“Good rock ‘n’ roll”: The band John Lennon called “beautiful”

Not many people would dispute the beauty of The Beatles. As the Liverpudlian four-piece experimented with guitars and genre, they created some of the most gorgeous compositions of all time. From the twinkling plucks of ‘Here Comes the Sun’ to the peaceful and placating ‘Let It Be’, their huge discography has found its way into the hearts of countless listeners.

The Beatles may have infused their songwriting with beauty, but they also ensured that it still rocked. Amidst those intricate melodies and sentimental lyrics are moments of pure rock and roll. In the thumping ‘Come Together’ and the contorting ‘Twist and Shout’, they walk the line seamlessly, evoking delight and dance in equal measure.

As one-half of the band’s leading songwriting partnership, John Lennon was a driving force behind this songwriting style. He could create gorgeous melodies and tell personal stories through song, but he could also pen rocking riffs and striking words. From ‘Across the Universe’ to ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’, he penned some of the Beatles’ most well-known and well-loved work.

Lennon didn’t only appreciate beautiful rock and roll in his own work, though, he also looked for it in the output of his peers. During a 1970 interview called Lennon Remembers with Jann S. Wenner, the Beatle shared his thoughts on artists like Neil Young, James Taylor and Van Morrison. But he had some particularly nice words to say about American rockers, Credence Clearwater Revival/

“I like Creedence Clearwater [Revival],” Lennon stated, “They make beautiful Clearwater music – they make good rock ‘n’ roll music.” As the era of The Beatles drew to a close, Creedence Clearwater Revival were beginning to forge their own style of rock ‘n’ roll on the other side of the Atlantic.

Their music certainly was pure, good old rock and roll. ‘Fortunate Son’, one of their signature tracks, featured twanging guitars and gruff vocals, singing of star-spangled eyes and critiquing war. Over half a century after its first release, it still sounds just as rocking and rolling, remaining a staple in the genre.

But Lennon was correct, too, in suggesting that Creedence Clearwater Revival’s music also had an element of beauty to it. Beneath rockabilly strums and swinging vocals, tracks like ‘Bad Moon Rising’ have a real allure to them. As John Fogerty paints pictures of hurricanes a-blowing and rivers overflowing, it’s easy to find beauty in his lyrics and the instrumentation that surrounds them.

Like Lennon and his songwriting partner Paul McCartney, Fogerty is just a great, classic rock and roll songwriter. Creedence Clearwater Revival’s catalogue is evidence of that, filled to the brim with songs that will have you nodding along, struggling not to sing along. But their music goes above that, too, containing a certain kind of beauty.

Though The Beatles ventured further into experimental territory, playing with production and psychedelia, this kind of songwriting was at the heart of their music, too. When they weren’t blending genres and samples on tracks like ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, they were creating all-time great rock and roll numbers.

Alongside their innovation and influence, Beatlemania and a stroll down Abbey Road, their talent for creating beautiful rock and roll is what has kept them in our cultural consciousness for so long. With his appreciation for this kind of songwriting, it’s no surprise that Lennon loved Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Listen to ‘Bad Moon Rising’ by Creedence Clearwater Revival, the band John Lennon called “beautiful”, below.

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