LennonJphn caricature peace 1500

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

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).

1962
Love Me Do

1963
Please Please Me
From Me To You
She Loves You
I Want To Hold Your Hand

1964
Can’t Buy Me Love
A Hard Day’s Night
I Feel Fine

1965
Eight Days A Week
Ticket To Ride
Help
Yes­terday
Day Tripper
We Can Work It Out

1966
Nowhere Man
Pa­per­back Writer
Yellow Sub­ma­rine
Eleanor Rigby

1967
Penny Lane
Straw­berry Fields For­ever
All You Need Is Love
Hello Goodbye

1968
Lady Madonna
Hey Jude

1969
Get Back
The Ballad Of John And Yoko
Some­thing
Come To­gether

1970
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).

 


FOOTNOTES:

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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For Beatle fans, and fans of music from the six­ties in gen­eral, I highly rec­om­mend Ian Mc­Don­ald’s book “Rev­o­lu­tion In The Head”. Mr. Mc­Donald re­views and dis­cusses the recording of all of the Bea­tles’ songs.