Was John a great musican??

Discussions related to John Lennon as Beatle and his solo career.

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Re: Was John a great musican??

Postby savillerowdie » Wed Aug 29, 2007 12:41 pm

Was he technically great? No! Only Paul on bass could be considered "technically" great, I think. Still, he and all of the Fabs could make a great noise, they had a great style.
John said as much himself. To paraphrase, "I'm not technically great, but give me a tuba and I'll get something good out of it." I think that sums up his musical talent quite nicely.

p.s - don't forget, they were all pretty much self taught musicians, without benefit of, say, Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts, so with that in mind, I'd say they're all pretty brilliant, including John.
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Re: Was John a great musican??

Postby dpantz » Wed Aug 29, 2007 4:50 pm

I agree that John was not a great musician. He was not the type of musician who'd just spontaneously pick up an acoustic guitar on the Dick Cavett show and sing a happy little tune. Lennon was a great creator of songs, and relied on others around him to get his larger than life epics like "Strawberry Fields" out of his head and onto tape. But when it came to straight forward rock and roll, he loved being the band leader.

What made him a great artist was that he was versatile and charismatic and had an ability to bring his persoanality and influences into the context of his music and art. He was a visonary more tahn a musicin...and as Van Morrison would say had a "Beautiful Vision"!!!

John was good enough just for rock and roll... on electric guitar, he could do a mean Chuck Berry, and George could do a mean Carl Perkins...John's talent and ability to be great was that he was also surrounded by great musicians who had the same passion and love for rock and roll and that fuelled his playing. Just listen to John when he jams with Clapton or even Frank Zappa...John's playing is out of this world. I feel that his great guitar playing was never captured well on his solo recordings, although Plastic Ono Band is pretty close.

Lennon never really gave himself enough credit for the great songs he could arrange in his mind, although maybe who knows how brilliant "Imagine" would have been if he were a better pianist???
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Re: Was John a great musican??

Postby sirARDIE » Wed Nov 28, 2007 9:59 am

I consider John as an average guitarist. But his playing in Julia is HIGHLY exceptional I should say. :salute
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Re: Was John a great musican??

Postby Genuine_Indian_Guru » Wed Nov 28, 2007 10:30 am

savillerowdie wrote:To paraphrase, "I'm not technically great, but give me a tuba and I'll get something good out of it." I think that sums up his musical talent quite nicely.

I love it!!!!!

Is that not what it's all about folks! :salute
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Re: Was John a great musican??

Postby cleptosid » Wed Nov 28, 2007 10:59 am

I don't think John was a "GREAT" musician but he had "GREAT" moments on some recordings.
Most songs he didn't sing on he did some really good work. Listen to the rhythm guitar on Till There Was You (Acoustic) and All My Loving back in the early days. Those are some pretty good chord arrangements to play. Others that come to mind are You can't do that, Hard Day's Night, I Feel Fine and you could go on for awhile. However I do believe that after the Pepper/Magical Mystery tour sessions his guitar playing suffered due to lack of rehearsing/playing. His piano/keyboards I do not believe ever suffered I feel that he was a much better pianist than a guitarist. John never gave much thought to polishing a product he was satisfied with a half hearted production rather than wait for a polished one. Instant Karma and Cold Turkey are the proofs in the pudding. They were both rushed and the songs lacked the depth they needed although Karma was a big hit due to it's extremely catchy melody. If you listen to his last recordings you see the difference between half assed work and professional work. Double fantasy is a masterpiece if you take away Yoko's crap on the LP. Imagine was a great album, the songs on it were haunting to say the least. POB I know many love it but I'm sorry I never gave this collection of Lennon songs a thumbs up. It was poorly recorded and John sounded like he was on heavy drugs whenever he picked up a guitar on that album. Mind Games, if I am not mistaken he didn't pick up a single instrument on the entire album all he did was sing. Please correct me if I am wrong on the mind games thing. Walls & Bridges he started to go back in the right direction with a more polished product than in the past. And I really like the songs on W&B. Rock n Roll was a complete waste of time I don't like any of it and If I listened to that album in it's entirety more than 4 times that would be a lot. It all depends what your tastes are I always preferred Paul's work to the other 3. Listen to Paul's songs and listen to John's from the white album on and you can see the two styles are so far away from each other that they conflict so severely that the breakup was inevitable. To sum it all up John was a great player on a great team. One should not try to judge their musical ability on how well or how difficult they played their instruments. Some difficult sounding guitar/bass riffs were actually easy to play and vice versa.
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Re: Was John a great musican??

