Why John Lennon Once Criticized The Who

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Music is full of surprises, and sometimes even the greatest artists have their candid opinions about each other’s work. Take, for instance, John Lennon’s criticism of The Who’s song “Daddy Rollin’ Stone.” But it’s not all negative – Lennon’s taste in music shines through as he reveals his preference for a different version of the song.

Lennon’s Displeasure with The Who’s Cover

In a revealing interview from 1974 featured in the book “Lennon on Lennon: Conversations With John Lennon,” the legendary John Lennon expressed his candid thoughts on The Who’s rendition of “Daddy Rollin’ Stone.” The song had a place in the music scene of Swinging London, particularly in the discotheque scene at the Ad Lib club, where Lennon and his peers gathered to dance, talk music, and let loose.

Lennon candidly noted:

“And one of the records we always played was in the Ad Lib itself, folks, with all of us sitting there, listening and dancing, looking super stoned, and the record was called ‘Daddy Rollin’ Stone’ by Derek Martin, which The Who later did a sort of version of, like the English usually do of these great records, not too good, that’s including us.”

Lennon’s Preference for American Records

Lennon’s opinion on The Who’s cover is rooted in his broader belief that English bands of that era often fell short when covering great American records. When asked if “Daddy Rollin’ Stone” was an American song,

Lennon affirmed:

 “Oh, yeah. Another great American record. That’s all we ever played, American records. There’s no such thing as English records, those days.”

The Original and The Who’s Version

“Daddy Rollin’ Stone” originally emerged as an American record, penned by the accomplished songwriter Otis Blackwell. Despite Lennon’s lack of enthusiasm for The Who’s rendition, the song’s journey on the charts is noteworthy. The Who released it as the B-side to “Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere” in the UK, and it peaked at No. 10 on the charts, remaining there for 12 weeks. The track was part of The Who’s album “The Ultimate Collection,” which reached No. 17 on the UK charts and stayed for 10 weeks.

However, in the United States, “Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere” did not make a splash on the Billboard Hot 100. “The Ultimate Collection” climbed to No. 31 on the Billboard 200, maintaining its presence on the chart for 11 weeks.

Lennon’s Musical Taste Shines Through

In this candid moment, Lennon’s perspective sheds light on his musical preferences and critical insights. While he might not have been fond of The Who’s cover of “Daddy Rollin’ Stone,” his appreciation for the original version by Derek Martin and his candid critique of music covers provide a glimpse into the complexity of music critique and appreciation in the eyes of a legendary artist.