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When John Lennon Died
In the afternoon of December 9, 1980, I was sitting on the couch with my bowl of cereal and the soap opera I was watching was interrupted by the news about John Lennon's death the night before. My first thought was who was John Lennon? Then it dawned on me. You see I was 17 and I wasn't into the Beatles. But that very year John Lennon released the Double Fantasy album with a couple of songs that were becoming very popular and I started to really get into them. I didn't know much about John Lennon, or about his politics or beliefs, which I wouldn't have cared about anyway. But I heard something in those songs that made me smile and I invariably was delighted with my discovery of John Lennon. Especially the song Starting Over, because it sounded like a wish for a change in his life and a promise for a new tomorrow. I also like Watching the Wheels because it was so telling about his life with the Beatles and his life now.
John Lennon lived in the Dakota apartment building, a classy old brownstone building that was home to various movie and music stars and was also the building in which they filmed Rosemary's Baby, by Roman Polanski. John Lennon died as he was returning home from the studio with his wife Yoko Ono. Mark David Chapman, a psychopath who had been stalking him for awhile and actually had the audacity to ask for an autograph while he had plans to kill the singer, he shot John Lennon 5 times at point blank range which would make it almost impossible for anyone to have survived no matter how fast they got him to the hospital. John Lennon died in the most horrific and undignified way that night and the world changed just a bit.
I know I was old enough to have known all about the Beatles and should have known all their songs, but I didn't, it was the beginning of the 80s and a new wave of music was coming on the scene that I was digging too much to think about the fossils like the Beatles (remember Blondie?). But with these new songs John Lennon had me captivated and I had to know more about him, I had to know it all. I was voracious in getting information about the Beatles and listened to everything I could get my hands on. I was in love, not only with John Lennon but with the Beatles. And now this insane man in an instant took it all away from me and the rest of the world.
I have heard it said that John was the brains, Paul was the heart, George was the soul and Ringo was the drummer. Whatever the case may be, no one can take away the reality of what the Beatles were. They were a band that revolutionized music and forever will. They each had their own philosophies and beliefs and that is their business, I do not judge people by who they worship or what deity they believe in. I am Christian but not the kind that judges people, because as Christians we aren't supposed to, correct me if I'm wrong.I just think that there are those that misunderstood the Beatles, especially John. He was hated for his politics and his little faux pas about the Beatles being more popular than Jesus at the height of their popularity, and he was right as far as I am concerned. Teenagers of the 60s were on a downhill spiral to "anything goes land" and most of American teenagers and probably English teens as well would have rather been listening to the Beatles than sitting in church (in fact church going had declined so rapidly in Europe in the second half of the 20th century that many believed the place of religion would be reduced only to serve weddings and funerals). I know because church was boring to me when I was a teenager. I propose that the whole affair with John thinking he was above Jesus was a little exaggerated if you ask me, and people should stop judging John or any of the Beatles with whatever they may have said or done 30 years ago. I know I certainly wouldn't want to be judged for something I might have said 3 years ago much less 30.
John Lennon was about peace. His song Imagine is the anthem for hope, peace and love, and it's sad that some people find this song offensive or anything other than what it is. A song that describes a world without pain. Some take it as John putting himself above God or trying to be his own God because of his imaging what the world would be like without religion. I wonder that too myself sometimes, considering that so many people have died in the name of religion, and I think that is what John was trying to convey. Some people dissect every word from every song and his inquisitors, mostly ones claiming to be Christian so ready to judge when they should not. In case of Imagine, one of those people was Chapman.
I believe it would have been great to have such a person as John Lennon still around us because he had something to say and expressed it through his talent, his art that touched millions of people.