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Lennon declared the biggest icon of NME’s lifetime

By | Published on Wednesday 19 September 2012

John Lennon

The New Musical Express celebrated its 60th birthday earlier this year, and to celebrate the rather remarkable six decade milestone an exhibition opens today at the NEO Bankside building in London as part of the Merge Festival featuring NME covers from across the last 60 years. It runs to 6 Oct and admission is free. You should all go.

Though that’s not why we’ve gathered here today. No, we’re here to discuss the Ultimate NME Icon of the last 60 years, as voted for by readers of the magazine (sorry, “multiplatform music brand”). And that icon is Mr John Winston Lennon, which might be a bit predictable but hey, at least the NME massive didn’t pick Liam Gallagher or Alex Turner, who were also on the final shortlist.

With a special Lennon-conic edition of NME out this week, Mike Williams, editor of the mag (sorry, “multiplat-muze-rand”) told CMU: “No musician has ever meant as much to as many people as John Lennon, so it was no real surprise when the NME audience voted him the overwhelming winner of our poll to find the ultimate icon of NME’s lifetime”.

He continued: “To put it into context, to be crowned as the greatest hero of NME’s 60 year existence, Lennon was up against the likes of David Bowie, Kurt Cobain, Liam Gallagher, Patti Smith, Alex Turner, Keith Richards and Jimi Hendrix – all total legends in their own rights – yet there was only ever going to be one winner. So what makes him so special?”

Managing to get murdered before he got too old and embarrassing? No! Williams continues: “He’s the everyman genius who operated in a different dimension to everyone else. A visionary, rebel, surrealist, artist, lover and wit who touched the lives of everyone who encountered him with the brilliance of his song-writing and the fierceness of his beliefs. ‘It’s better to burn out like an old soldier than to burn out’, Lennon once famously said. There’s little chance of either of those things happening to him, as every generation falls in love with his music and image as hard as the last”.

Wonder who’ll top the list when the magazine (sorry, “multimund”) hits its 120th birthday.