The John Lennon song that changed Mac Demarco’s life
Mac DeMarco is a modern-day cult icon; he’s undoubtedly one of the most influential artists of the last decades within alternative music thanks to his lo-fi bedroom sound that would go on to be replicated by thousands.
It’s impossible to look beyond his pioneering instinct. Another man who had that same tendency to go against the grain was the late John Lennon, a figure who played a crucial role in DeMarco’s musical upbringing, making him the maverick artist that he is today. DeMarco’s style correlates with material by The Beatles, but then again, which arsenal of songs doesn’t? The Canadian singer-songwriter has previously revealed that he doesn’t have a favourite member of the band. However, his adoration for one particular John Lennon song had a lasting impact on him, and his life would never be the same ever again.
“Honestly, my favourite Beatle changes all the time,” DeMarco said in an interview with NME when asked about his most favoured member of the Fab Four. “I probably listen to Paul’s solo records the most. He did the home recording thing on McCartney 2 and started making these crazy albums at his farm, and I love that. People give him flack like ‘What the hell is this song about!?’ and say the lyrics are gibberish, but I think the songs on Ram are beautiful.”
DeMarco added: “I guess when I want to get real and angry, I listen to John [Lennon]. If I want to be peaceful, I listen to George [Harrison]. Then I listen to Ringo [Starr] ‘s stuff if I want to go somewhere really weird. There’s a Beatle for every occasion of life.”
Speaking to The Guardian in 2015, DeMarco opened up about seven records that played a significant role in seven moments over his life. It’s safe to say that the music that the Canadian makes are somewhat unconventional and the first song that introduced him to the weird side of the musical landscape was John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’s gorgeous track, ‘Mother’.
The track is utterly heart-wrenching and is one of the most moving creations that the late musician ever concocted. The former Beatle lays himself emotionally bare and finally deals with the abandonment issues that scarred him from childhood. Lennon was inspired to revisit his childhood trauma after undergoing primal scream therapy with Arthur Janov, initially at his home at Tittenhurst Park and then at the Primal Institute, California, where he stayed for four months. The treatment helped Lennon finally come to terms with his mother’s death in 1958, which had been eating him up for over a decade and on ‘Mother’ he finally lets everything out.
DeMarco told the publication: “I went through a phase of liking all the classic rock stuff – the Beatles, the Kinks, Harry Nilsson. Then I got the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band album and I was like, whoa! I remember listening to this song in my room in the basement at home and thinking, holy crow, this is the raw shit! At that point – aged 15 or 16 – I was starting to play in bands a bit and meeting other kids who played instruments. They were really committed to music and I was like, sweet, I’m going to do this too.”
John Lennon’s legacy as one of the great remains even decades after his death, and his music is still living on, continuing to infect generation after generation who are overawed by his greatness. ‘Mother’ is one of the high-points from his post-Beatles career and a timeless classic, that has aged beyond gracefully.