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The John Lennon song that David Bowie loved

David Bowie and John Lennon
Photos from Chalkie Davies and John Lennon's Facebook


The John Lennon song that David Bowie loved

David Bowie was born in 1947, seven years after The Beatles guitarist, songwriter and singer John Lennon. So he was just a teenager when the Fab Four started and changed the world completely in the early 60s. But Bowie was able to start his solo career in 1967, when he released his debut solo album.


In the early 70s, when The Beatles had already dissolved, Bowie became a superstar with the release of many classic albums that were a big part of the Glam Rock movement in England. So he not only sold millions of albums worldwide during that era, but he also had the chance to meet many of his heroes. One of them was John Lennon and they became really good friends.

Back in 1979, at the age of 32, Bowie was interviewed on the radio and revealed which were some of his favorite songs. One of the tracks chosen was from John Lennon’s solo career.

The John Lennon song that David Bowie loved

The John Lennon track that Bowie chose in the radio interview (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage) was “Remember”, from the self-titled debut album of John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band.

“I think this is a really despondent track, he left his band and he was doing his first solo album and I found it rivetingly depressing. So I really enjoyed playing it to myself. Very good piano, I think it’s Billy Preston, actually. Growing Up and being angry that’s what this one was all about,” David Bowie said.

That record was released in 1970, being co-produced by Lennon, Yoko Ono and Phil Spector. Although “Remember” is a fan favorite, it was overshadowed by bigger hits like “Mother”, “Working Class Hero” and “Isolation”. Besides Billy Preston, who was mentioned by Bowie, that record also had Ringo Starr on drums and Klaus Voorman on bass.

It performed really well, peaking at number 8 on the UK Albums chart and number 6 on the US Billboard Top LPs chart.

Bowie and Lennon worked together

By the time Bowie gave this radio interview praising Lennon’s track “Remember”, they had already worked together. Lennon co-wrote the track “Fame” with Bowie and the guitarist Carlos Alomar. The Beatle also played the acoustic guitar and provided the backing vocals to the song.

That track was featured on Bowie’s 1975 album “Young Americans”.  In an interview back in 1995 with MTV (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), Bowie recalled how he met John. “It’s really hard to remember when I actually met John. It must have been sort somewhere in middle 1974, my guess.”

“We kind started knocking around with each other, and he had his eye, I thought at the time gave which I thought was one of the better Lennon quotes I’ve said a number of times. But when I asked him what he thought (about) what I was doing, ‘Glam Rock’, he said ‘Yes, great sir. But it’s just Rock and Roll with lipstick on’.”

He continued:

“And I was impressed as I was virtually everything he said. He was probably one of the brightest, quickest, witted, earnestly socialist men I’ve ever met in my life. Socialist in true definition, not in a fabricated political sense. But a real humanist and a really spiteful sense of humor, which of course being English I adored. I just thought we’d be buddies forever and get on better and better and all that. So I know the Beatle that I always liked (laughs), everybody had their favorite Beatle.”

“I never really realized that, well I always knew that, but I wouldn’t have declared it in the early 70’s because that would have been the most uncool to actually say that you actually like The Beatles in any way, shape or form. But they’ve made such a great impact. They gave the British the illusion that they meant something again. We love hearing that, oh boy,” David Bowie said.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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