John Lennon’s Son Tried to Get Him Into Queen’s Music — Here’s What Happened
The Beatles and Queen are two of the most famous classic rock bands of all time, however, they didn’t really cross paths. Once, John Lennon’s son, Julian, tried to get his father to listen to Queen. Here’s what happened — and a look at whether Queen outperformed The Beatles on the American charts.
What John Lennon’s song thought of Queen’s early work
John gave an interview to Spin in the spring of 1975. During the interview, he discussed Queen. To put things in context, Queen had only released three albums at that point: their self-titled album, Queen II, and Sheer Heart Attack.
Their most famous song at that point was likely the art-rock tune “Killer Queen.” They had not yet released “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Will Rock You,” “We Are the Champions,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” “Don’t Stop Me Now,” “The Show Must Go On,” or “Fat Bottomed Girls” or many of their other most iconic songs. Despite this, Julian was a fan.
The phone conversation John Lennon and his son had about Queen
John discussed his son’s eclectic musical taste. “He is a bright kid and he’s into music. I didn’t encourage him, but he’s already got a band in school…. He likes Barry White and he likes Gilbert O’ Sullivan. He likes Queen, though I haven’t heard them yet. He turns me on to music.”
John discussed how his son tried to get him to listen to Queen. “I call him and he says, ‘Have you heard Queen?’ and I say ‘No, what is it?’ I’ve heard of them. I’ve seen the guy … the one who looks like Hitler playing a piano … Sparks? I’ve seen Sparks on American TV. So I call him and say, ‘Have you seen Sparks? Hitler on the piano?’ and he says, ‘No. They are alright. But have you seen Queen?’ and I say ‘What’s Queen?’ and then he tells me. His age group is hipper to music… at 11, I was aware of music, but not too much.”
Which band was more popular?
This raises an interesting question: which band performed better on the American charts? The Beatles had a whopping 34 top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Of those singles, 20 reached No. 1 on the chart. On the other hand, Queen had four top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, two of which reached No. 1.
Which band inspired the more popular 2010s movie?
The Beatles clearly dominated the pop charts — but who dominated the silver screen? According to Box Office Mojo, the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody earned over $903 million against a budget of $52 million. It led to a trend of musicals centering around the lives and/or work of famous musicians, like Music, Rocketman, and Starman. On the other hand, Box Office Mojo reports the Beatles-themed jukebox musical Yesterday earned $153 million against a budget of $26 million. The Beatles and Queen were popular enough decades later to warrant movies — even if Julian couldn’t get his dad to listen to Queen.