Saturday, October 9, 2010

John Lennon: A Short but Extraordinary Life

John Lennon image
If John Lennon was alive, he would become 70 years old today. Unfortunately, he had only 40 years to live but what an extraordinary life it was. You can hardly find many people having more sterling lives and achieving so much as John Lennon did. He was a very bright star for the half part of his existence and he continues to be so bright even 30 years after his death. To show that he really had an exceptional life, let's write about some of its most prominent aspects.

Undoubtedly, if we should point just one thing about John Lennon, it would be his participation in the Beatles. He was the founder and together with Paul McCartney one of the two most important members of the band. How immensely crucial were the Beatles for the development and success of pop and rock music has been constantly discussed by analysts for several decades already and you may also read about the greatest achievements of the Beatles by following the link, but in brief: the Beatles were responsible for establishing the pattern of self-contained rock band (writing their own songs); transforming the rock music into an international phenomenon; introducing many technical innovations in the studio recording; experimenting in new musical directions and making new pop and rock styles popular; and as a result of everything becoming the most successful pop/rock band ever while simultaneously gaining the all-time biggest sales numbers and universal critical acclaim. If John Lennon was not there, all of that fascinating story would not happen.

The Beatles broke up before John Lennon had even turned 30 years in 1970. After their split, John was arguably the most critically respected member although not as productive as, e.g., Paul McCartney. John created a good portion of famous and well-crafted songs during his solo career, some of them becoming eternal anthems of peace, love or personality.

John Lennon was an activist of the peace movement and used his celebrity status together with his wife Yoko Ono to promote peace messages to broad audiences. Instead of using a standard intellectual approach and writing manifestos or articles on the subject, he used his honeymoon to talk about peace while staying in bed with his wife. He used his sense of humor to attract more people to anti-war ideas. He wrote lyrics on peace themes. Imagine, Give Peace a Chance, etc. are still songs remembered by millions of people. Happy Xmas (war Is Over) sends an anti-war message while at the same time remains as one of the best Christmas songs ever.

Besides being a peace activist, John Lennon issued one of the most personal albums Plastic Ono Band that reached such a broad audience. It is often voted in different polls to be amongst the best albums of all time. While being not commercial at all, the album reached many people due to Lennon's celebrity status and showed some of the most personal messages John had shared with us throughout his fruitful career. He sang about Mother, Isolation, God and Love along very touching lyrics and simple but memorable melodies. He continued his strong works with the album Imagine, which while not being such a personal effort, still contained some of his greatest songs, e.g., the title track or Jealous Guy.

For the exceptional presence of John Lennon could be also judged by Paul McCartney's respect concerning John. Although being often blamed for the ending of the Beatles (which is not very precise) by many people including Lennon, Paul has been always sympathetic to John showing his respect in various songs or interviews. But how could you not like the man singing "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans". Paul even sang John's song Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) containing that famous quote on an occasion to show his esteem for John Lennon.

At the end, we must point that even John Lennon's death has been extraordinary in terms that not everyone dies by murder. Sure, it was quite ironic, the person that was fighting against killing people to be killed. Life is often unfair to its greatest men. But fortunately, people remember geniuses long after their death.

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