127: John Lennon, “Invisible Guitarist”

December 4, 2017

Podcast, Podcasting

John once observed that, in his opinion, Paul was “…an egomaniac about everything else about himself, but his bass playing” – which was as influential as it was innovative. It is therefore a delicious irony to report the same was true of John: while he touted his status as an artist (not to mention “genius”) at every opportunity, he could be surprisingly reserved / conflicted about his own technical abilities on his chief instrument.

In this episode, I talk with musician/producer Ben Rowling, who breaks down John’s unsung contribution to The Beatles’ sound, as well as the impact he had on the rhythm guitarists that came after. With isolations and recreation, no one will ever again think of John’s instrumental Beatles work as “invisible.”
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    16 Responses to “127: John Lennon, “Invisible Guitarist””

    1. Rob W Says:

      Another great show. I am a guitarist who has been playing for 50 + years. John Lennon was NOT a primitive guitarist! He was fantastic, he just didn’t think and play like a guy who was restricted by training. He was a rocker. By the way I think John and George always meshed, that was a big part of the magic.
      I liked your guest but he said some incorrect terms ,that were a little confusing…for instance he stated that “Across the Universe” was in ” open D” but then correctly said it was played in standard 440 tuning in D . All told a great show.


    2. Ryan Says:

      Interesting episode!


    3. Michael Says:

      So glad you hit on “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, ’cause I was always transfixed with John’s tone on that song. This was the first song I ever heard by The Beatles and it literally stopped me dead in my tracks. I was never the same after hearing this! Between John’s tone, his incredible playing and the bass chords Paul plays during the middle eight, I had never heard anything like it. Not to mention Ringo’s amazing drumming! Still gives me chills to this days!


    4. Louis Pacifico Says:

      Love rhythm to And Your Bird Can Sing. Rings like a bell under that dual guitar.


    5. James Says:

      Would you say that John’s guitar work was similar to Ringo’s drumming insofar as he intuits and plays what the feel of the song requires rather than playing by rote or, in the other direction, veering into showinees?


      • Ben Rowling Says:

        Totally James. John and Ringo were very similar in their musical thinking as both jumped into things feet first and had a kind of telepathy.


    6. Paul T Says:

      Very enjoyable guys – thx a lot, and finishing with one of my top ten moments on a Beatles track, the superb solo on YCDT.


    7. Ben Rowling Says:

      Thx Paul.


    8. DavyR Says:

      Another very enjoyable “Really Big Shew”! Loved the isolate tracks’ selection and also Ben Rowling’s recordings. Thanks, Ben! I’m gonna listen to it all again!


    9. Rob B Says:

      John’s playing on All my Loving is incredible . I’m always amazed someone can play that rhythm …. And then to play it on the Ed Sullivan show ! 😎


      • Tony S. Says:

        I agree. I think the rhythm guitar makes the track. When I was young, I remember it was the first thing I noticed. It’s one of those things where you think anyone can play triplets, but who would have ever thought of playing them like that to begin with. I’m a big fan of late ’50s and early ’60s music and see no precedent for this.


    10. Jeremy B Says:

      Another fascinating SATB podcast, thanks guys. I love the way that even now there’s still so much to discover about the Beatles’ recordings. The isolations and Ben’s recreations were really illuminating and great to hear.


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