Wednesday, October 9, 2013

John Lennon at 73

Today would have been John Lennon’s 73rd birthday. Not a landmark one; like 70 or 75; but still an important milestone in life had he lived. It’s about the average age for men in the United States, which is where Mr. Lennon had been living for several years at the time of his all too soon passing. I can’t help but wonder what he would be doing now? Not just in music, but in the hotbed of the political discourse which engulfs us at the present time.

I love You Tube, it is a window into the past; and at the same time that past can often be a glimpse of what the future may have held. Think about President Eisenhower’s vision when he warned us against the “military industrial complex.” It was years before anyone really took him seriously, and by that time it was too late to change course. This got me thinking about many of the things John Lennon had said in his hundreds of interviews in the years before his murder. And that took me back, once again, to You Tube to see what I might find.

Most of the meatier, and lengthier interviews were audio only, so I just picked one from the early 1970’s when John and Yoko had only been in New York for a few years, taking up residence at the Dakota as they fought their battle with immigration, ultimately winning their Alien Registration (green) Cards in time for the Bi-Centennial in 1976. Had he lived, he would have become a Citizen of the United States in 1981.

Life in a fishbowl could not have been easy for Mr. Lennon, and yet I am always proud that he chose my hometown in which to live out his last days. For all of its complexity and seeming vastness, New York is a safe haven for many artists. In a city of 8 million people you rarely expect to see anyone of importance, and so it is easy for the famous ones to walk about with a minimum of fanfare.

John Lennon reveled in that freedom, but also took advantage of the proximity to the media which life in the Big Apple afforded him. During his time there he appeared on every talk show there was, both on television and radio, where he frequently arrived unannounced, but was always welcome by the surprised DJ’s.

Mr. Lennon was larger than the life he led. His willingness to take chances and to seemingly wear his heart on his sleeve, have made us all a bit more free in the long run. I still wonder though, what he would be doing if he were still with us today.

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