In the colorful tapestry of rock and roll history, there are moments that stand out for their sheer audacity and unpredictability. One such incident occurred in the life of John Lennon, the legendary Beatle, when he found himself face-to-face with his childhood idol, Jerry Lee Lewis. What followed was a meeting that would be etched in the annals of music history, marked by adoration, embarrassment, and a touch of rock and roll madness.
A Thrilling Encounter: Lennon’s Idolatry and Lost Weekend
John Lennon, a man known for his critical stance on many musicians, had a few idols himself, and Jerry Lee Lewis was one of them. His admiration for Lewis dated back to his childhood, a time when the music of icons like Elvis, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis himself stirred his passion for rock and roll. During his ‘lost weekend,’ a period marked by separation from Yoko Ono, Lennon attended one of Lewis’ concerts. Despite his often argumentative and unpleasant demeanor due to excessive drinking, Lennon exhibited a different side of himself that night.
After the concert, Lennon’s friend, Elliot Mintz, took him backstage to meet Lewis. Overwhelmed by his idol’s presence, Lennon dropped to the ground and began kissing Lewis’ feet, a gesture that left Lewis, the seasoned musician, visibly ’embarrassed.’
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Lennon’s Chaotic Nights and Musical Inspirations
Lennon’s extravagant display of admiration might have surprised Lewis, but it wasn’t entirely out of character for the rock icon during his lost weekend. Known for his drunken escapades, Lennon often found himself in embarrassing situations after nights of revelry. His antics ranged from heckling performers to destructive behavior, often ending with heartfelt apologies the next day.
Jerry Lee Lewis was not just a fleeting idol for Lennon; he was a profound source of inspiration. Lennon’s early musical journey was heavily influenced by Lewis, and he even attempted to emulate his idol’s style. During a Beatles concert, while playing the organ on the song “I’m Down,” Lennon channeled his inner Lewis, a performance that left his bandmate George Harrison in fits of laughter.
Reflecting on his musical roots, Lennon once said,
“That’s the music that inspired me to play music… there is nothing conceptually better than rock and roll.”
For Lennon, Lewis represented the epitome of rock and roll excellence, a sentiment that drove him to pay an unconventional tribute to his idol.
Legacy of Admiration and Embarrassment
The incident where John Lennon kissed Jerry Lee Lewis’ feet remains a testament to the unbridled passion and admiration that defines the world of music. It’s a reminder that even the most iconic figures in the industry can be profoundly moved by their peers, blurring the lines between admiration and embarrassment.
In the end, Lennon’s antics, however eccentric, underscore the power of music to evoke genuine emotions, bridging the gap between idols and admirers. It’s a tale that continues to resonate, reminding us of the boundless influence of rock and roll and the lengths to which its devotees would go to express their reverence.