Sunday, October 9, 2016

Honoring the Spirit of John Lennon on His Birthday

There is one anniversary today that I wanted to make note of in particular - John Lennon's birthday. He would have been 76 years old today.

Lennon was born in England during the heavy days of World War II, when a sense of doom and hopelessness prevailed. Hitler's Germany had taken over and occupied, with quick and alarming efficiency, Poland, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. He had strutted afterward, and acted like the war was, for all intents and purposes, over and done. Germany had won. Britain was the sole holdout, but they were all alone. Germany punished Britain with bombings, and Britain was able to withstand these attacks, and hold the Germans off. But it was during those darkest of days, as Hitler's Germany stood triumphant, that John Lennon entered the world.

He had a rough childhood, and was himself a reflection of this. he was a tough kid. He had joined the band, and was known for disruptive behavior. A rebel. Of  course, we all know the band that would gravitate to the Beatles that remain very well known and very well loved right to the present day.

Initially, it was Paul McCartney who seemed the most distinctive face and voice of the Beatles, and John Lennon was a bit jealous of just how easily the catchy and memorable Beatles songs that Paul wrote came to him. But Lennon developed his own considerable song writing skills, and he and McCartney, as well as George Harrison, began to feed off of one another's brilliance. That was part of what made the Beatles the Beatles.

John Lennon assumed leadership in the political realm with the Beatles. He grew bolder and bolder with his political expression, and came to be seen as a leader and a visionary. If anything, this increased after the breakup of the Beatles.

During his solo career, John Lennon continued to write and produce very influential and beautiful music, as well as to give a voice to what he saw as a better future, a world with greater possibilities than what we see all around us today. This vision inspired some of his most enduring works, and it is from this selection that I choose to honor him today, with the lyrics of one of my very favorite songs from him and, indeed, one of the signature songs in rock history, period. Here are the lyrics to what is likely his most iconic song (at least for his solo career), "Imagine":

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

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