Although more of a Rolling Stones than a Beatles fan, Michael D Higgins was an admirer of John Lennon.

Labour party TD Michael D Higgins talks to Shay Healy about rock music and politics. Speaking on the eight anniversary of John Lennon's death, Michael D Higgins says it was the older version of the singer he admired. When the Rolling Stone and Beatles were at the height of their success, he was a Stones fan.

I like Jagger’s basic assault on everything, the sheer energy of it all.

Michael D was always aware of how different John Lennon was and by 1974 he was listening to his music again. This time there was a lot more going on with the lyrics and music,

I saw the subversive side of Lennon in terms of the mysticism, the Zen Buddhism, also the kind of outrageous celebration of love with Yoko Ono, which was wonderful in its own way.

Michael D Higgins believes in celebrating John Lennon’s life, and not dwelling only on his death. He admires him for the risks he took, and the fact that the music and the man changed constantly, which is evident in the later music,

The stuff is painful and personal, and in that sense I thought it more honest.

He believes there should be some action from musicians who seem to suddenly espouse a cause, and talk about it constantly.

I think it’s good that they have a social conscience, but it shouldn’t just stop at that.

This episode of ‘Nighthawks’ was broadcast on 8 December 1998. The reporter is Shay Healy.