my an­swer, which is the text be­tween the two pic­ture sleeves (al­though I added the years of re­lease for this article):


Influence: Capitol picture sleeve for I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND single (1963).

Love Me Do

Please Please Me
From Me To You
She Loves You
I Want To Hold Your Hand

Can’t Buy Me Love
A Hard Day’s Night
I Feel Fine

Eight Days A Week
Ticket To Ride
Day Tripper
We Can Work It Out

Nowhere Man
Pa­per­back Writer
Yellow Submarine
Eleanor Rigby

Penny Lane
Straw­berry Fields Forever
All You Need Is Love
Hello Goodbye

Lady Madonna
Hey Jude

Get Back
The Ballad Of John And Yoko
Come Together

Let It Be
The Long And Winding Road

Some­body else can do the album tracks . . .


Influence: American Apple picture sleeve for THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD single (1970).

I can’t imagine that

I can’t image that there is a rea­son­able manner in which the “in­flu­ence” of any given song by any artist can be ob­jec­tively gauged or mea­sured, ergo a de­fin­i­tive ar­gu­ment be­tween the im­pact of Imagine versus a song like All You Need Is Love can’t re­ally be made.

But anyone who lived through the ’60s—perhaps here it would be better to say “The Sixties”—knows the al­most planet-wide im­pact that John Lennon, Paul Mc­Cartney, George Har­rison, and Ringo Starr had on Western cul­ture. (Music, art, hair, clothing, at­ti­tude, more.)

It was ar­guably greater than that of many fa­mous and no­to­ri­ously “great” mil­i­tary leaders and politi­cians, let alone any artist or en­ter­tainer. 1

John Lennon’s Imagine ac­tu­ally wasn’t that big of a hit when orig­i­nally re­leased in 1971: while it topped the charts in the US and Canada, it was “only” a Top 10 hit in most other mar­kets. 2

It has be­come an an­them of sorts since then, turning up in the un­like­liest of places. So its in­flu­ence in the past twenty years may be greater than its in­flu­ence was in its first twenty years.

We shall prob­ably never know. 3


Influence: caricature of John Lennon giving the peace sign by Arcouette.

FEATURED IMAGE: The bloody mar­velous car­i­ca­ture of Beat­le­john at the top of this page is the product of an artist who goes by the handle of Ar­cou­ette. Record col­lec­tors please note that the Amer­ican, Capitol-manufactured pic­ture sleeves for both I Want To Hold Your Hand (1963) and The Long And Winding Road (1970) pic­tured above are very dif­fi­cult to find in near mint (NM) con­di­tion. So be wary of sellers of­fering NM copies at pre­mium prices (and re­pro­duc­tions also exist).



1   Ex­cept Elvis. Of course. But that’s an­other story.

2   Oddly, Imagine wasn’t is­sued as a single in the UK in 1971.

3   Un­less the Tralfamado­rians have been keeping track of this stuff all along and de­cide to share with us some day. But I’m not holding my breath on that one . . .




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