For those who do not know John Lennon, here is a brief scenario (John Winston Lennon), October 09, 1940 – December 08, 1980. Born in Liverpool, England John was a member of the Beatles, a prolific songwriter, and also had a successful solo career. He was shot and killed as he entered his apartment building in New York City. He was 40. He was the first celebrity to be assassinated.
It is hard to believe that it has been 34 years since one of the beacons of light that shined upon our consciousness and our world was extinguished. John Lennon touched the lives of so many people with his music, his strong views about peace, and stopping war. He was willing to expose all parts of himself the good and the not so good. Yet, he always remained true to himself.
I was twelve years old when the Beatles came to America, and I was immediately drawn to the humor of John Lennon. He demonstrated his intelligence in any interview given. The music of the Beatles was magic at that time, and it certainly lit a fire under me that has not extinguished to this day. I was fortunate to see the Beatles perform live three times fortunately I was close to the stage the last time I saw them, and it was indescribable.
John was always the most outspoken, and, at one point in 1966, he was condemned in the United States because of stating that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. He was not saying that they were greater than Jesus but just that their popularity extended farther. It was the truth at that time. From then on he received death threats and was told that he would be assassinated during their 1966 United States tour. This is one of the main reasons the Beatles stopped performing live.
Fame was a great pressure on John, and he looked for other avenues to explore having conquered the world. He discovered LSD and used it to open up his creativity. From there he discovered meditation and went to India to practice and learn from a master. He met Yoko Ono, and they fell in love even though they were both married at the time. He felt Yoko was his soul mate, and they were together until the end of his life.
They started a movement for peace and love. He gained new world recognition for his peace movement and his views against all wars. He expressed his views through his music and many people paid attention. His goal was to have people get along and follow the path of love and peace. For a time John went into seclusion, but in 1980 he was making a comeback with a new album, the first in five years, and ready to get back into his many causes.
Unfortunately there was a man who was jealous of John’s fame and success and decided that he could obtain some fame by killing John Lennon. And on a cold December night he did the unthinkable.
I was driving in my car when I heard the announcement of his death on the radio; it was surreal. Was I having a nightmare? I kept changing the radio channels, and the news was the same that someone had murdered John in cold blood. How could John Lennon be killed so senselessly? The irony of his violent death shocked the world. This man, who had delivered so many messages of love and peace, had been taken out in such a violent manner; it was just unthinkable.
Rather than dwell on his murder I want to remember all that he did in his short 40 years. He definitely kept me aware of what was going on in the world through his music and his peaceful demonstrations. He gave a voice to the consciousness that so many were feeling and unable to find the words or ways to express it. John did.
This year holds so many memories of John because he would have turned 74 years old and 34 years since his death. Ironically he was killed on the birthday of Jim Morrison, singer, songwriter, and poet of The Doors, who if he would have lived would be 71 years old this year. So many brilliant men have gone, but their words and music live on.
Each year new people discover John Lennon for the first time. In Havana, Cuba, they have a wonderful bronze statue of John Lennon sitting casually on a park bench as though he is observing those who pass by. Recently a teenager asked me if I knew who John Lennon was. I just had to smile at that question.
Worldwide he is loved. His legacy will never be forgotten.