Watch David Bowie pay tribute to John Lennon and cover ‘Imagine’ in 1983
We’re digging into the Far Out Magazine vault to bring you a touching moment as David Bowie pays tribute to his friend, John Lennon.
You might well be aware of the love David Bowie and John Lennon shared before Lennon’s untimely passing in 1980. The two had written Bowie’s brilliant single ‘Fame’ together before he was tragically killed, but it seems clear that their friendship went beyond music.
No, these two guys aside from all the fame, the talent and the intrigue were mates—pure and simple. Fitting then that on December 8th, 1983, while Bowie was on the road with his ‘Serious Moonlight Tour’, he paid tribute to his friend and Beatle legend Lennon with a cover of his most inspiring song, ‘Imagine’.
In the clip, before he begins his rendition of that enigmatic track, Bowie shares a few candid moments that he and John enjoyed throughout their friendship. Firstly, Bowie shares John’s response to Bowie’s music, recalling: “What do you think of my kind of rock and roll?” to which Lennon replied: “It’s great, but it’s just rock and roll with lipstick on,” with a perfect impression, might we add.
Bowie goes on to share a few more moments with the crowd and the footage is worth watching purely to see humanity in Bowie’s candour with the audience. It’s a touching moment, in which Bowie connects with his audience. However, with that said, the cover is impeccable, impassioned and utterly irresistible.
Rumour has it that Bowie and Slick, being such good friends of John, decided they should pay tribute to their friend on the last night of the tour. Slick had suggested they cover ‘Across The Universe’, to which Bowie allegedly replied: “Well if we’re going to do it, we might as well do ‘Imagine’.”
We’re so glad they did because what follows in the video below is not only an icon taking on a cover of one of the most famous songs in the world but a tribute from one friend to another.