John Lennon is rarely thought of as a session musician; nearly all of his work was within the context of The Beatles, with wife Yoko Ono and/or his own Plastic Ono Band. But between 1965 and his death in 1980, Lennon participated in several notable projects involving other artists.
The Silkie – “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” – A rare outside project during the Beatles’ heyday, this 1965 recording by Hull University folk-pop vocal group featured Lennon as producer, plus Paul McCartney on guitar and George Harrison on tambourine. The song made the Top 40 in the U.K. and USA.
Elton John – “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” – John joined his friend Elton John for a cover of the Beatles classic; it was a return favor for Elton’s duet with Lennon on the hit single “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night.” Late that year John guested onstage at Madison Square Garden, performing the song with Elton’s band; it would be his last concert appearance.
David Bowie – “Fame” – John Lennon rarely co-wrote with anyone outside of Paul McCartney (and later Yoko Ono). This hit track off Bowie’s Young Americans LPs is a brilliant and notable exception. Lennon also sang and played acoustic guitar on the recording.
Harry Nilsson – “Rock Around the Clock” – Recorded during John’s infamous “lost weekend” in Los Angeles, this Brandy Alexander-fueled reading of the Bill Haley classic was produced and arranged by Lennon.
Cheap Trick – “I’m Losing You” – The sessions for Double Fantasy included some of music’s top session players. But on at least one occasion, Rick Nielsen and Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick joined Lennon in the studio to cut a searing version of this song. The recording was shelved in favor of another take, but finally appeared on 1998’s John Lennon Anthology.
With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. After a stint as Editor-in-chief for a national music magazine, Bill launched Musoscribe in 2009, and has published new content every business day since then (and every single day since 2018). The 4000-plus interviews, essays, and reviews on Musoscribe reflect Bill's keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz, and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill's work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance (including monthly events Music to Your Ears and Music Movie Mondays), and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts. In Spring 2023 he is co-teaching a history of Rock 'n' Roll at UNC Asheville's College for Seniors. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues -- more than 30 to date -- and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's final album. His first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and in paperback in 2019. His second book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, is available now from HoZac Books. Read even more about him here.