The moment John Lennon was “more punk than anything the punks did”

John Lennon

It’s not a stretch to say that The Beatles were among the most influential proto-punk acts. “Of course, the gene is more powerful when traced back to The Stooges or The Velvet Underground. However, such bands did not ride through the late 1960s in blinkers.” Paul McCartney’s stomping White Album single ‘Helter Skelter‘ is generally considered an early source of harder music genres, but John Lennon likely had a greater impact in this area.

Aside from his darker, more confrontational work in songs like ‘Yer Blues‘, ‘Revolution‘, and ‘Mother‘, Lennon’s personality was a template for the ultimate punk. “Granted, the late Beatle did not deepthroat his microphone or rip his chest open like Iggy Pop. However, his hedonistic tendencies and anti-establishment outlook certainly fit the criteria.”

In 1966, Lennon stirred controversy, stating to Maureen Cleave, “We’re more popular than Jesus,” marking The Beatles’ first international uproar.” I’m not sure which will go first—rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity.” A small part of Lennon understood such a comment would cause a PR storm, but the majority of him didn’t care.

“Like Keith Richards to McCartney’s Mick Jagger, Lennon was skeptical of the British Royal Family. This attitude would later define British punks, owing to the Sex Pistols.” Queen Elizabeth II bestowed MBEs on The Beatles in 1965, as she was a fan of their early work.

On October 26th, the four members paid a visit to Buckingham Palace to collect their honors. Lennon had been apprehensive, but he listened to manager Brian Epstein’s prodding. “Although we didn’t believe in the Royal Family, you can’t help being impressed when you’re in the palace. When you know you’re standing in front of the Queen,” Lennon wrote in The Beatles: The Anthology. “It seemed like a dream. It was gorgeous. People were playing music, and I was looking at the ceiling, which wasn’t that horrible. It held historical significance. It was like being in a museum.”

On November 25th, 1969, John Lennon returned his MBE to the palace without consulting his bandmates. In a note, he said that it was a protest against the ongoing American war in Vietnam as well as Britain’s role in the Biafran struggle.

“Your Majesty, I am returning my MBE as a protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing. I am also protesting against our support of America in Vietnam, and against [my recent single] ‘Cold Turkey’ slipping down the charts,” he wrote in the letter. “With Love. “John Lennon of Bag.

Sean Ono Lennon spoke to George Stroumboulopoulos on his Apple Music Hits show about his father’s conduct. “Famously, the single didn’t do well and he hilariously wrote that letter to the Queen of England returning his MBE,” he continued. “It was a great issue to return the Member of the British Empire thingamajig that he had received. That was extremely disrespectful to the Queen.

I mean, it was pre-punk rock irreverent, and frankly, maybe more punk than anything the punks did, really,” he went on to say. “And he does it in such a humorous manner. “That’s what I enjoy.”

Although John Lydon would never admit it, The Beatles had a significant direct and indirect impact on the Sex Pistols during their peak popularity. Glen Matlock, the band’s co-founding bassist, was the most accepting of the Fab Four’s influence. “John Lennon’s vocal on ‘Twist and Shout’ is fantastic,” Matlock stated in a 2021 interview with the Big Issue. “It’s an authentic piece of rock & roll. “When I heard it, I thought I’d immediately start the Sex Pistols.”

In a show of appreciation, Lennon famously compared Sex Pistols to The Beatles before they became famous. “To me, initially on impact, seeing all that stuff was like, ‘Oh, that’s how we used to behave at the Cavern [Club] before Brian [Epstein] told us to stop throwing up and sleeping on stage and swearing,'” he remarked in an interview with the radio in 1980. “In Hamburg, I used to sleep on stage, we used to eat on stage, we used to swear on stage, we were absolutely au naturale.”

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