Lennon remembered in tribute night

Updated: 2013-12-01 07:20

By Mike Peters (China Daily)

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Lennon remembered in tribute night

Visiting London Mayor Boris Johnson obliges the Beijing Beatles by taking a seat behind the drums for a short set. Provided to China Daily

"Picture yourself on a boat on a river / With tangerine trees and marmalade skies / Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly / A girl with kaleidoscope eyes."

Thirty-three years after John Lennon was gunned down by a deranged fan outside his New York City apartment, there is still wonder in the words he turned into music.

Lennon's Beatles were not the first modern Western musicians to break through in China. "The Carpenters and John Denver fared much better in the early days," says Australian musician Troy Reilly, whose Beijing Beatles band will join in a Lennon tribute concert on Dec 7. In the days of the "cultural revolution" (1966-76), Western music was considered a poisonous weed of the bourgeoise, Reilly says, but eventually pirated cassettes and later the Internet brought a late wave of Beatlemania to China.

Lennon remembered in tribute night

The anniversary tribute concert for Lennon at Mao Live House will feature four bands that will all perform Beatles songs, even though the majority of these bands' own original music is little influenced by the Fab Four.

The Beijing Beatles, made up of members from Britain and Australia, have established themselves on the local scene with their '60s sounds, signature mop-top haircuts and Beatlesque attire. They recently hammed it up in appearances with visiting London Mayor Boris Johnson, who obliged them by taking a seat behind the drums for a short set.

Other bands joining in the tribute concert, an annual event at Mao Live House for several years, include Zakka with its mixture of pop rock and British rock, Era Rebel (heralded as Delta blues from China) and the punk-revival outfit Next Door Band.