What can I say about the late, great John Lennon that hasn’t already been said numerous times? He was a brilliant musician, an Avant Garde poet, an outspoken, and sometimes, rebellious visionary, and most certainly, an icon. He was a husband, a father, a lover, and an idol. He was a million different things to a million different people.
But more than that, he was a man. He definitely had his faults, no doubt there. His son Julian Lennon has often been quoted as saying he was a rather poor excuse for a father. In 1998, Julian said “Dad could talk about peace and love out loud to the world, but he could never show it to the people who supposedly meant the most to him: his wife and son.” (speaking of the relationship between John, Cynthia, and Julian). Since that interview, Jules has made inner peace with his father’s memory.
Son, Sean Lennon, on the other hand, has many wonderful memories of the man they both call ‘Dad’. “For me, John is still alive. I believe he’s still with us.” Sean stated, in a 1998 Rolling Stone magazine interview. Sean has also been quoted as saying his dad “was an asshole” in more recent interviews. Both brothers have grown closer to each other as the years have passed as well. Furthermore, both have grown into talented, articulate, intelligent young men John would be proud of.
John, both as the visionary and through his music have had an impact on this world from the early days of the 60s through today. In life, and in death, he has touched most of us in an intimate, almost other-worldly way. Through his music, we get a clearer vision of the man, his wishes, his hopes, his dreams. Perhaps he didn’t always make them come true, but he gave us reason to imagine and strive forward towards his vision.
The online magazine Best Classic Bands most appropriately encapsulated my feelings of what this date means to me when they said, “Like November 22, 1963, and like September 11, 2001, the date December 8, 1980, is one that millions instantly recognize. And it’s a date we wish we could forget, one that makes us shudder. It was on that night that the senseless murder of John Lennon took place.”
I can never forget the very moment I heard he was killed. I was getting ready to go out, wearing a black halter dress, and putting on makeup at a friend’s house. We were watching Monday Night Football when Howard Cosell said the words I will never and cannot forget
“Yes, we have to say it. Remember, this is just a football game, no matter who wins or loses. An unspeakable tragedy confirmed to us by ABC News in New York City. John Lennon, outside of his apartment building on the West Side of New York City, the most famous perhaps of all of the Beatles, shot twice in the back, rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, dead… on… arrival.”
In that short moment, all time stopped for me. I don’t remember the drive to the Treehouse, a music venue I frequented in Hallandale, FL, to tell my friends in the band I was going to see that night. I only remember their shocked and horrified reactions. Their reactions mirrored mine. I felt as though the entire world, including me, was moving in slow motion, as though through a cloud. It was all so surreal. I know I was crying from the moment we heard the news and for a week thereafter. I truly felt like someone in my immediate family had passed. I’m sure it was like that for so many of you. I can remember thinking repeatedly “why would someone kill a person whose main theme in life was peace and love”? To this day, I have no answers.
John has grown bigger than life now; in his death, he was transformed from one of the world’s most famous musicians into a Jungian archetype of a leader, a philosopher, and an icon of peace. His words took on new meaning. And the immeasurable loss, felt by so many was palpable.
He was a man on the verge of part 2 of his life. It was like – he’d mucked his way through the first half, and then everything became crystal clear. Listening to the album “Double Fantasy”, you can almost feel his re-imagining his reality emanating from the music. It seemed like he’d found a new purpose in his life. A new vision of how to make things better, make things right with his past. And then, an insane man took that all away from us. I won’t use his name. I never do. He doesn’t deserve our notice. He took away John Lennon from us, and that is unforgivable.
Where John may have led us had he survived that terrible day 38 years ago, we can only Imagine …
Tami Danielson is one of Pop Daze’s® blog writers along with helping coordinate our social media efforts and overall “get it done” team members. Tami has worked extensively in the music and entertainment industry throughout her career.