Postby lampie1970 » Wed Nov 28, 2007 6:36 pm

i agree with most here that technically JL wasn't the greatest, but The Beatles sound came from ideas, and that he had a lot of. He might not be able to translate some of his ideas to a marketable product unlike Paul who always seemed to know exactly what he wanted and how to make it sound that way, he still had lots going on upstairs and sometimes succeeded and sometimes failed.

The way that I look at what i call the "after break-up dialogue" between John and Paul, is just that. "How do you sleep?" was john expressing himself the only way he knew how. Do i think he was laid to rest feeling that way? absolutely not. I have said uncharitable things about people just because I was feeling hurt at the moment, too. Do i still feel that way years later? no. i just have the benenfit of not having my feelings etched into a whole bunch of records for everybody to hear about for the rest of my life...Thank God!!

I think john was searching as we all do and I have respect for him as a musician and an artist and someone who was really trying and succeeding occasionally.

edit: and anyway, years later john was to say "How do you sleep?" was more about himself than Paul anyway:

"Despite the overtness of the attack, Lennon later claimed that the song was more about himself than McCartney, and certainly one or two lines, notably "jump when your momma tells you anything", sound as though they are directed more at Lennon's relationship with Yoko Ono than Paul's with Linda. And the song begins with the puzzling statement "So Sgt. Pepper took you by surprise", a sentiment which applies more to John than Paul, the latter having been the principal driving force behind creating the album."

from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_Do_You_Sleep
I love the sound of Paul screaming in the morning...
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Re: Was John a great musican??

Postby graecophilos88 » Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:07 pm

i think his playing is just okay. but it was enough for a rhythm guitarist.
but why i love him is his songwritinga nd his soulful singing and lyrics... he was such a talent.
paul had more and sometimes "better" melodies.

the guy you obiously dislikes John... John never said he was an angel. that's why "Imagine" is such a great non-hypocritical hymn!
he only aks us to IMAGINE. he doesn't say he/you/we or anyone DOES or even CAN do all teh things. just try to imagine...

if you listen to his demos... his piano-playing is not good. really, i don't want to hurt him oder peopel who love him (i do), but every student can do better.
but i giess he was taught the pianos by himselves?
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Re: Was John a great musican??

Postby mi » Wed Feb 20, 2008 4:41 pm

graecophilos88 wrote: that's why "Imagine" is such a great non-hypocritical hymn!
he only aks us to IMAGINE. he doesn't say he/you/we or anyone DOES or even CAN do all teh things. just try to imagine...

Never thought of it that way. "Imagine" does sound a bit like preaching to me. He does say - "I wonder if you can". To me it sounds like - "Hey, I can, but I wonder if you're as capable as I am...". I always felt that - hey, we all want the world to be better, then let's stop "imagining" and start acting, or, at least let's not preach others, especially while singing songs like "How Do You Sleep" in public... if you ask me, including this kind of poison in the same album with "Imagine" is kind of hypoctirical...
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Re: Was John a great musican??

Postby james1985 » Wed Feb 20, 2008 6:18 pm

He plays the twee lead guitar on Honey Pie - it's really understated but shows what a great melodic guitar ear he had. And his The End solos are really played with a lot of soul, he gets noises out of his guitar in a way Paul or George wouldn't. And didn't he and George play the And Your Bird...riff together? That's pretty tough
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Postby gfgb123 » Thu Feb 21, 2008 12:39 am

2 of 3 wrote:
Ebony and Ivory": "
Side by side on my piano, keyboard, Oh lords, why don't we

Now I'm wondering how much Ivory is on PETAPAUL's keyboards? :wink:

It's probably laminated, polished wood or plastic keys or a specially genetically engineered veggie tusks. You know how it is. Now if the piano keys react violently when in the presence of a rodent.... :D
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