Whether it was Elvis, Roy Orbison, Chuck Berry or Buddy Holly, music has always been bubbling in the blood of John Lennon. Ever the rebel, Lennon found comfort in the persistent non-conformity of rock ‘n’ roll and cherished it until his dying day.
The singer understood and the value music had for the everyday working-class kid and prized the art form of songwriting above all else. It was an ethos he took into his time with The Beatles and his solo career.
Such a concentration on music within his life, Lennon’s choice of favourite artists, was kept relatively close to his chest. It’s an especially curious detail given that Lennon was usually happy to say a few words about almost anything. But, on the subject of picking out artists, he would call his favourite, only the founding father of his inspiration are given the seal of approval. His contemporaries were largely left untouched by his gifted words. That didn’t mean that, like every music fan, Lennon didn’t have his favourite songs and artists.
Excluding Berry, Orbison, Presley and Holly, who else was a prominent pop star blaring out of the bespectacled Beatle’s speakers? According to the Express, there was one song that Lennon labelled his “all-time favourite”. The track was a rarely heard number titled ‘Angel Baby’ and originally recorded by Rosie and the Originals in 1960.
The song was originally scheduled to be a part of John Lennon’s iconic covers album Rock ‘n’ Roll, a record which is drenched in infamy for the singer. A contractual agreement, Lennon phoned in some of the covers while others he gave his utmost too. One song that probably landed in the latter category was ‘Angel Baby’, which Lennon provided a rendition for during the sessions.
Laying down the track on October 26th, 1973, as part of those now-notorious sessions during his Lost Weekend period, Lennon was clearly enamoured with the song’s original rendition. That’s because he didn’t see fit to include his cover on the album release despite the obvious quality.
It’s unknown why Lennon decided to remove the song from the release. The doo-wop number was clearly close to his heart. Speaking of the single years later, Lennon recalled: “This here is one of my all-time favourite songs.” Adding later: “Send my love to Rosie, wherever she may be.”
You can listen to John Lennon’s “all-time favourite” song ‘Angel Baby’ by Rosie and the Originals below.