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  • John Lennon liked an Electric Light Orchestra song.
  • John revealed what he thought of the Electric Light Orchestra as a whole.
  • The song became a hit.
The Beatles' John Lennon wearing a jean jacket
The Beatles’ John Lennon | Ron Howard/Redferns

John Lennon revealed he had an affinity for one of the Electric Light Orchestra’s songs. In addition, he compared the song to one of The Beatles’ classic tunes. John also said the song sounded like a Marvin Gaye track.

What John Lennon thought of the Electric Lights Orchestra as a whole

According to the book Lennon on Lennon: Conversations with John Lennon, John was interviewed on a radio station in 1974. He chose some songs he wanted the station to play. “We’re going to play Electric Light Orchestra, from last year,” he said. “‘Showdown,” which I thought was a great record, and I was expecting it to be No. 1, but I don’t think UA [United Artists] got their fingers out and pushed it.” 

John revealed his feelings about the Electric Light Orchestra as a whole. “And it’s a nice group,” he opined. “I call them Son of Beatles, although they’re doing things that we never did, obviously.”

John Lennon compared the Electric Light Orchestra’s ‘Showdown’ to The Beatles’ ‘I Am the Walrus’ and a Marvin Gaye song

John discussed the Electric Light Orchestra’s relationship to The Beatles’ songs. “I remember the statement they made when they first formed was to carry on from where The Beatles left off with ‘[I Am the] Walrus,’ and they certainly did,” he said. 

John compared ‘Showdown” to some other songs. “Now, for those people who would like to know where licks and things come from, like I do, because I’m always nicking little things myself,” he said. “This is a beautiful combination of ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’ by Marvin Gaye and ‘[Lightnin’] Strikes’ … Lou Christie, and it’s a beautiful job with a little ‘Walrus’ underneath.”


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How the Electric Light Orchestra’s ‘Showdown’ performed in the United States and the United Kingdom

In the United States, “Showdown” became a minor hit. It reached No. 53 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 18 weeks. The Electric Light Orchestra released “Showdown” on the U.S. edition of the album On the Third Day. The album peaked at No. 52 on the Billboard 200, lasting 24 weeks on the chart. 

“Showdown” became far more prominent in the United Kingdom. According to The Official Charts Company, the song reached No. 12 there and stayed on the chart for 10 weeks. In the U.K., the Electric Light Orchestra released “Showdown” on the album ELO’s Greatest Hits. The album reached No. 7 there and remained on the chart for 18 weeks.

“Showdown” wasn’t one of the Electric Light Orchestra’s biggest hits — but it impressed a Beatle.