No death of any public figure in my lifetime made me sadder than John Lennon’s. I cried. I called friends. I sat up all night. I felt part of a blasted, bereft community.
I was too young to be affected by the deaths of JFK, RFK or MLK. But Lennon’s death broke my heart.
Heck, he lived only ten blocks away from me. I was sure I’d run into him sometime, perhaps in Central Park. Maybe we’d smoke a joint together.
He had a personal meaning for me: he was the arty, intellectual Beatle. The bolshie one: the rebel. Everything I wanted for my own identity.
I think the Plastic Ono album he made, the one after leaving the Beatles, was the best Beatles album. Stripped-down, raw, personal (more personal than the other guy who had personal meaning for me, Dylan): perhaps the most personal statement by any artist ever. Songs like “Mother” and “God.” Primal screams straight from the heart, guts, and marrow of the soul.
Christ, what we lost. The music he would’ve made. What would he have done about rap? His reaction would’ve been something else, because I’m sure he would’ve reacted to that music’s rawness. What would he have said about Bush?
NPR calls him “the late music legend and peace activist.” There is no other rock ‘n’ roller who’d be called something more than just something musical. That’s why he was different from all others, and why he still matters.
(ENJOYED this? More stuff like it on my irreverent blog at Adam Ash.)