The Bands, Musicians & Songs That Influenced The Rock Legend In 1980
For fans of John Lennon and The Beatles, there is a new book out that’s music to your ears.
It’s John Lennon: 1980 Playlist, written by music historian Tim English. The book provides a very detailed look at the music and bands of that era and how they inspired Lennon in the final years of his life.
After taking a break from the music world to help raise his and Yoko’s son, Sean, Lennon went back in the studio in 1980 “the year of John’s creative rebirth,” English writes. Lennon was influenced by a number of sounds including some that you may find quite surprising, such as disco and punk.
In the book, English provides a discography of Lennon’s final year, as well as the rock music of the late 1970s and in 1980. It’s a very interesting read to learn about all the bands Lennon liked, the music he listened to and how he felt about The Beatles music.
The book also provides a lot of information about Double Fantasy, the album Lennon and Yoko worked on from August to October 1980 at the Hit Factory in New York City. It was released in November, just three weeks before Lennon was gunned down in front of his apartment, called the Dakota. Lennon famously signed a copy of Double Fantasy for his assassin earlier in the evening of Dec. 8.
The best thing to do when reading John Lennon: 1980 Playlist, is to turn on your mental musical playlist and have YouTube handy to play the videos when you get reminded of a particular song or band. From Blondie to the B52 to David Bowie, Queen, Bruce Springsteen, the Doobie Brothers, New York City punk bands, trumpet player Herb Alpert and – to a small degree, even Olivia Newton-John – and many, many others, Lennon listened to a lot of music.
“I just love commercial music,” Lennon said about Newton-John’s Xanadu album, which is one of the many interesting things the reader learns about the true John Lennon.
Lennon also liked Donna Sommer and disco, which had its brief run in the late 70s but was fading out in 1980.
According to English, Lennon also began to enjoy sailing and liked listening to Christopher Cross and his song “Sailing.” He once spent a night in the Bahamas “getting high and listening to Bob Marley & The Whalers albums.” I found it interesting that there was no mention of the “Son Of A Son Of A Sailor,” Jimmy Buffett, whose songs about sailing and its associated lifestyle was becoming very popular in tropical locations.
What you get in the book is an inside look at the mind of Lennon and how much he truly loved music, both playing it and listening to it. The book points out that listening to all that music inspired Lennon to record Double Fantasy, which went on to win the Album of the Year at the 1981 Grammy Awards.
All of the insights and information makes John Lennon: 1980 Playlist a must-read of John Lennon fans, Beatles fans and really, any music fan in general.
People who are into music of the late-70s and early 80s will particularly enjoy this book whether or not they are Lennon or Beatles fans. The book is paperback and consists of 245 pages.
John Lennon: 1980 Playlist is available on Amazon, Barns & Noble and at other bookstores.
About The Author: Tim English has written several books on music and is a winner of the Independent Publisher’s Bonze Medal. He has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, HuffPost and been a guest on the Howard Stern show.