John Lennon: A Day In The Life
In the end, Lennon spoke the truth, and this is why we loved him so dearly, and this is why we need more people like him in the public eye.
Phantom Cosmonaut sez:
John Lennon would have turned 70 October, 9th, 2010. It’s hard to believe that Lennon was taken from us so suddenly and so tragically almost 30 years ago on December, 8th 1980. Some 40 plus years later Lennon’s message remains timeless and universal, with his work with The Beatles as well as his solo career.
When Lennon sang “imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can,” he wasn’t preaching in a hypocritical way. Lennon was a dreamer; this was his vision of the world. Lennon was a complicated man, one who was insecure, kind and compassionate, on the other hand he could be cruel, biting and arrogant at the drop of a hat. It was these complexities that drove his creativity as a performer as well as singer/songwriter. If Paul McCartney was the heart of The Beatles, Lennon was the soul.
Listening to Lennon’s recorded output from the early Beatles singles such as “Love Me Do”, all the way to the end with his ode to Yoko, “Woman”, we are provided with a fascinating glimpse into the genius that was John Lennon. Lennon songs are raw, often first person accounts of his many struggles with fame, love and regret. We also are able to see the playful side of Lennon, the wonderful way that he was able to combine clever wordplay (“I am the Walrus”), his brilliant storytelling ability (“In My Life,” “ A Day in The Life”), and psychedelic wonder (“The Benefit of Mr. Kite”, “ Tomorrow Never Knows”). With an output as extensive as Lennon’s, we could fill up thousands and thousands of pages dedicated to just his recordings.
From a young age Lennon had experienced loss: the loss of his father whom continually was out at sea as a merchant seaman, a mother he felt didn’t want him and later died from a tragic car accident when Lennon was in his late teens, later during his early 20’s, the death of Stu Sutcliffe (the Beatles original bassist during the group’s day in Hamburg, Germany). It was these losses and abandonment that drove his creativity, his vulnerability, as well as his often outspoken and harmful tongue-lashings.
As Lennon grew older, he became more comfortable with his fame, and he would often been seen walking causally around New York City, with Yoko in tow; this type of disregard for his own fame would unfortunately prove to be his undoing in the end. The Beatles were always adamant that they were just a great little Rock ‘n’ Roll band that got lucky, they never seemed to give off an air of egotism, they genuinely seemed to really enjoy playing together, at least at the beginning.
When the group spilt during the late 60’s/early 70’s many fingers were pointed at Yoko, or at McCartney, for breaking up the group. The media was hungry for a scapegoat, yet they failed to realize that the union had run its natural course. At this point Lennon would begin his introspective first-person songwriting evident on albums such as John Lennon and Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, the former being inspired by Lennon’s time in primal therapy. He would use his powerful public image as a protester against the Vietnam War, as well as his plea for peace.
Lennon rarely played live during the 70’s, preferring to spend time focusing on Yoko, his newly born son Sean as well as enjoying the fruits of his labor. Lennon during the mid 70’s was living in New York City, a city which he enjoyed immensely. Ney York reminded him of his hometown Liverpool, England. Lennon’s recorded output continued throughout the 70’s with albums such as Sometime in New York, Mind Games, Walls and Bridges, and his rock ‘n’ roll tribute titled Rock ‘n’ Roll. Lennon was working on his final album Double Fantasy (which was rumored to be his comeback album and his return to live performance) during the final months before his death. Just like the opening song on Double Fantasy stated, Lennon was ultimately starting over, and sadly this was cut short.
Lennon’s songs have always spoken to me deep down in my soul, just as they speak to millions. Lennon put his life out in the open for us all to see, warts and all. He was courageous, thoughtful and passionate. He was a dreamer, a realist, a walrus, and philosopher. He had many contradictions. In the end, Lennon spoke the truth, and this is why we loved him so dearly, and this is why we need more people like him in the public eye.
Happy 70th Birthday, John. We still miss you.