Thirty-one years ago today, the world lost an activist, a rock star, and one of the most prolific songwriters in music history—the great John Lennon.
It’s been a few decades since John Lennon’s death, but his influence and impact remain. From rock ‘n rollers to poets to artists, Lennon is often cited as their idol.
To honor John Lennon’s death, and celebrate his life and legend, here’s what celebs have to say about the icon.
Drew Barrymore: “Anything in life, whatever your question is for the universe, if you put on a John Lennon song, he will answer you. I think ‘Watching the Wheels’ is the song I love the most, because it is so true. I completely feel like that song.”
Ozzy Osbourne: “The world stopped for me when Sharon told me John Lennon had been shot in New York. I can’t even describe how I felt. If he was a politician, a soldier, anything else, it would be, ‘Oh yeah, well he is in that kind of business,’ but the amount of joy and hope that he gave people was just remarkable."
Steven Tyler: “I never got to meet John, but I always felt like I knew him anyway. The Beatles taught us to fly, and John taught us to freefall back to earth. All songwriters ever want to do is crawl inside other people’s souls and psyches, and somehow change everything. Jesus, what part of John or the Beatles did not get inside every one of us? If it wasn’t for John Lennon, we wouldn’t be here."
Tim Robbins: “Brilliant poetry, great rage, rock ‘n’ roll and a real strong voice. I think he’s introduced us into a lot of humor in song writing.”
Paul McCartney: “We all looked up to John. He was older and he was very much the leader; he was the quickest wit and the smartest and all that kind of thing.”
Frank Sinatra: “Lennon was a most talented man and above all, a gentle soul. John and his colleagues set a high standard by which contemporary music continues to be measured.”
Bob Dylan: “John and the Beatles were doing things nobody was doing. Their chords were outrageous, and their harmonies made it all valid.”
Sheryl Crow: “In the band that most influenced music and, moreover, culture, John represented the rock ‘n’ roll attitude of rebellion, dissatisfaction and social consciousness.”
Wyclef Jean: “Lennon was just a great songwriter. The simplicity with which he wrote songs … it’s something even a child can understand. But it’s not easy to write a simple song. And every one of Lennon’s songs had a dope hook.”
Keith Richards: “There were the Beatles, and there was John. As a band, they were a great unit. But John, he was his own man.”