Forty-fourth installment in a series exploring very important people in my life.
Let me start explaining how this will work: I listed 65 idols of mine. Every Friday (with the exception of those reserved for the Rock Chain posts) I’ll draw one of the names (following a system that it’s really not important to be explained here) and talk about it.
Therefore, the order in which the names will appear doesn’t necessarily shows where they rank in my preference.
As a final introductory note, this is also not a biography article. I’ll just write how I feel about people represented in it, their talent and their importance in my life.
In the history of all kinds of art, you have cases of artists that couldn’t cope with the fame that was thrown at them for various reasons and struggled to find peace inside that whirlwind that involved them. And that’s the case with John Lennon.
Before I go any further talking about John’s life, work, brilliance and icon status let’s get one thing clear: Everybody that knows me knows that I’m a Paul man. I think he’s a much better musician and artist and bigger genius. Therefore, I like him much more. However, to not acknowledge John’s talent and importance would be idiotic. And I’m a lot of things, but I’m no idiot.
John Winston Lennon was born in Liverpool, 09 August 1940. His mother was Julia and his father was Alfred who was a merchant seaman and it was always away from home. His aunt Mimi thought her sister wasn’t good enough to raise a child and was granted the right to look after John by the Liverpool’s Social Services. This estrangement from his mother and her tragic death while he was still a teenager would haunt John for the rest of his life.
He grew up an insecure and violent boy, but when he was allowed to have the company of his mom again for a few hours, he got better. John’s life was transformed the day he saw Elvis in the movies. He decided to have a Rock group and his mother taught him his first chords on the banjo.
He is reported to have said to his mom: “Why God didn’t’ make me like Elvis?” to which his mother responded: “Because he made you to be John Lennon”. And how right she was. As soon as he met Paul McCartney and invited him to join his band (at the time The Quarrymen), there was no stopping him.
After some changes in the name, they settled with The Beatles and the rest is world history. Yes, because a lot of bands changed music, but only one changed the world.
With The Beatles, especially on their first albums, John shone like the real star that he was. His interpretation on underrated songs like “Anna (Go to Him)”, “Please Mr.Postman”, “I’ll Cry Instead” and “I’m a Loser” are flabbergasting to say the least.
When his songwriting skills grew, he managed to “out-Dylan” Dylan in “You’ve got to Hide Your Love Away”, have one of the most memorable double-entendre of all time in “Norwegian Wood” (did he set fire to the whole apartment or just some logs in the fireplace?), describe precisely how pissed off you get when somebody wanna wake you up in “I’m Only Sleeping”, create two anthems for the swinging London and the flower-power generation in “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “All You Need is Love”, be poignantly autobiographical in “Strawberry Fields Forever”, even write a happy and nice song about his relationship with that boring Yoko (I know it was not her fault, but she was boring nonetheless) in “The Ballad of John and Yoko”, be extremely sensitive with “Across the Universe” and write a last hit on their swansong in “Come Together”.
Of course these are only a few examples of his vast and amazing catalog with The Beatles (I would need at least three posts to talk about it all) which should be enough to make anyone iconic. But his diligent work towards world peace is admirable and he had SOME great solo moments like “Jealous Guy”, “Beautiful Boy”, “(Just Like) Starting Over”, “Instant Karma” and of course, “Imagine”. I might not agree with everything he says in the song (I don’t think we can live without possessions and is pretty easy to write that in a giant apartment fronting Central Park in New York) but to deny its beauty would be ridiculous.
John’s life was sadly cut short in 08 December 1980, but his work will still influence billions for as long as the world exists.
Imagine there’s no Lennon? No way! Therefore, John, come together with other people to the Hall of Idols.
Be sure to check out my book “Straight And Lethal” winner of the NABE Pinnacle Awards 2014 Fall edition.
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