In an interview conducted just three days before his 1980 death, John Lennon issued a warning to Bruce Springsteen about the difficulties of criticism.
Speaking to Rolling Stone, Lennon opened up about the fickle nature of the music industry.
“I’ve been attacked many, many times . . . and right from the beginning: ‘From Me to You’ was “below-par Beatles,” don’t forget that,” he began.
He continued: “That was the review in the NME [New Musical Express]. Jesus Christ, I’m sorry. Maybe it wasn’t as good as ‘Please Please Me,’ I don’t know, but “below par”?”
“I’ll never forget that one. And you know how bad the reviews were of our Plastic Ono albums? They shredded us! “Self-indulgent, simplistic whining” – that was the main gist.”
Lennon went on to reveal that he was also acutely aware of the intense critique Mick Jagger had received.
“It’s not just me, take Mick, for instance,” he began.
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“Mick’s put out consistently good work for 20 years, and will they give him a break? Will they ever say, “Look at him, he’s number one, he’s 37 and he has a beautiful song, ‘Emotional Rescue,’ it’s up there”? I enjoyed it, a lot of people enjoyed it,” he said.
According to John Lennon, fans of Bruce Springsteen would ultimately “turn on him” once he began to get older.
He began: “God help Bruce Springsteen when they decide he’s no longer God. I haven’t seen him, but I’ve heard such good things about him. Right now his fans are happy. He’s told them about being drunk and chasing girls and cars and everything, and that’s about the level they enjoy. But when he gets down to facing his own success and growing older and having to produce it again and again, they’ll turn on him, and I hope he survives it.”
He continued: “All he has to do is look at me or at Mick. So it goes up and down, up and down – of course it does, but what are we, machines? What do they want from the guy? Do they want him to kill himself onstage? Do they want me and Yoko to fuck onstage or kill ourselves onstage?”
“But when they criticized ‘From Me to You’ as below-par Beatles, that’s when I first realized you’ve got to keep it up, there’s some sort of system where you get on the wheel and you’ve got to keep going around,” he concluded.