Over the decades, John Lennon's songs have been covered by thousands of artists. Just think of all the people—from unknown Lithuanian bar bands to Lada Gaga—who have had a crack at "Imagine."
Today, the 75th anniversary of his birth on October 9, 1940, I'm paying tribute to Lennon by rounding up five of what I feel are the best performances of his solo songs by other artists.
You'll notice Paul Weller on this list; Weller, the former frontman of UK hitmakers the Jam, is a huge Lennon disciple who has covered several of his songs, usually as B-sides. And then there's Pearl Jam's live version of "Gimme Some Truth;" its only flaw is that it lacks anything even close to George Harrison's goosebump-inducing slide-guitar solo on the original 1971 Lennon version.
Video-wise, my favorite of the bunch is "How?" by Ozzy Osbourne, in which Ozzy hits the streets of New York City—old-school Lennon-style—en route to pay his respects to the man himself.
Enjoy these five covers—and power to the people!
How? (Originally from Imagine, 1971)
Gimme Some Truth (Originally from Imagine, 1971)
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
I Found Out (Originally from John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, 1970)
Instant Karma (Originally released as a single in early 1970)
Imagine (Originally from Imagine, 1971)
Damian Fanelli is the online managing editor at Guitar World. He eats food.