30 Years Since the Death of John Lennon
30 years John Lennon
It has been 30 years since the death of John Lennon. Being too young to witness Beatlemania, I can remember being only 5 years old and hearing my father (who was older than the baby boomers) saying “This man only stood for peace, and they shot him.” I remember being a child and his voice cracking as he turned to go upstairs. As an adult I can conclude he would have been rather upset about the death of John Lennon. John Lennon did not define my father’s “silent generation”, but still had an effect on the tough old school blue collar truck driver.
As I grew to a young adulthood I discovered all the wonderful music by the Beatles that was not played on the radio. I ventured onto John’s solo work and was captivated by his life. I watched the old news coverage on the death of John Lennon; saw the memorial services, the public reaction, and the outpour of collective grief. Even though I was a little child when John Lennon died, and not even born until the Beatles had been gone for five years, I got it. I understand the impact that Lennon’s music had on the collective conscience. I got the history lesson about his music being in the center of a cultural revolution. And I understood with the death of John Lennon, was also the death of any hope anyone still had in 1980 of a reunion with his band mates. Musical scholars many times have said that part of the magic of the Beatles lies in the fact that they did break up and never could get back together to either sell out, or become only a shell of their former selves as some other classic acts have. Although I know this to be true, it doesn’t make the reality any less sad. Even if the Beatles were never meant to live outside the 60’s, the optimism and insight in John Lennon’s solo work is something to be missed today.
When I listen to some of the songs on his Double Fantasy album, and think of his fate, it brings tears to my eyes. To jump back into the music scene with songs like “Watching the Wheels” and “(Just like) Starting Over” to have it cut short by a mad man is nothing less than tragic. And although I will never know how hard it was for the baby boomer generation to see their hero taken from them, I mourn for us younger fans that never got to walk in this world while his genius was still alive.