Did John Lennon ever mention his thoughts on late-70s punk?
December 7, 2011 4:14 PM   Subscribe

Did John Lennon ever mention his thoughts on late-70s punk (the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, the Clash, etc)? Can you cite a source?
posted by radiosilents to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Not punk, but there's a huge Lennon nod to the B-52s referenced here that might lead to something else.
posted by quarterframer at 4:20 PM on December 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: from his final Rolling Stone interview:

"These critics with the illusions they've created about artists -- it's like idol worship. They only like people when they're on their way up. I cannot be on the way up again. What they want is dead heroes, like Sid Vicious and James Dean. I'm not interested in being a dead f***ing hero. . . so forget 'em, forget 'em. . . And God help Bruce Springsteen when they decide he's no longer God. They'll turn on him, and I hope he survives it."

"I cannot live up to other people's expectations of me, because they're illusory. Give peace a chance, not shoot people for peace. . . I only put out songs and answer questions. . . I cannot be 18 and a be a punk. . . I see the world through different eyes. I still believe in love, peace and understanding, as Elvis Costello says."

posted by markkraft at 4:40 PM on December 7, 2011 [4 favorites]

Best answer: From the Playboy interview:

"LENNON: Well, I like all music, depending on what time of day it is. I don't like styles of music or people per se. I can't say I enjoy the Pretenders, but I like their hit record. I enjoy the B-52s, because I heard them doing Yoko. It's great. If Yoko ever goes back to her old sound, they'll be saying, "Yeah, she's copying the B-52s."

ONO: We were doing a lot of the punk stuff a long time ago.

PLAYBOY: Lennon and Ono, the original punks.

ONO: You're right.

PLAYBOY: John, what's your opinion of the newer waves?

LENNON: I love all this punky stuff. It's pure. I'm not, however, crazy about the people who destroy themselves"
posted by chairmanroflmao at 4:58 PM on December 7, 2011 [5 favorites]

Best answer: He seems to have preferred New Wave? In 1979 he sent Ringo a postcard telling him that he should record a "great & simple" song like "Heart of Glass."

From that Rolling Stone interview mentioned above, wherein he has either rethought or makes less nuanced mention of the Pretenders:

"When I was in Bermuda, a guy that worked for me, Fred Seaman, turned me on to the B52s. He put it on a cassette but I wouldn't listen. And I wiped it out. But in Bermuda I said Fred, what was that stuff you gave me? Go and get it for me again. And he brought me Madness, the B52s, the Pretenders and I said this is great! I didn't want to listen then. Now I want to hear what's going on. So I dig it."

I'm thinking he just wasn't listening to much new music (by non-peers, anyway) during the years when he wasn't writing, i.e. during the Sex Pistols' entire career. It sounds like he relied somewhat on photographer Bob Gruen (according to Philip Norman) to keep him somewhat connected, and on his assistant to actually pick up the records.
posted by Adventurer at 5:13 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Mod note: folks, question is not what did punks think about John Lennon.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:05 PM on December 7, 2011

Yoko Ono is active on Twitter and Facebook where she often has "Ask me any question" sessions. She may have more memories that weren't in the interviews mentioned.
posted by cda at 2:50 AM on December 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

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