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John Lennon's Jukebox

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I caught a brilliant documentary last night on PBS on the contents of John Lennon's jukebox and how the songs he listened to influenced many of his own compositions. We've extensively discussed Eric's influences both in Raspberries and a solo artist here on EricCarmen.com, but I haven't heard much along the same lines in regard to the Fab Four. Here's a direct quote from Lennon on the subject:

"In the early days, I would often write a melody, a lyric in my head to some other song because I can't write music. I would carry it around as somebody else's song and then change it when putting it down on paper, or down on tape -- consciously change it because I knew somebody's going to sue me or everybody's going to say 'what a rip off'..."

Included among the clips presented were interviews with people like Donovan and John Sebastian, who had records in Lennon's jukebox. Also discussed are pretty specific "song borrowing" references, like the guitar lick to singer/songwriter Billy Parker's "Watch Your Step" (which I had never heard before) that found it's way into the intro to "I Feel Fine."

Sebastian also demonstrated (with no hesitation, I might add) how the chord progression from "Heat Wave" became "Do You Belive In Magic." Composers finding inspiration in other compositions has been going on forever and it is a real refreshing thing to see such an honest presentation of the subject. It's quite a riveting documentary and I recommend all of you check it out!


PS: Here are the songs that were in Lennon's jukebox when he owned it in the 1960's. Each song is labeled in Lennon's hand on the front of the machine, which adds an aura of romance to the track list, for sure.

1. "In the Midnight Hour" - Wilson Pickett

2. "Rescue Me" - Fontella Bass

3. "Tracks of My Tears" - Smokey Robinson

4. "My Girl" - Otis Redding

5. "1, 2, 3" - Len Barry

6. "Hi Heel Sneakers" - Tommy Tucker

7. "Walk" - Jimmy McCracklin

8. "Gonna Send You Back to Georgia" - Timmy Shaw

9. "First I Look at the Purse" - The Contours

10. "New Orleans" - Gary "U.S." Bonds

11. "Watch Your Step" - Bobby Parker

12. "Daddy Rollin' Stone" - Derek Martin

13. "Short Fat Fannie" - Larry Williams

14. "Long Tall Sally" - Little Richard

15. "Money (That's What I Want)" - Barrett Strong

16. "Hey! Baby" - Bruce Channel

17. "Positively 4th Street" - Bob Dylan

18. "Daydream" - The Lovin' Spoonful

19. "Turquoise" - Donovan

20. "Slippin' and Slidin'" - Buddy Holly

21. "Be-Bop-A-Lula" - Gene Vincent

22. "No Particular Place to Go" - Chuck Berry

23. "Steppin' Out" - Paul Revere

24. "Do You Believe in Magic" - The Lovin' Spoonful

25. "Some Other Guy" - The Big Three

26. "Twist and Shout" - The Isley Brothers

27. "She Said "Yeah"" - Larry Williams

28. "Brown Eyed Handsome Man" - Buddy Holly

29. "Slippin' and Slidin'" - Little Richard

30. "Quarter to Three" - Gary "U.S." Bonds

31. "Ooh My Soul" - Little Richard

32. "Woman Love" - Gene Vincent

33. "Shop Around" - The Miracles

34. "Bring It on Home to Me" - The Animals

35. "If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody" - James Ray

36. "What's So Good About Goodbye" - The Miracles

37. "Bad Boy" - The Miracles

38. "Agent Double O Soul" - Edwin Starr

39. "I've Been Good to You" - The Miracles

40. "Oh I Apologize" - Barrett Strong

41. "Who's Lovin' You" - The Miracles

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Sounds cool, I'll have to check it out.

I remember reading somewhere that John had thought Rod Stewart lifted bits of The Beatles' "Don't Let Me Down" and "borrowed" them for use in his classic "Maggie May."

I would imagine that sort of thing happens all the time, either consciously or sub-consciously--witness the Nick Lowe tune "Stick it Where the Sun Don't Shine," which steals the main guitar riff from CCR's "Green River." I'm sure there are a zillion other examples.

Funny, because I was recently finishing up writing a tune called "Neglected," when I listened to the bridge section I had worked up. It was then that it hit me: this was the bridge section from Badfinger's "Baby Blue." No wonder I liked it so much!

Had to change it, though. Damn. haha

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Thank you Bernie. I am glad you made this analogy, as I completely understand this concept, and yes, there has been debate on the board about it.

We didn't arrive to the modern computer from nothing -- it progressed, starting with the abacus, and before.

Music is no different .... building blocks ... even the greatest take advantage of it ...

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Marv, I remember the specific quote from Lennon's Playboy interviews, when Lennon mentioned Rod singing "Maggie don't go" to the tune of "Don't Let Me Down."

Of course, perhaps Lennon may have been confused about the Rod Stewart songs- I hear he did a lot of drugs in the '60s. happy

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John you might have something there. The Playboy interviews were a few years before the release of Rod's "A Night On the Town" album (the album that had "Killing" on it), and closer to the time of "Maggie May", but I can't recall the "Maggie don't go.." lyric you're referring to. There is a similar lyric in "The Killing of Georgie."


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A couple of tunes here and there I've never heard of before, although I've heard the bulk of the rest.

No surprise to see Larry Williams music on it, especially with Lennon's love for his song "Dizzy Miss Lizzie".

Also no surprise seeing Bruce Channel on the list. In fact, one of his band members,Delbert

McClinton,who played harmonica on it, taught Lennon some quick harmonica lessons. McClinton became a local music legend in Texas later on....

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The Lennon list is not a surprise at all. Might be interesting to see/hear what's on "Eric's Jukebox."

Speaking of Delbert M., at the beginning of the 1980's, he had a pretty big hit, and one that our band used to enjoy doing, "Giving It Up For Your Love."


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