Evening Standard, Hulton Archive LONDON (AP) - Miles and Jimi. Jimi and Miles.…
- Posted on Nov 13th 2010 1:30PM by Mike Ayers
Bonnie Biess, AOL
Lauper was on hand along with punk icon Patti Smith, singer-songwriter Aimee Mann, soul siren Bettye LaVette, blues maestros Taj Mahal and Keb Mo, Texas legend Alejandro Escovedo and rocker Jackson Browne -- all paying tribute to the late Beatle as a part of the 30th Annual John Lennon Tribute -- an event held each year in New York City.
Each singer tackled at least one Lennon-penned tune, with a few collaborations sprinkled in. Mann and Escovedo kickstarted the evening off with a soulful duet of Lennon's '#9 Dream' and Escovedo would later return by himself to deliver one of the night's standout performances with a reworked version of 'Help!' The song became something of a Texas-sounding murder ballad -- the pop punch of the original ditched for a dark, depressing sound that recontextualized the lyrics.
Other highlights included Mann's version of 'Jealous Guy' and Martin Sexton's bluesy version of 'Working Class Hero,' during which he coerced the crowd to contribute a bit of harmony toward the end.
Bonnie Biess, AOL
Patti Smith received one of the higher billings of the evening and for good reason: the distinct quiver in her voice yielded a haunting version of 'Strawberry Fields Forever,' as well as one of the more upbeat moments with her version of 'Oh Yoko.' "I look to Yoko ... in how to carry oneself as a widow," Smith remarked, in reference to her own late husband, MC5 guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith.
Also on hand were a handful of artists featured in the around-the-world music documentary 'Playing for Change,' who lent an African slant to a handful of tunes such as 'Instant Karma,' 'All You Need is Love' and 'Revolution.'
The timing for a 30th anniversary tribute certainly felt right, as there's been a bevy of interest in Lennon's legacy this year (2010 marks what would have been the artist's 70th birthday). So it was appropriate that Lauper and Jackson Browne chose to duet on 'A Day in the Life' -- a song that many consider to be the best Beatles song of all time. The sentiment conjured by the complex tune (Lennon's lyrical contribution was inspired by the untimely death of close friend and heir to the Guinness fortune Tara Browne) summed up the elegiac nature of the night.