1 John Lennon Song Inspired Very Different Reactions from Bono and Bob Dylan

Through his work with The Beatles and his solo material, John Lennon’s songs have had a tremendous influence on other artists. For example, Bono said he’s been writing his own versions of one of John’s song for his whole life. On the other hand, Bob Dylan had a very different reaction to the track.

Bob Dylan playing songs at a piano
Bob Dylan | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Bono compared this John Lennon song to The Beatles’ ‘Let It Be’

For his 60th birthday, Bono made a list of his 60 favorite songs. In Rolling Stone, he wrote a fan letter to each artist he honored. He ranked John’s “Mother” No. 11 on his list, higher than any of the Beatles’ solo songs. As part of his list, he addressed a letter to John’s son, Julian Lennon.

“Dear Julian,

All the Beatles solo work has held me at one time or another,” he said. “I know you know these songs will be with us forever.” He went on to mention The Beatles’ “Let It Be,” which Paul McCartney wrote in tribute to his mother. Bono felt the song made it so that everyone could feel her presence.

“Let It Be”

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He compared “Let It Be” to John’s track “Mother.” “But on the mothers front, John Lennon really went there with ‘Mother’… and that must have hurt a long time before healing. If he’d have made it into his 40’s he’d have followed you around with pride the way you did him.”

Bono discussed how John Lennon’s song ‘Mother’ influenced him

Bono then discussed the track’s influence on his own music. “I’ve been writing a version of this song all my life… so many rock ’n’ rollers write from a place of abandonment to a place of abandonment… in hip hop it’s often the father but in rock it’s often enough the mother, even if the mother just passes away too early for adolescence to wear itself out, and so it continues,” he said. He signed his letter “Your fan and friend, Bono.”


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Bob Dylan’s very different take on the same John Lennon song

Interestingly, Bono’s fellow rock legend Bob Dylan had a very different reaction to the same song. During an interview with Spin, Dylan said “A lot of people have trouble with their parents up until they’re 50, 60, 70 years old. They can’t get off their parents.” He cited “Mother,” with its lyric “Mother, I had you but you never had me” as an example of that attitude. He said he couldn’t relate to John’s lyrics at all.

How the world reacted to John Lennon’s ‘Mother’

Bono and Dylan had very different reactions to “Mother.” This raises an interesting question: How did the world react to the song? “Mother” reached No. 43 on the Billboard Hot 100. While “Mother” wasn’t a huge hit, it influenced Bono — one of the most popular mainstream rock artists ever.

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