Imagine . . . a John Lennon impersonator in Hanoi. He is known as 'Tung John', has already played Back in the USSR at the Vietnam-Soviet Union Friendship Hall, and counts the song Happiness is a Warm Gun as one of his favourites. Thanh Tung, 23, is a biochemistry student at Hanoi University and is rapidly becoming a trailblazer for hundreds of his peers who find solace in the melancholy appeal of the late Beatle. They stand out among their conservative, nattily dressed friends, dressing down with Lennon T-shirts, round glasses and long hair. Tung is no exception. Backed with a four-piece band of professional musicians - all classical graduates of the Hanoi Conservatory of Music - he is now performing nightly in an expanding array of clubs in the capital. 'For many of us there is something very special about John Lennon . . . he was a simple, good man,' he says, his nasal reedy tones very much to the fore. 'I have always liked his songs, ever since I was a young boy . . . and I'm very lucky my voice is naturally like his. 'My English is not so good, but I have no trouble remembering his songs, there is something very different about them. You never forget.' Tung says he has never had the chance to read much about Lennon, but has picked up many stories along the way. He adds his weight to the endless Lennon versus Sir Paul McCartney debate, insisting his hero was far more talented. The band also covers Led Zeppelin and Rolling Stones numbers, songs reflecting childhoods spent in a Hanoi long deprived of modern Western music. 'If you were interested in music, there were always tapes and records around, often boot-legged in some way or another,' says manager and bassist Hoang Nguyen. 'Everyone likes classic rock here. Our equipment is still not up to date, so that makes the music from that era so much better for us.' The band is aiming to produce an album of its own songs while gradually developing its live stage act, possibly staging full-blown concerts in Ho Chi Minh City. Soon the band will register with the Government's Ministry of Culture and Information, which must ultimately approve all live performances and material. British artist Sting, for example, was banned from playing his hit song Russians during a recent concert. 'We are just a simple rock band so we don't expect problems,' says Nguyen. 'Everybody likes the Beatles.'