Friday, December 08, 2006

Thinking of John Lennon

Allow me to digress from the usual politics and current events topics of this blog to acknowledge the anniversary of John Lennon’s death. I was only eleven in 1980 and watching Monday Night Football when Howard Cosell delivered the news. I had recently learned all the lyrics to the Beatles, Rubber Soul album and was especially moved by the lyrics to “In My Life.”

Personally I’ve never been a great believer in icons. Lennon himself delivers a stirring rebuke to the myth of icons with his classic composition “God” early in his solo career. Yet Lennon to me was different. Lennon was an artistic genius and international statesman.

His personal journey and evolution took place in a fishbowl. As a chauvinist from Liverpool, Lennon abused his first wife Cynthia. Under Yoko’s influence he became a feminist who sang, “women are the niggers of the world.” During Beatlemania, Lennon was an absentee father and detached from his first-born Julian. With his second born Sean, Lennon opted to jettison fame’s narcissism and dedicated himself solely to raising his son.

A tormented soul Lennon in his youth was violent and got in more than his share of scrapes. But in 1969 he wrote “Give Peace A Chance” and a timeless rallying cry for antiwar protesters was born. Four simple words that sent shivers down the cowardly spines of the Nixon Administration who wanted to deport him when Lennon moved to America.

By 1980, Lennon had confronted his inner demons, reconciled with his fame and established a fulfilling private life. He could jump in the studio, compose music and enjoy public adulation. And he could also retreat to his private world with Yoko and Sean. A bond was also developing with Lennon and his son Julian who had his own interest in music.

The champion of peace had found inner peace.

And a madman with a gun took it a way.

Lennon wrote “In My Life” in memory of his close friend Stuart Sutcliffe, an artist from Liverpool who died of a brain tumor. He was a young man paying tribute to a dear friend. It’s perhaps the most beautiful and poetic of Lennon’s songs and captures my feelings as I think of him now:

There are places I remember all my life,
Though some have changed,
Some forever, not for better,
Some have gone and some remain.

All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall.
Some are dead and some are living.
In my life I've loved them all.

But of all these friends and lovers,
There is no one compares with you,
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new.

Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before,
I know I'll often stop and think about them,
In my life I'll love you more.

Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before,
I know I'll often stop and think about them,
In my life I'll love you more.
In my life I'll love you more.
Crosspostings of the topic above were frontpaged on My Left Wing (Click Here) and European Tribune (Click Here). Nice to read that Lennon's memory remains so vibrant in the blogosphere.


Bill said...

Congrats on being frontpaged at My Left Wing. I'm glad to see your piece getting wide readership. I posted a comment with my thoughts about it over at BBD, where I'm also glad to host it.

Brings back some good and not so great memories....

It's also motivating me to go see "The US vs. John Lennon."

VTPOET said...

I thought your tribute to Lennon was beautifully done. It just breaks my heart that the man was shot. It breaks my heart that Mozart died (probably of food poisoning) at the age of 36. Maybe, someday, the history of humanity will be told through its creators -- its artists, poets and composers -- rather than through its generals and politicians.

Anonymous said...

Yes, definitely take a look at The U.S. vs. John Lennon and also The Revolutionary Artist.