When you’ve been a part of a literal reem of incredible songs, then chances are you won’t like all of them. If you’re John Lennon and The Beatles, not only will that be true, but you will also have millions of fans slightly angry at you for saying so. But then again, Lennon was never afraid of a little backlash.
In a now-iconic interview with Rolling Stone back in 1970, John Lennon was still reeling from the disbandment of The Beatles and was clearly keen to make his feelings known. Not so much that the group had broken up but that it had done so when Paul McCartney had decided to. It was an issue that had always irked the bespectacled Beatle, largely because he had himself tried to leave the band quietly the year prior.
Lennon had realistically been out of the group for months when Macca made the announcement. Having been the principal founding member of the group, Lennon was a little hurt. It meant the following year, or so, he spent most of his time in interviews making sure The Beatles were under his foot in some capacity or another.
That’s not to say he didn’t share some sweet moments too. In the same interview, Lennon rattled off some of his favourite moments from the band’s brimming catalogue, much to the delight of Beatles fans. After avoiding a simple question from Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner on Lennon’s favourite song he ever wrote for The Beatles, he delivers a typically flagrant response. Lennon says.”I always liked ‘[I Am The] Walrus’, ‘Strawberry Fields’, ‘Help’, ‘In My Life’,” Wenner soon interjects, “Why ‘Help!’?” Lennon delivers a typically coloured response.
The singer and guitarist replied: “Because I meant it, it’s real. The lyric is as good now as it was then, it’s no different, you know. It makes me feel secure to know that I was that sensible or whatever- well, not sensible, but aware of myself. That’s with no acid, no nothing… well pot or whatever.”
Lennon clarifies his point, “It was just me singing “help” and I meant it, you know. I don’t like the recording that much, the song I like. We did it too fast to try and be commercial.”
Equally, the songs Lennon picks he that doesn’t like are done so because, to him, they appear phoney or unwarranted — needless puffs of pop rather than solid iron art. But one track, in particular, sticks out to him as the band’s worst. The song he mentioned, as reported by Metro, was the Rubber Soul track ‘Run For Your Life’. Lennon noted at the time: “I never liked ‘Run For Your Life’, because it was a song I just knocked off,” he revealed.
The track takes a line from Elvis Presley’s song ‘Baby Let’s Play House’, “I’d rather see you dead, little girl, than to be with another man”. The line refers to preferring to murdering a girlfriend than see her be unfaithful to him.
Lennon said,”‘It was inspired from—this is a very vague connection—from ‘Baby Let’s Play House’, there was a line on it, I used to like specific lines from songs, so I wrote it around that, but I didn’t think it was that important.” Considering the abusive undertones, it’s a track that most Beatles fans in the 21st century would rather see the back of.
Listen to ‘Run For Your Life’, John Lennon’s least favourite Beatles song, below.