23 April 2013
There are a lot of negative stories about John all over the internet, but it seems that most people who actually met him found him to be a lovely person. I’ve read countless stories that describe him as both charismatic and down-to-earth at the same time. Here’s an example. It seems that a lot of people who met John in the ’70s had very similar experiences.
On the day in question, assistant editor David McGee was given a reprieve so that he could do an exclusive interview with Jackson Browne from the office, via telephone — his first interview with a major artist.
McGee, who had only recently been promoted from the RW mail room, recalls, “To study up, I brought to the office not only Jackson’s new album, Late for the Sky, which would be the focus of the interview, but his two previous albums, Jackson Browne and For Everyman. A pair of headphones was on the desk, and although I plugged them in while I played the albums, that didn’t stop the music from pouring out of the speakers. I had my back turned to the door and was hunched over the cover of the Jackson Browne album, listening to the haunting ‘Song for Adam,’ a requiem for Browne’s departed friend Adam Saylor, who apparently committed suicide in Bombay.
“It’s one of Browne’s greatest songs, as beautiful as it is mournful, and apart from its Biblical allusions it’s a touching testimony to the power of friendship. As I played the song for probably a third time, I became aware of a presence in the room; I knew I wasn’t alone anymore. Thinking it was probably someone from the office, I kept focused on the music, until finally I had to see why this presence wasn’t leaving.
“When I turned around I was face to face with John Lennon , who was standing alone in the doorway, listening to ‘Song for Adam,’ apparently as intently as I was. When it finished I took off the headphones, and John, who wasn’t introduced and obviously didn’t need to be, said, ‘That’s a great song. A really great song. The whole album’s like that, isn’t it?’ The latter wasn’t really a question; it was a rhetorical statement. And then, like that, I was in a spirited conversation with John about Jackson Browne, finally getting around to Late for the Sky, of which he had heard only the title track. ‘That one got under my skin,’ he said, and then John Lennon — John Lennon , mind you — added: ‘I wish I could write songs like that.’
“Talking to him was as easy as catching up with an old friend. No pretense, no attitude, no sense of entitlement on his part but exuding a real warmth engendered by a connection through our mutual awe at what a song can mean in a person’s life, and how it comes out of a person’s life.
“It’s now 2014, 40 years later, and during the ensuing years I have met any number of big-time musical artists, including some of the most important ones of our time. But there was something about John’s presence that was utterly different from any other artist’s — or even any other human being’s — that I’ve ever met. He simply seemed to be operating intellectually and spiritually on another plane, and yet at the same time was as regular a guy as you could imagine — through Jackson Browne’s song, he had no trouble connecting with a kid who was then only two years off the plains of Oklahoma and only a few months removed from running the mail room at Record World.
“All told, I had about 10 minutes alone with him in that room discussing Jackson’s work before May Pang (John’s significant other and a great friend to us RWers) emerged and escorted him away. I don’t know why he was in our office that day, and really don’t care. To date that is my only personal meeting with a Beatle. And if that’s the way it is from here on out, I’ll take it, because that moment was so electric for me.”
The story above came from this HuffPo blog post.
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12 November 2013
1 November 2013
He can have a sharp tounge and wasn’t the nicest father and husband but he realized is mistakes and tried to fix them later in life which is a lot better than a lot of people
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1 May 2011
John had a very tough outer shell for many years and could be very cutting in his comments however if you read about him from the people who really knew him he did have a very warm, loving personality. And as Anna said in his later years he mellowed out a lot – having a second chance as a father with Sean really helped John sort himself out as did getting away from being a musician (meaning having to write and record music as a career and play the game of a pop star).
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"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris)
18 April 2013
1 December 2009
Thanks for the story. Not surprised to discover that John liked Jackson Browne. (I don’t.) He really seemed to become a fan of that sort of 70s singer-songwriter – owned all of Billy Joel’s albums, for example.
GEORGE: In fact, The Detroit Sound. JOHN: In fact, yes. GEORGE: In fact, yeah. Tamla-Motown artists are our favorites. The Miracles. JOHN: We like Marvin Gaye. GEORGE: The Impressions, Marvin Gaye. PAUL & GEORGE: Mary Wells. GEORGE: The Exciters. RINGO: Chuck Jackson. JOHN: To name but eighty.