David Bowie on John Lennon

“It’s impossible for me to talk about popular music without mentioning probably my greatest mentor, John Lennon. I guess he defined for me, at any rate, how one could twist and turn the fabric of pop and imbue it with elements from other art forms, often producing something extremely beautiful, very powerful and imbued with strangeness. Also, uninvited, John would wax on endlessly about any topic under the sun and was over-endowed with opinions. I immediately felt empathy with that. Whenever the two of us got together it started to resemble Beavis and Butthead on “Crossfire.”

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The seductive thing about John was his sense of humor. Surrealistically enough, we were first introduced in about 1974 by Elizabeth Taylor. Miss Taylor had been trying to get me to make a movie with her. It involved going to Russia and wearing something red, gold and diaphanous. Not terribly encouraging, really. I can’t remember what it was called — it wasn’t On the Waterfront, anyway, I know that.

We were in LA, and one night she had a party to which both John and I had been invited. I think we were polite with each other, in that kind of older-younger way. Although there were only a few years between us, in rock and roll that’s a generation, you know? Oh boy, is it ever.

So John was sort of [in Liverpool accent] “Oh, here comes another new one.” And I was sort of, “It’s John Lennon! I don’t know what to say. Don’t mention the Beatles, you’ll look really stupid.”

And he said, “Hello, Dave.” And I said, “I’ve got everything you’ve made – except The Beatles.”

A couple of nights later we found ourselves backstage at The GRAMMYs where I had to present “the thing” to Aretha Franklin. Before the show I’d been telling John that I didn’t think America really got what I did, that I was misunderstood. Remember that I was in my 20s and out of my head.

So the big moment came and I ripped open the envelope and announced, “The winner is Aretha Franklin.” Aretha steps forward, and with not so much as a glance in my direction, snatches the trophy out of my hands and says, “Thank you everybody. I’m so happy I could even kiss David Bowie.” Which she didn’t! And she promptly spun around swanned off stage right. So I slunk off stage left.

And John bounds over and gives me a theatrical kiss and a hug and says “See, Dave. America loves ya.”

We pretty much got on like a house on fire after that.

He once famously described glam rock as just rock and roll with lipstick on. He was wrong of course, but it was very funny.

Towards the end of the 70s, a group of us went off to Hong Kong on a holiday and John was in, sort of, house-husband mode and wanted to show Sean the world. And during one of our expeditions on the back streets a kid comes running up to him and says, “Are you John Lennon?” And he said, “No but I wish I had his money.” Which I promptly stole for myself.

[imitating a fan] “Are you David Bowie?”
No, but I wish I had his money.

It’s brilliant. It was such a wonderful thing to say. The kid said, “Oh, sorry. Of course you aren’t,” and ran off. I thought, “This is the most effective device I’ve heard.”

I was back in New York a couple of months later in Soho, downtown, and a voice pipes up in my ear, “Are you David Bowie?” And I said, “No, but I wish I had his money.”
“You lying bastard. You wish you had my money.” It was John Lennon.”


From a speech David Bowie gave to the Berklee College of Music’s Class of 1999

[at 8.40 into the video, David would tell this story.]



Watch the trailer for new John Lennon graphic novel


John Lennon graphic novel

A new graphic novel based on John Lennon‘s time in New York is set to be released later this month.

Based on on the 2010 novel ‘Lennon’ by David Foeniknos, the graphic novel is described as “true biographical fiction” and imagines Lennon recounting his life to an unnamed therapist living in his building.

Throughout the process, a timeline of Lennon’s life is presented including his upbringing in Liverpool, his time with The Beatles, his relationship with Yoko Ono and his solo career.

Meanwhile, SiriusXM has announced a 24/7 Beatles radio station, set to begin airing on May 18. The broadcasting company claims that ‘The Beatles Channel’ is the first ever to be “all-things-Beatles, 24/7.”

The Beatles Channel won’t just play Beatles songs; it will feature guest DJ slots with well-known Beatles fans, quizzes, call-ins and special live recordings from the band.

The Beatles Channel won’t just play Beatles songs; it will feature guest DJ slots with well-known Beatles fans, quizzes, call-ins and special live recordings from the band.

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr seem impressed with the station. “I still remember the thrill of when we first heard our music on the radio, but I don’t think any of us would have imagined that we’d have our very own Beatles radio channel more than 50 years later,” McCartney said in a statement. “The SiriusXM channel will have it all, ‘8 Days a Week.’”

Ringo Starr added; “Now you can listen to the Beatles, ‘Any Time at All’. Peace and Love.”

Although SiriusXM works on a subscriber basis, Beatles fans will be able to listen to The Beatles channel for free preview listening until the end of May.
Read more at http://www.nme.com/news/music/john-lennon-graphic-novel-trailer-2064272#ZDvCIZTvjCbLq2EW.99