Billy Idol’s Favorite John Lennon Songs

Punk rock’s target audience is generally the youth, where it subjects topics that may seem light but are heavy for teenagers to go through. The Sex Pistols were one of the first creators of the genre in England, and they faced bans and censorship from the government due to their anarchist lyrics, which was punk all about.

Being active in the punk rock scene for almost half a century, Billy Idol is known to be one of the pioneers and a significant figure in the genre’s development. Emerged in London, Idol started his career by being the lead singer of the band Generation X. The band parted ways in 1981, and Idol continued to spread his influence as a solo artist. In 1977, a young Idol spoke about his influences and musicians representing his rock and roll idea, including John Lennon.

Which John Lennon Songs Did Billy Idol Mention?

Billy Idol’s idea of rock and roll requires it not to be just about entertainment but also about whether the song speaks to him or not. He needs to be able to feel things when listening to a song, so the music should have emotions, even if it belongs to punk. According to Idol, emotion is a big part of rock music, and the Beatles’ John Lennon has two songs that achieved that.

He gave an example of the song ‘Gimme Some Truth,’ released in 1971, and ‘Women is the Nigger of the World,’ released in 1972, as songs that speak to him because they are subjecting two world problems. Even though their genre is not punk rock like Idol’s genre, they are rock and roll because it speaks to him. Since Lennon shed light on significant concerns of society with these songs, Idol wanted to mention them to prove his point.

About John Lennon’s songs, Idol said:

“I thought rock and roll was a little more than just entertaining people. I thought it’s basically really being honest about what you feel about things, what you’re doing. I don’t know if that’s the truth or not. But to me, that’s what rock and roll is about. When John Lennon sings, ‘All I Want is the Truth,’ and ‘Women is the Nigger of the World,’ it’s songs like that, that speak to me.”

You can watch the 1977 interview and listen to John Lennon’s songs below.