It’s was 1980 when we lost John Lennon. Everyone has there favorite Beatle and mine was John Lennon. As time has gone on, it is especially clear to me that he was someone I could identify with. For a long time it was a given that Lennon wrote the better lyrics and Paul McCartney was responsible for the best music. After they broke up, George Harrison found his own niche of supporters and Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey) went on to do a number of things, including acting in movies.
In my opinion McCartney, while being a musical genius and probably a driving force when the Beatles were together, can’t write lyrics and has actually gotten worse at it. As Lennon sang:
They only thing you did was “Yesterday”
And today you’re just “Another Day”
Obvious references to Paul’s songs, but in my opinion quite true. As for Lennon’s music, some of it was ahead of it’s time. His first solo album “John Lennon Plastic Ono Band” was filled with what is now known as Minimalism and has been adopted by several punk bands over the years who have refused to refine their music or add extra instruments to accent their sound. “I found Out,” uses a chocked up guitar and drums, his original recording of “Cold Turkey” had a drum, electric guitar and he sang most of the lyrics without music. In “Working Class Hero” he plays only a guitar.
His lyrics have always had an affect on me.
As I wrote in my book, Memoirs of a Drugged-Up, Sex-Crazed Yippie:
So I went to the kitchen and got half a bag of Rold Gold pretzels and my last bottle of Mickeys beer, which I had saved from a few nights ago. I went down to my bedroom. I pulled out the album “John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band,” which I had bought and listened to back in high school. I put it on the stereo and sat down on my old green bed. I put the pretzels and the beer on a small brown coffee table next to the bed. I hadn’t heard that album in a long time. As I listened to the songs, “I Found Out” and “God,” I suddenly understood what Lennon had gone through. I went through
the same thing 10 years later. In the words from “I Found Out”:
“There ain’t no Jesus gonna come from the sky.”
“Don’t let them fool you with dope and cocaine.”
He denounced both religion and drugs, almost as if they were the same kind of thing. And in the song “God,” Lennon denounced his role as an LSD mystic, using references from his song “I Am The Walrus” from the Beatles’ “Magical Mystery Tour” album.
After a long list of things he proclaimed he no longer believed in he sang:
“I just believe in me,
Yoko and me,
And that’s reality.”