He dreamt of world peace. He was an artist, poet and an outspoken voice of the hippie generation. He was an influential musician, a peace activist, an absent father and a devoted lover and husband. He abused alcohol and drugs, sneered at normality, yet took time off from his rock and roll career to raise his son. But most of all, he was a Beatle. He was and still is, John Winston Lennon.
Born in Liverpool on October 9, 1940, John Lennon was shot to death on December 8, 1980 by a fanatical fan. December 8, 2005 marks the 25th anniversary of this tragic and senseless loss.
There are many words to describe John Lennon. He was an unruly, stubborn and a disobedient, troubled youth. He failed at art school, yet swore to his aunt that “one of these days I’m going to be famous and you’ll be sorry”.
He called himself a leader, yet did some of his best work alone. He was an alleged wife beater, very outspoken, often putting out contoversial quotes to the media; either to make a point or just to be outlandish. But when he spoke, people listened.
He was a partner with his boyhood friend, Paul McCartney and together they left a musical writing partnership and a legacy that is unequalled to this day and may never be. The Beatles, with their producer George Martin, changed music in dramatic fashion; with studio techniques that had never been attempted.
They pioneered the concept album with “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, which the editors of Rolling Stone magazine list as the greatest rock album of the rock era.
He had the attention of our government with his anti-war protests and at one point was under FBI investigation. He sang of love and peace and living in harmony, with all people coming together as one. There are some who called him a genius. He could be nasty, resentful and mean-spirited. He fought his demons and it seems he was winning, until December 8, 1980.
We can only recall his career, from the beginning, until the end and who doesn’t know the story about the four lads from Liverpool. He was part of the group that changed rock and roll music history.
We can only wonder what John Lennon would be doing if he were alive today. How active would he be in promoting world peace? Would he still be creating wonderfully crafted rock and roll songs? All we can do is Imagine, and that is the shame of it all.