What John Lennon Means To Me

In case you didn’t already know, NME have voted John Lennon the ultimate icon of the publication’s 60-year lifetime. The news prompted Yoko Ono to tweet:

John Lennon named as @NME’s Ultimate Icon. I’m so thrilled! I’m sure he’s thrilled, too – up there! Big kiss, yoko.

The current issue of the magazine is crammed with tributes to the great man. Here’s a selection of quotes from musicians and NME writers alike – simply mouse over the faces to reveal the words. We also asked our Twitter followers to tell us their favourite #lennonlyric. You’ll find a selection of those responses further down the page.

  • NME BlogsPaul McCartney
    “I was still 15 when I met John Lennon at a village fete in Woolton, in Liverpool. He was playing with a couple of fellows and I asked if I could join in. That’s how it started, really. I suppose we just went on from strength to strength.” Photo: PA
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  • NME BlogsRingo Starr
    “He had the biggest heart of any man I’ve met to this day. He was a giving, loving, caring human being. He was crazy as well some days, but the guy would give you his heart, and that was beautiful.” Photo: PA
  • NME BlogsGeorge Harrison
    “I miss how he wouldn’t take any shit… I want truth. John was good at that.” Photo: PA
  • NME BlogsBrett Anderson, Suede
    “You couldn’t not be a fan of his solo work if you have any interest in songwriting. I love ‘John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’, with ‘Mother’ on it, things like that, those songs are beautiful.” Photo: Andy Willsher/ NME
  • NME BlogsRou Reynolds, Enter Shikari
    “I think he’s been an inspiration to our band even though people probably wouldn’t realize it. Not just his music but his activism as well, and his outlook.” Photo: Tom Martin/ NME
  • NME BlogsFelix White, The Maccabees
    “It really takes something to be capable of being that honest in music – as he was on’John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’ – especially when you’re so famous, and I think that was the greatest thing about John Lennon.” Dean Chalkley/ NME
  • NME BlogsJustin Young, The Vaccines
    “They don’t really come much bigger than John Lennon, do they? He’s one half of the greatest songwriting team ever, an entertainer and an artist in equal measure.” Photo: Andy Willsher/ NME
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  • NME BlogsJake Bugg
    “I think John Lennon is an absolute genius and a one-off, one of the best songwriters if not THE best songwriter of the last century.” Photo: Emilie Bailey/ NME
  • NME BlogsLiam Gallagher
    “As a songwriter, I don’t think anyone’s touched Lennon and I don’t know if they ever will. Lee Mavers could have got near but he went down another road. Our kid’s good, but he lacks that fucking madness that Lennon had. He’s a normal chap who writes decent songs, and Mavers was too mad. But Lennon had all that and more. It’s a constant thing with him, and I don’t think I could ever get bored.” Photo: Andrew Whitton/ NME
  • NME BlogsMiles Kane
    “Obviously you have a lot of inspirations and reasons why you get into music and John Lennon is a main one for me. I’ve mentioned it loads but the song which got me into music is ‘Gimme Some Truth’ off ‘Imagine’. Photo: Andrew Whitton/ NME
  • NME BlogsNME’s Matt Wilkinson
    “From his cartoon doodlings, to his and Yoko’s Bag protests and ‘War Is Over! (If You Want It)’ posters, Lennon’s every move as an adult rock star seemed to positively revel in the role of ‘artistic-statement’.”
  • NME BlogsAlex Turner, Arctic Monkeys
    “I remember when I first started writing songs and writing lyrics, I really wanted to be able to write an ‘I Am The Walrus’-type song. You listen to that and it sounds like its all nonsense, but it’s really difficult to write that sort of thing and make it compelling, you know?” Photo: Dean Chalkley/ NME
  • NME BlogsSimon Neil, Biffy Clyro
    “He was the working class hero, the everyman, and a real provocateur. He made people question themselves, and he questioned religion on a mainstream level in a way that hadn’t been done before, which was brave. He was a special spirit.”
  • NME BlogsNME’s Dan Stubbs
    Lennon’s surrealism was tied into the sense of youth-driven freedom of the times. If 1960s parents didn’t worry that their kids were doing weird new drugs before, they did when they heard them playing ‘I Am The Walrus’.
  • NME BlogsNME’s Mark Beaumont
    “Lennon was the prime proponent of acid culture in music, making ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ sound like the mother of all come-ups, and lacing ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ with vibrant psychedelic images. He didn’t just expand his own perceptions, he unblocked the clogged perception centres of all music.”
  • NME BlogsPaul Weller
    “When it comes down to it, ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ is my all-time favourite. I can still remember it when I first heard it on the radio. It’s one of those tracks where you hear something new every time you hear it, because it’s got so many textures. It’s still unsurpassed.” Photo: Tom Oxley/ NME
  • NME BlogsPassion Pit
    “He’s quite possible one of the top ten best songwriters in rock history to ever grace this earth.”
  • NME BlogsMartha Wainright
    “The song ‘Mother’ is an incredible song and obviously the intensity that he would throw into those vocals, into those performances, into the lyrics and for someone who writes personal songs that’s a great example of one of the best personal songs ever written I think.” Photo: PA
  • NME BlogsJames McCartney
    “He would be one of my best friends but I think he was very complex, wasn’t he? Like a lot of great artists are.” Photo: PA
  • NME BlogsFelix Martin, Hot Chip
    “I used to have a double cassette version of his ‘Imagine’ compilation. I used to listen to it a lot and I used to have a funny kind of book from the 70s that was all these kind of pictures and weird sketches and drawings. I think he was just quite an eccentric English guy.”

Check out our awesome John Lennon song wall

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