John Lennon Encouraged The Creation Of ‘Simpler Rock Songs,’ Glenn Tipton Explains

Recently speaking to Guitar Player, Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton revealed that John Lennon’s encouragement of ‘simpler rock songs’ had a significant impact on the band’s work. Tipton stated that visiting Lennon’s old home inspired them to take a different path in their creative direction.

The musician mentioned that when he and his bandmates were staying at John Lennon’s house, the experience of sitting in Lennon’s living room and seeing his white piano, the same one used in the ‘Imagine music video, was surreal. Lennon’s old home not only inspired the band’s creative impulses but also left a lasting impression on Tipton; this can be seen in Judas Priest’s 1980 song, ‘Living After Midnight.’

The creation of ‘Living After Midnight’ was a quick process, according to Tipton. He described the song as ‘fully formed from the outset,’ with the riff speaking for itself and the lyrics added later by the band’s frontman, Rob Halford.

The guitarist said:

“I think we realized that we were unafraid to write simpler songs that were, perhaps, much more direct. The way that we opened up ‘Living After Midnight’ – with a drum intro and then went straight into the chorus – I think that approach was really influential to a lot of the rock bands that came along later and were unafraid to be commercial.

Incidentally, I should mention that it was very surreal sitting in the living room with John Lennon’s white piano there — the one he played ‘Imagine’ on in the video for that song.”

About the songwriting process of the song, Tipton added:

“It was really a very simple riff that just worked. We finished the music before Rob worked on finishing the lyrics. We didn’t have a working title or anything other than the idea that Rob had come up with for the chorus.

I think the riff just spoke for itself, and like every great song that we ever wrote, it came together really fast. The best songs always do. It was almost fully formed from the outset. It didn’t evolve through any different approaches or stylistic changes; it was just born from nothing and worked immediately.”

‘Living After Midnight’ was a commercial success for Judas Priest. It was one of the band’s biggest hits, reaching the top 40 on the UK Singles Chart and helping to establish the band as one of the leading acts of the new wave of the British Heavy Metal movement.