Thursday, December 08, 2005

Remembering John Lennon

by Mark Burbey

Today is the 25th anniversary of the death of the John Lennon. If not for the insanity of Mark David Chapman, Lennon would today be 65 years old, and undoubtedly an elder statesman of modern music and alternative thought.

As a member of the Beatles, he came to fame and changed the world of music, but even more importantly, his life after the Beatles was one devoted to ending the madness of a world at war, not only between countries but between individuals.

The lyrics of "Imagine" say it all:

"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..."

A radio talk show host in San Francisco this evening said that he worked at a station in the ‘70s that refused to play “Imagine” on the basis that it was offensive. They refused to play the song because it imagined a world without heaven, without religion, and the potential of offending god-fearing listeners eclipsed that of playing a great song with a great message. This level of ignorance and fear and lack of imagination was exactly what Lennon was trying to change. Who knows if, given a chance, Lennon could have turned the tide, but the world needs voices like his, and even though he’s gone, his voice remains.

And it’s of paramount importance that we remember, and imagine.



Shortly before his death in 1980, John Lennon said this
about the creation of “Imagine”:

"Well actually that should be credited as a Lennon/Ono
song, a lot of it - the lyric, the concept - came from Yoko, but
those days I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho and I sort
of omitted to mention her contribution, but it was right out of
'Grapefruit', her book, there's a whole pile of pieces about
imagine this and that and I have given her credit now long
overdue."

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