4 Musicians Who Didn’t Like John Lennon

John Lennon may be one of the biggest rock stars in history, but he’s also been unpopular with some. He has also left behind a legacy that ruffled more than a few feathers. Namely, there are a few musicians out there who didn’t exactly like the man behind “Imagine”. Let’s take a look at four musicians who didn’t really like John Lennon.

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1. Steely Dan

The early 1970s were a rough time. Jobs were lost, a lot of people were on welfare, and the general insecurity of the nation was at an all-time high. So, naturally, some people were annoyed to see Lennon and Yoko Ono preaching about how everyone just needs peace and love. And the members of the rising rock band Steely Dan were particularly annoyed.

The band wrote what could be said is one of the very first diss tracks, and it was directed at Lennon. The 1972 song “Only A Fool Would Say That” slammed the rich (which obviously included Lennon) for preaching love and peace while the average worker was struggling to stay alive.

2. Elvis

This beef is complicated, namely because all we know about it comes from the FBI. Yes, you read that right. The FBI had files on both Lennon and Elvis Presley. And Presley’s long-winded report noted the following:

“He [Presley] thought the Beatles had been a real force for anti-American spirit. […] He was also of the opinion that the Beatles laid the groundwork for many of the problems we are having with young people by their filthy unkempt appearances and suggestive music.”

3. Todd Rundgren

Paul McCartney famously said that the idea of The Beatles being anti-capitalist was untrue. Specifically, he said that he and Lennon would sit down to “write a swimming pool” because they knew a hit song would fill their pockets. When Lennon began to pen political tracks, the act seemed at odds with the desire to fill his pockets even more.

Pop-rock artist Todd Rundgren was not impressed.

“John Lennon ain’t no revolutionary,” he said in a 1978 interview. ”He’s a f***ing idiot, man. Shouting about revolution and acting like an ass. It just makes people feel comfortable. All he really wants to do is get attention for himself, and if revolution gets him that attention, he’ll get attention through revolution. Hitting a waitress in the Troubador. What kind of revolution is that?”

[Get Tickets To See Todd Rundgren Live In 2024]

4. Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell has famously beefed with everyone from Madonna to Bob Dylan. She and Lennon didn’t like each other, and she spoke about their first interaction with distaste.

“When I met John Lennon, it was during his lost year in LA, y’know,” said Mitchell in an interview. “[…] I know I’m going to get into hot water if I get into this but I have controversial opinions about him. […] I watched this [English film], which was a roundup of the best musicians of the 20th century. As soon as it hit my era, the intelligence of it dropped considerably. When it came to me, this guy folded his arms and crossed his feet and said, ‘I never liked Joni Mitchell, she’s too twee.’ Well, that’s what John Lennon was like. It was that fear working-class people have of middle-class people.”

You can’t win ‘em all.

Photo by Vinnie Zuffante

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