One of the biggest influences John Lennon has was songwriter Larry Williams, read on to find out more.

Born in 1935 Larry Williams was to become one of the best known song writers of the late 1950’s, penning songs that were to be later covered by some of the biggest names in the music business. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Animals, Little Richard, The Jam, Rush, New York Dolls and Showaddywaddy were just some of the big names that at some point in there career covered a song written by Larry Williams.

(Larry Williams: Image via Wikipedia)

John Lennon, of the Beatles, was certainly a big fan of the music of Larry Williams. During the Beatles career John Lennon took the lead vocals on Beatles cover versions of the Larry Williams penned songs Dizzy Miss Lizzy, Slow Down and Bad Boy.

Beatles – Dizzy Miss Lizzy

The Beatles included this cover of the Larry Williams penned song Dizzy Miss Lizzy as the closing track to their studio album Help!. The song has also been covered over the years by the New York Dolls, The Flying Lizards and The Saints.

Beatles – Slow Down

The Beatles recorded this cover of the Larry Willams penned song Slow Down as part of their Long Tall Sally EP in 1964.

Beatles – Bad Boy

Arguably one of the rarest Beatles tracks. That is to say it is one that not that many people have heard (Beatles fans apart of course). For me, this cover version of the Larry Williams penned song Bad Boy highlights everything that was good about the Beatles in their early days.

The apparent love of Larry Williams penned songs by John Lennon and the Beatles didn’t end there though. During rehearsals for the Let It Be album and documentary the Beatles ran through a version of a Larry Williams penned song called Short Fat Fannie. It has been widely available on Beatles bootlegs ever since and on listening to it you can see that the Beatles could have made it work.

Beatles – Short Fat Fannie

Fast forward to after the Beatles had broken up and John Lennon was still on a Larry Williams kick – as part of the Plastic Ono Band Lennon re-visited Dizzy Miss Lizzy – but moving on to 1975 and the release of the John Lennon album Rock ‘N’ Roll, another Larry Williams song was being sung by John Lennon.

John Lennon – Bony Morone

The Rock ‘N’ Roll album was very much a chance for John Lennon to throw off the shackles of having to write his own songs as it was an album complete of cover versions, so it was no surprise that John Lennon chose songs from people he admired. Bony Morone was the Larry Williams penned song that John Lennon chose for that album. As an aside John Lennon also sang a version of the song Just Because which was written by Lloyd Price – interestingly it was the same song that Larry Williams once released as a single himself!

As a postscript; Larry Williams was found dead in January 1980 having suffered a gun shot wound to the head, in what was attributed to as a suicide. In December of 1980 John Lennon died of gun shot wounds!


P.S. This article was originally published by the same author on Triond on the 25th of September 2011 and can be found by clicking HERE.