Requiem for John Lennon, an extraordinary life between a bombing and a blast

John Lennon (Design: Jesús Avilés/ Infobae)

I didn’t intend to write about John Lennon. At this point, what else can be said about lennon? about all lennon? The lennon orphan with toupee, leather jacket and glasses Buddy Holly walking in a Liverpool destroyed by German bombing, with no idea what to make of his life except for that salvation for so many that was rock and roll; the lennon who sets up the Quarrymen and invites a very young McCartney to be your partner; the lennon street fighter who gets his best friend badly hurt, stuart stucliffe, in a street fight while trying to make a name for themselves in the seedy streets of Hamburg; the lennon close friend –and lover?– of Brian Epstein; the lennon plump from the days of Help!; the lennon skinny with a mustache and psychedelic glasses; the lennon hairy and avant-garde married to yoko ono; the lennon lost in an endless weekend with his drinking friends in Los Angeles; the lennon house husband in New York; the lennon political activist; the lennon abandonment of children and wives; the lennon violent and beating; the lennon pacifist and political icon; the lennon shot to death by a madman believed to have been sent by Holden Caufield at the entrance to the New York Dakota. there were many lennonso many lennon as the listener or the biographer wishes. choose your own lennon.

Each of the four faced the separation of the beatlesthat is, the biggest musical divorce of the 20th century, to the best of its ability. Ringo he continued to party and was the first ex beatles in having a number 1, George Harrison exploded as a supernova in All things must pass while taking shelter of Krishna and Eastern spirituality; Paul he retired to the Scottish countryside to go back to basics and record a couple of beautiful albums as a solo artist and with Linda before putting together wings; lennon It was the most publicized, the most controversial, and also the one that seems to have had the worst time.

Image of the last stage of The Beatles, during the recording of the album "getback" (1970)
Image of the last stage of The Beatles, during the recording of the album “Get Back” (1970)

His first solo album proper is Plastic Ono Band, from 1970, the primal cry of a boy from the provinces who became a successful millionaire but who feels that he has nothing more to lose, nor to gain. To this day it is still heartbreaking to listen to him, although he kept repeating to himself that he had to resist –Hold on, John, John hold on– because “everything is gonna be alright” –everything is going to be alright– he also sang about how isolated he felt, and famously announced in Godwho did not even believe in the beatles neither in Krishna nor in Bob Dylanbut i did believe in Yoko Y Johnthough “the dream is over” –the dream ended–. At that time she did not want to know anything about the beatlesand said that he saw no point in a meeting, that it was like “going back to high school”.

“Instant Karma is gonna get you” “Karma is going to catch you” he seemed to sing to himself. lennon he always sang to himself, even when he sang to others. The relationship with Yoko nor was it as idyllic all the time as it was immortalized in so many videos, photos and songs. To think about the vertiginous life of someone like John Lennon you have to see what he was doing at each age. At 22 she had her first child, Julianand married Cynthia Powell, his girlfriend since he was 17; at 26 she began a side affair with yoko ono, until a year later he left his wife and formalized with the Japanese artist; At the age of 30, he had already broken up the most famous rock band in music history, and along the way had become “more famous than anyone else.” Jesus Christ”.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono in New York, the 1970s
John Lennon and Yoko Ono in New York, the 1970s

In 1973, at 33, the age of Christseparated from Yoko and left New York for Los Angeles along with her assistant and lover, May Pang. There he gave himself up to a perpetual drunkenness together with illustrious and infamous friends, such as Harry Nilson, phil spector, Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, David Bowie Y Stevie wonderand met his new old friend, Paul MCCARTNEY. From that time is the last recording –a pirate of dubious quality– that brought together the most important compositional duo that has ever existed together with nilson, Wonder Y Pretty.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono (to his left) in London's Hyde Park, 1975 (Photo: Rowland Scherman/Getty Images)
John Lennon and Yoko Ono (to his left) in London’s Hyde Park, 1975 (Photo: Rowland Scherman/Getty Images)

“Whatever gets you through the night” – whatever gets you through the night – became a mantra for this aimless Lennon immersed in his lost weekend –lost weekend– which lasted between September 1973 and February 1975. It was also their first and only post-Beatles number 1. Composed together with Elton John and included on the disc Walls and Bridgesfrom 1974, the song also has a particular importance for the musician’s history, since Elton he bet him that if he reached number 1, he would have to accompany him in a concert. Indeed this happened and it was the last time that John Lennon He stepped on a stage, at Madison Square Garden, on November 28 of that year. The last song she sang live was, curiously, “I saw her standing there”Signed by Lennon-McCartney but attributed to the latter.

During that time he even came close to going along with his former bandmate and Pretty to New Orleans to record “Venus and Mars”of wings. But then again Yoko crossed the road. In the mentioned concert of Elton John, he was reunited with the love of his life and they reconciled, this time, forever. They say that when Mick jagger Hearing this he said laconically: “I suppose I have lost a friend.” lennon then he published the cover disc Rock And Roll (1975), produced by Spector, to later lock herself in the Dakota to take care of her son Sean, as she had not done with Julian. She did not date again until her return in 1980, with Double Fantasy.

John Lennon and his version of “Stand By Me”, a classic by Ben E. King, recorded and included on the album “Rock ‘n’ Roll” (1975)

Even though he was known more famous than Jesus Christ, lennon He never claimed to be a saint or an example or a social leader, or anything like that. lennon Did not want to be Martin Luther King Jr. neither mahatma ghandi, icons, in turn, with complex edges in their private lives. When, in 1963, he was approached in the dressing room of the Star Club in Hamburg by the livebirdsLiverpool’s first all-female rock band, lennon he sarcastically told them “women can’t play the guitar” and that this could never work. During the famous interview with Jan Werner of the rolling stones in 1970 that was a lot more like a therapy session than a note to a rock and roll superstar, lennon He recounted intimacies that already at that moment left him in a bad light.

Along the lost weekend there are many stories and anecdotes that show him as a sour, quick-tempered person and extremely difficult to deal with, especially when he was drunk, during those days, more than 90% of the time. In the film imagine there is a scene in which a visibly troubled fan goes to see him at his house and Lennon tells him that he doesn’t have to be a role model for anyone, that he is not interested in inspiring anyone or leading anything, that the true leader of oneself is just yourself.

John Lennon fans outside the Dakota building in New York, on the day of his assassination, December 8, 1980 (Photo: Grosby Group)
John Lennon fans outside the Dakota building in New York, on the day of his assassination, December 8, 1980 (Photo: Grosby Group)

John Winston Lennon was born during one of the many bombing raids by Nazi troops on Liverpool, and was killed in a burst of shots. He was an icon of peace, brotherhood and nonviolence, but his life was much more like trench warfare than the bucolic world he intended in some of his songs. Nobody knows what would have become of lennon in these times of arbitrary revisionisms about figures of the past. Perhaps he would have apologized for some questionable behavior that he himself admitted at the time without being asked. He would probably be campaigning for progressive causes – or would he be a champion of the anti-globalist cause? – he would surely have met with the beatlesmaybe for him live aid 1985, or during the project Anthologyfrom the 90s. None of that matters and never did.

Today it is much more than a common place to say that “the 20th century is over” every time an iconic or famous character of that time dies. However, it is not risky to say that on December 8, 1980, while lennon he collapsed mortally wounded on the entrance to the Dakota, he did it too in the 1960s. The dream had ended a long time ago, but now it had turned directly into a nightmare, in case someone still hadn’t noticed.

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Requiem for John Lennon, an extraordinary life between a bombing and a blast