The Playlist Special: Top Artists Pick Their Personal Top 10

Lenny Kravitz: John Lennon

While cutting his debut album, Let Love Rule, Lenny Kravitz was told it sounded like John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band – an LP Kravitz hadn't yet heard. "I listened, and it blew my mind," says Kravitz, who quickly got up to speed on Lennon's post-Beatles work. "The thing that touched me was the brutal honesty. The recordings were raw and stripped down. They were so real."

  • 1.
    "Mother" | John Lennon, 1970

    That opening line – "Mother, you had me, but I never had you" – says it all. You can hear the pain he was holding in for all those years. There's a beauty in releasing it and expressing it to others.

  • 2.
    "Love" | John Lennon, 1970

    You have a man who had everything, and bottom line, it all comes down to love: "Love is real, real is love." A very simple song, but a complete statement.

  • 3.
    "God" | John Lennon, 1970

    It's funny – I do believe in God. But when the song is building and he sings, "I don't believe in Beatles," then it stops and he comes back soft with "I just believe in me – Yoko and me": That moment gives me chills.

  • 4.
    "Imagine" | John Lennon, 1971

    What can you say? It's the world anthem for peace. And as simple as it is, I've seen people try to sing it – the best singers in the world – and nobody can sing the damn song like John Lennon. It's all about feel and timing, and he had that.

  • 5.
    "Working Class Hero" | John Lennon, 1970

    It turns the regular man who busts his ass for his family into a hero, and I love that. You can put this on when people are chilling, and the room will just go silent.