John Lennon was known for his behavior and even made some enemies on his way to stardom. The Beatles’ legend, John was, in many ways, an arrogant person. Despite all the commotion, John Lennon was one of the most influential and iconic figures of the 20th century.
He was also an activist and spoke about peace whenever he had time. Lennon was a fervent supporter of social justice and peace, and many of his songs dealt with these issues. The songs “Imagine,” “Give Peace a Chance,” and “Instant Karma” are among his best-known compositions. However, there were other things he was hated for. Lennon was never arrogant. He was misinterpreted most of the time, behind all his quick wit, there was a huge heart and a great enthusiasm for life.
Lennon had some underlying thoughts about many artists like him. And sometimes, he commented on stuff that could have been quite harsh. Over the years in his career, his cultural views changed as also his opinion of his peers. Here are some individuals, Lennon hated. Just to be sure, he didn’t hate any of them, Lennon just didn’t like how they represented themselves with their music.
Musicians John Lennon Didn’t Like
The first one on the list goes to his partner-in-crime Paul McCartney. Everyone knows Paul and Lennon’s complicated relationship. The relationship between John Lennon and Paul McCartney was complicated and tumultuous from the beginning when they were both members of The Beatles. Then, when the Beatles’ split in 1970, it became more complicated.
This all many became more mainstream after they started to attack one another through their songs. It was all in 1971 when McCartney was being blamed for the disbandment of the Beatles. Paul released his album ‘Ram’ in 1971 and the song ‘Too Many People’ was a direct attack on Lennon.
Lennon didn’t stay quiet and retaliated with the song ‘How Do You Sleep?’ which was really harsh. On top of that, George Harrison was also featured on guitar. With lyrics like “Jump when your momma tell you anything”, the song was quite an attack.
Despite having a complicated and frequently challenging relationship overall, it was evident that John Lennon and Paul McCartney still shared a close bond. Despite their differences, they were able to work together on a variety of projects and were friends right up until the end.
To be fair, Lennon was a devotee of Frank Zapp. While talking with Rolling Stone in 1971, he famously said Zappa was, “the only real genius in the rock field. I’d followed Zappa around for months, listening to him and trying to learn something from him.”
Lennon has also related to Frank Zappa. When he saw how critics failed to respect Frank, he compared himself with Zappa and said.
“Zappa’s there screaming ‘Look at me, I’m a genius, for fuck’s sake, what do I have to do to prove to you sons-of-bitches what I can do and who I am and don’t dare fuckin’ criticize my work like that! You don’t know anything about it!’ Fucking bullshit!”
“I know what Zappa is going through! And a half! I’m just coming out of it now, just fucking’ hell. I just have been in school again. I’ve had teachers ticking me off and marking my work. If nobody can recognize what I am then fuck ’em.”
However, he berated Zappa’s avant-garde music, which he considered challenging to understand. During the Rolling Stone interview, he even said, “It’s not music. It’s a lot of notes. It doesn’t hold together.” He also criticized Zappa’s way of life, particularly his use of marijuana.
Dylan was a big influence on John Lennon. Matter of fact, Paul and John shared their love of music, and Bob Dylan was one of the reasons for the formation of The Beatles. It’s quite surprising how his views changed over the years.
‘Rubber Soul’ was kind of influenced by Bob Dylan as The Beatles had adopted Bob Dylan’s elements on the album. Lennon really adored Bob Dylan but he criticized Bob Dylan with lyrics such as, “He wants to be a waiter for Christ”. It is also famously known that Lennon didn’t like Bob’s shift to electric music. He even called Dylan’s move a ‘sell out’. It was selfish but he believed that switching to electric music was a betrayal of the counterculture movement’s goals.
Blood, Sweat & Tears
While talking with Rolling Stone’s Jann S. Wenner, Lennon talked about how he doesn’t really listen to the top ten songs on the chart systems. He said, “Only when I’m recording or about to bring something out will I listen [to the Top Ten], Just before I record, I go buy a few albums to see what people are doing. Whether they have improved any, or whether anything happened. And nothing’s really happened.”
At the same time, he had quite a thing to say about Blood, Sweat & Tears and said, “I don’t like the Blood, Sweat & Tears shit. I think all that is bullshit. Rock ‘n’ roll is going like jazz, as far as I can see, and the bullshitters are going off into that excellentness which I never believed in and others going off.”
His distaste for violence extended to his opinions of the rock band Blood, Sweat & Tears. Lennon thought the term suggested the use of blood and force to attain a desired result, which he felt was too aggressive and militaristic.
When the interview Jann Wenner compared Lennon’s ‘Working Class Hero’ to the songs of Bob Dylan, Lennon snapped. He answered, “I never liked the fruity Judy Collins and [Joan] Baez and all of that stuff. So the only folk music I know is about miners up in Newcastle or Dylan. In that way, I would be influenced, but it doesn’t sound like Dylan to me. Does it sound like Dylan to you?”
Both Lennon and Joan were part of the same musical and social movements. When it came to his colleagues, Lennon was known for being competitive, and it appears that this conflict with Baez was only one example of this.