Saturday, December 08, 2007

John Lennon: Genius, Revolutionary, Surrealist...Hypocrite

Today is the anniversary of the murder of John Lennon, on December 8, 1980. I remember I was quite shocked and affected by it when I came home from school (I was in 6th grade or so) and heard the news from my mom, then from the constant television coverage. I had just finished a big school report on Lennon, so I was quite the little expert on the irreverent Liverpoolian. Or maybe I wrote the report after his death. Whatever, I was steeped in his mythos at an early age.

I always had a natural love for the Beatles, and regarded John's brilliant, acerbic, surrealist take on things a necessary counterpoint to Paul's dapper, whimsical outlook. Together their unique chemistry made the greatest songwriting team in rock and roll history. In their solo careers, after the break-up inspired by entropy, the insufferable Yoko, and many other factors, Paul was often overly sentimental, sappy, and irrelevant. John on his own was too often strident, self-righteous, and smug.

"Power to the people"? A little too overtly agit-prop from the man who a few years earlier had astutely sung: "If you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao/You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow." And how about "Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can." Something tells me John was not about to sign over the deed to his unit at the Dakota Apartments anytime soon.

And it's a damn shame, although par for the course, that one of the greatest artists of the 20th century was such a shitty father, at least to his son Julian ("Hey Jude..."). Watch the movie Pop and Me (1999), where the director, when traveling the world with his dad and interviewing fathers and sons about their relationship, encounters Julian at a poolside. Julian nails his famous father for abandoning him as a child, and for the hypocrisy of espousing his great message of peace and love in his music, while verbally abusing his own son in his early years.

For John at his best, see the You Tube videos below...spiritually prophetic, tender and affectioniate (towards his son Sean at least), beyond the wheels of Samsara just before a madman took his life in a senseless murder...

"Instant Karma"

"Watching the Wheels"

"Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)"

1 comment:

Mark P Sadler said...

That would be Liverpudlian