Lenny Kravitz Listened to This John Lennon Album Over and Over Because Someone Said His Music Sounded Like It

Lenny Kravitz and John Lennon produced very different albums; however, Kravitz loved one of John’s albums so much he listened to it over and over for months. Interestingly, Kravitz was a fan of The Beatles but only learned of John’s solo material as an adult. Kravitz later helped a number of artists come together to cover a song John wrote.

John Lennon wearing blue
John Lennon | Ron Howard/Redferns

Lenny Kravitz learned something important about classic rock while making his 1st album

In 2010, Rolling Stone released a list of the greatest artists of all time. The Beatles were No. 1 on the list. John was No. 38 on the list, showing the magazine approved of both his solo work and his work with the Fab Four. Kravitz wrote a short essay for the list. In the essay, Kravitz explained what John’s music meant to him and how he was introduced to it.

“I loved The Beatles’ music growing up, but I didn’t become aware of John Lennon’s solo music until I was making my first album, Let Love Rule,” Kravitz recalled. “There was this guy who was going to manage me; when he heard the raw tapes of my early songs, like ‘Be,’ he said, ‘Have you ever heard John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band? Because your stuff sounds like him.'”

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How Lenny Kravitz reacted to the album ‘John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’

Kravitz had a strong reaction to the album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. “So I bought Plastic Ono Band, and I listened to it over and over for months,” Kravitz revealed. “It’s a monumental work of genius. I was blown away by how minimal it was, and how expressive it was. Lennon had just finished doing primal-scream therapy, and he was just unloading all this stuff, about his mother leaving him, about the Beatles and about who he was.”

Kravitz said the album inspired his own songwriting. “The attitude and emotion of that album are harder than any punk rock I’ve ever heard,” Kravitz said. The “American Woman” singer said he thought John’s post-Beatles songs might be even better than The Beatles’ songs.

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Lenny Kravitz arranged for many artists to cover a song John Lennon wrote

This was not the only connection between Kravitz and John. According to The New York Times, Kravitz brought a number of artists together to record a new version of “Give Peace a Chance” in response to the Persian Gulf crisis that led to the Gulf War. These artists included Cyndi Lauper, Iggy Pop, Randy Newman, Little Richard, Annie Lennox, Dave A. Stewart, Q-Tip, and others. 

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Kravitz did this with the blessing of Yoko Ono. Meanwhile, John’s son, Julian Lennon, wrote new lyrics for “Give Peace a Chance” that begged the United States not to go to war. While the new version of “Give Peace a Chance” didn’t achieve its goal, it proved that John had a huge impact on Kravitz.