This week, John Lennon is in our Beatles spotlight. John was born in October of 1940. October makes him a Libra and so I feel closer to him already!
Of course, most of us know John was an English singer, songwriter and peace activist who gained worldwide fame as the founder, co-lead vocalist, and rhythm guitarist of the Beatles. His songwriting partnership with Paul McCartney remains the most successful in musical history.
Born in Liverpool, Lennon was characterized for the rebellious nature and acerbic wit in his music, writing, drawings, on film and in interviews. In the mid-1960s, he had two books published: In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works, both collections of nonsensical writings and line drawings.
“I’m not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I’ve always been a freak. So, I’ve been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I’m one of those people.”
Starting with 1967’s “All You Need Is Love”, his songs were adopted as anthems by the anti-war movement and the larger counterculture.
“If someone thinks that love and peace is a cliché that must have been left behind in the Sixties, that’s his problem. Love and peace are eternal.”
In 1969, he started the Plastic Ono Band with his second wife, Yoko Ono. After the Beatles disbanded in 1970, Lennon continued as a solo artist and as Ono’s collaborator.
From 1968 to 1972, Lennon produced more than a dozen records with Ono, including a trilogy of avant-garde albums, his first solo LP John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, and the international top 10 singles “Give Peace a Chance”, “Instant Karma!”, “Imagine” and “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”.
He could still be speaking out about peace and justice today:
“It doesn’t matter how long my hair is or what color my skin is or whether I’m a woman or a man.”
Controversial through his political and peace activism, after moving to New York City in 1971, his criticism of the Vietnam War resulted in a three-year attempt by the Nixon administration to deport him.
Obviously, it didn’t work.
“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”
In 1975, Lennon disengaged from the music business to raise his infant son Sean.
“We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.”
In 1980, he returned with the album, Double Fantasy. He was shot and killed in the archway of his Manhattan apartment building by a Beatles fan, Mark David Chapman, three weeks after the album’s release.
“I don’t believe in killing whatever the reason.”
In 2002, Lennon was voted eighth in a BBC poll of the 100 Greatest Britons, and in 2008, Rolling Stone ranked him the fifth-greatest singer of all time. In 1987, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Lennon was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, as a member of the Beatles in 1988 and as a solo artist in 1994.
“I’m not claiming divinity. I’ve never claimed to have the answers to life. I only put out songs and answer questions as honestly as I can…But I still believe in peace, love and understanding.”
And if you don’t think this radical writer and singer isn’t a closet Unitic, here’s some evidence in the positive:
“I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It’s just the translations have gone wrong.”
Sounds like Unity, right?
“You’re just left with yourself all the time, whatever you do anyway. You’ve got to get down to your own God in your own temple. It’s all down to you, mate.”
It’s all down to each of us, as we follow our Soul’s Journey.
And lastly, I hope you all have taken some time and wasted it:
“Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.”