John Lennon was killed thirty years ago today by Mark Chapman.
Lennon is one of my musical heroes. An icon. A voice of the political left. Not an academic, or an economist. Not involved in the bullshit of party politics. He simply expressed a sentiment shared by a large number of those of us on the Left, and he amplified it, because he had the means by which to do so. Musically, a true artist.
“Our society is driven by neurotic speed and force, accelerated by greed and the frustration of not being able to live up to the image of men and women we have created for ourselves – an image that has nothing to do with the reality of people.
“We’re one world, one people, whether we like it or not. We can pretend we’re divided into races and Countries, but the reality is that it is one World and it is one people”
There is no artist today who could manage to have their song sung in unison by thousands of people marching on Washington DC. Especially one from a little house in Liverpool.
Whatever you think of John Lennon’s music, it is necessary to say that he had a profound influence on music, and on the political left within the music industry. And The Beatles, along with The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, and The Who defined London in the 1960s. They made Abbey Road; a long, uninteresting road just north of St John’s Wood Tube Station, a cultural landmark. They massively influenced artists and bands popping up fifty years later. And Lennon outshone the other Beatles when they finally split. Even so far as the fact that the FBI kept tabs on him and President Nixon tried to have him deported because the White House believed Lennon might be a threat to the President’s re-election.
In order to help save John from being deported, Bob Dylan wrote a letter to the Immigration and Neutralisation Service, with:
John and Yoko add a great voice and drive to the country’s so-called art institution. They inspire and transcend and stimulate and by doing so, only help others to see pure light and in doing that, put an end to this dull taste of petty commercialism which is being passed off as Artist Art by the overpowering mass media. Hurray for John and Yoko. Let them stay and live here and breathe. The country’s got plenty of room and space. Let John and Yoko stay!
Our artists today, are a little too worried with upsetting their record label.
Imagine no religion.
Imagine no countries.
Imagine no greed or hunger.
Imagine no possessions.
One of a kind.