52% intelligent. 9% modest. More monkey than bear.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

war is over if you want it...

John Lennon, 1940-1980

25 years ago today, John Winston Oko Lennon was gunned down outside the Dakota building in New York by Mark Chapman.

I haven't really found myself thinking about his music today though.

Since his death, and partly because of the variable quality of Paul McCartney's output, it has become more or less de rigeur to suggest that Lennon was the real genius in The Beatles. Whilst it may be true that Lennon helped to suppress some of Macca's more saccharine instincts, I think that view is essentially revisionist rubbish. It's not as though Lennon's solo work was untouchably brilliant, is it? Personally, I've never really taken to it. Some I like, some I dislike, and lots I am indifferent too. Even the charms of 'Imagine' have palled through over-exposure.

Instead of pointlessly wondering about the music that he might have made had he lived, I keep thinking about Lennon the peace campaigner. I wonder what he would have made of George W. Bush and his "War on Terror", of Tony Blair and the invasion of Iraq.

Not much, I should think.

I don't know if he would have been able to make a difference, but I think it's safe to say that he wouldn't have been sitting on his arse watching it all happen.

Too many of us are still sitting on ours.

Instant karma’s gonna get you
Gonna knock you off your feet
Better recognize your brothers
Ev’ryone you meet
Why in the world are we here
Surely not to live in pain and fear
Why on earth are you there
When you’re ev’rywhere
Come and get your share


Big up to Red from Run Over By The Truth for reminding me about this anniversary, by the way ....


  • At 10:09 pm, Blogger the urban fox said…

    Au contraire, musical high society has swung back in favour of McCartney having been the epicentre these days. Lennon's fairly out of favour. Wings' critical reputation has been revived for a while now. It's all just the vagaries of fashion, it'll probably be decided that Ringo was the genius in 2015.

  • At 10:11 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    I've **always** thought that Ringo was the real talent.... John and Paul just had better publicists.


  • At 10:16 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    Actually, I read a very interesting biography of Macca a couple of years back - its whole purpose, from what I could gather, was an attempt by Macca to reclaim the "coolest Beatle" tag from Lennon. It was full of stories about how Macca was at the cutting edge of the London art scene in the 60s whilst Lennon was festering in his Surrey Mansion. True, perhaps, but the book was trying way, way too hard to make me believe it for me to actually believe it.

    I like Macca. I think that when your songbook contains such gems as "Someone's Knocking on the Door", "C Moon" and "The Frog Chorus", your claim to greatness is assured.....


  • At 11:59 pm, Blogger the urban fox said…

    I'm far more interested in Yoko Ono than any one of the Beatles these days. Although I did have a weird necrophiliac crush on John when I was about 15.

    Hey, you forgot 'Say Say Say' and 'Ebony and Ivory'. Rock & roll gold, right there.

  • At 3:12 am, Blogger Flash said…

    i think I come out on the Macca side too, just.

  • At 6:45 am, Blogger HistoryGeek said…

    I've never heard the term "Macca" before. That's amusing.

    As for Lennon...I always sort of wondered what the big deal was. Yes, it's tragic that he was assassinated, but I just have never been clued in to the "bigger picture" of him. (I think at the time I was all wrapped up in Joan Jett, Adam Ant, and John Cougar Mellancamp...)

  • At 10:00 am, Blogger red one said…

    Always nice to share a music moment with you, Swiss. :-)

    Got to run - I'm meant to be somewhere else half an hour ago.


  • At 12:29 pm, Blogger LB said…

    I think you've forgotten Macca's finest hour - "The Girl Is Mine".

    Scrapping over a bird with Michael Jackson. The world doesn't get any odder than that, surely?


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