I was a child of the 60s. Not in the sense of being their and participating in that amazing decade of change. I mean I was born at the beginning of the 60s and observed it as a child. My earliest musical memory was trying to sing along to a song which I incorrectly interpreted as “I love you yeah yeah yeah”. I can’t remember how old I was exactly but I remember I do remember the exact location, which was next to the mail box of the house we were living at the time on a main road in the city of my birth. The house has long since been pulled down and a KFC car park has been there for many years. I would guess it might have been 1964.
My old brother liked the Beatles and introduced them to me but to my dismay they had already broken up by the time I was really getting into them. It was John Lennon’s Imagine album that influenced me the most and he then become my childhood idle. I was influenced for a long time by the political ideas he espoused.
By the time of his death I had broadened my musical horizons and was developing my own views about the world I lived in. John Lennon’s political antics now seemed naive and idealistic at best. The whole hippy love and peace thing had become an object of ridicule.
I still had a reverence for John Lennon but this began to tarnish as I matured and started to learn more about his personal life. He started to look a little pathetic at first and then I came to accept him as just a man that did the best he could under the craziest of circumstances.
For most fans it is his music and its message that is important and they continue to put on a pedestal as musical genius and even an intellectual. I had stopped viewing him as someone that had anything important to say but rather as simply an expression or commentary on the popular culture of the day.
It was his music that was last to depreciate in my mind. It was one evening when I was relaxing and decided to listen to his music. It was like I was hearing it for the first time. I was in a state of heightened sensual awareness (I will leave it at that) and really listened to the music for the first time.
Most of it sounded pretty pathetic and even crude. I started to see patterns of a few recurring ideas that he seemed to recycle in most of his music. There are a few real masterpieces but most of it is just rubbish.
This surprised me because my intention at the time was to sit down and enjoy some nostalgic music from my youth. I did not come away from this experience despising him or with any real negative view. It was more really seeing him for what he was and understanding him more.
Because he was my childhood idle I have remained curious about him and when I see something about him that seems interesting I will look at it. This was the case today when I saw the “Top 10 Unpleasant Fact About John Lennon” .
There were a few surprises in this article but basically I am inclined to accept most of it as factual. Some of it is a little harsh and some of it really needs to be presented in context but basically accurate.
So what do I think of him now? I do not think badly of him. After all it was us that put him on the pedestal and gave him the megaphone. That fact that he was ill equipped both emotionally and intellectually was not his fault. I wonder how most people would have coped in the same situation.
For me he has just faded into the tapestry of popular culture. I think Paul was the more talented of the two. I think George, while not as prolific, was just as talented as John and a lot more sincere in his concern for humanity. Ringo was not that talented but with a little help from his friend he has left us with some great songs and seems like the most down to earth and decent of all of them.