Remembering John Lennon: ‘Isolation’ Covers
As one half of the acclaimed Lennon/McCartney writing team with Paul McCartney, John Lennon helped create some of the most important songs in rock ‘n’ roll history. Along with George Harrison and Ringo Starr, the “Fab Four” forever altered the landscape of popular culture.
Lennon’s influence did not stop when The Beatles broke up, as evidenced by his impactful solo career that produced several outstanding albums made up of everlasting original songs. With his 1970 solo LP, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, Lennon immediately established himself outside of The Beatles, as truly one of the preeminent songwriters of his generation.
The album of songs written solely by John Lennon, contained such instant classics as “Working Class Hero,” “Hold On,” “I Found Out,” “Love,” “God” and others. John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band featured contributions from bassist Klaus Voormann and Ringo Starr on drums, as well as Lennon’s wife Yoko Ono who was credited with “wind” and co-produced with Lennon and Phil Spector. Additional keyboards were provided by Billy Preston “God” and Spector on “Love.”
The last song on Side-A of John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band was the stark “Isolation.” Written about his relationship with Ono, the lyrics describe living under the scrutiny of fame. One of the verses interpolates part of Barrett Strong’s song “Oh I Apologize.”
In 2020, 50 years after the release of “Isolation,” Lennon’s song took on a different significance for many listeners dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and isolation caused by social distancing and lockdowns. Back in October, on what would have been John Lennon’s 80th birthday, his and Yoko Ono’s son Sean Ono Lennon (who shares a birthday with his dad) covered “Isolation” in honor of his father.
Sean’s tribute leads off a series of “Isolation” covers recorded over the years including those by Harry Nilsson, Joe Cocker, Ty Segall, Dirty Projectors, Snow Patrol and Heart’s Ann Wilson as well as live performances by Spoon and Daniel Johnston. Scroll on to listen to the different renditions of “Isolation” presented below: