The musician who amazed John Lennon

John Lennon

John Lennon wasn’t always the kind of person who was easily amazed. Actually, it was almost a premise of his artistry to be a bloody blasé bastard. Elvis Presley may have been a hero to him once, but as soon as he felt that his hip-snaking was becoming stilted, he turned away and began to demonstrate what real liberation in the 1960s looked like.

Even though he may have praised The Beach Boys and acknowledged Bob Dylan’s enormous influence on him, Lennon wasn’t exactly smitten with fellow artists in the cutthroat counterculture scene. But as he settled in, he couldn’t help but be in awe of the intelligence of one of his colleagues.

In the US, Paul McCartney had three number-one hits by 1974. George Harrison and Ringo Starr each had two. John Lennon was still at the top of the charts. You would love to claim that such a meaningless thing hardly made an impression. But, you are well aware that Lennon wanted to join the chart party because his ego was aching. Although his more experimental stylings may have contributed to his lack of commercial success, it didn’t make him any less bitter about the lack of a hit song.

So when the former Beatle arrived in the studio to help Lennon with “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night” and made a wager that they would land that coveted number one spot, he was quick to shake hands on the deal. For his help on the song, Elton John demanded that the “Smart One” perform at his Thanksgiving 1974 Madison Square Garden show if they were able to get it to the top of the charts. It’s possible that Lennon went to have his suit measured. Even before “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night” was released because he was so impressed with Elton.

“I was fiddling around one night and Elton John walked in with Tony King of Apple. You know, we’re all good friends. And the next minute Elton said, ‘Say, can I put a bit of piano on that’? John Lennon later recalled the song’s origins. I replied, “Yes, I love it.” He entered by zapping.

I had never seen him play, but I was astounded by his talent,” he recalled.

“A superb pianist and musician,” he continued. “The way he was able to add to and maintain the rhythm changes on such a loose track really surprised me. Especially since the beat doesn’t stay constant. He then joined me in song. We had a wonderful time. In addition, they achieved that number one, which paved the way for the Beatles’ historic final performance on stage.

Actually, a hit was natural due to their collision. Not easily forgotten, Elton played among the finest classical musicians of the day as a child, winning a junior scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music. However, by 1974, he also knew pop like the back of his hand. They proved to be an ideal combination, especially considering Lennon’s talent for making the difficult seem approachable.



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