Thursday, December 8, 2011

John Lennon - Never Forgotten

John Lennon was murdered in his adopted home of New York City on this day in 1980. I will never forget it. John was my hero and he was cut down senselessly just as he resurfaced from five years of musical exile.

What is it exactly that keeps me memorializing John on this day every year? Is it the shock of his sudden death? After 31 years it still burns, as I imagine, December 7th must to a generation that remembers Pearl Harbor. I don't want to imply that these events are similar or of equal importance (John is famous for saying the Beatles were more popular than Jesus and getting in big trouble for it). But, in my life, safe and protected by those who did fight in WWII, having my hero killed was and is a big deal.

Although I loved (and still love) the Beatles as a group, and believe that their unique chemistry is what made them so great, John still stands out. There was something about his personality that made him the leader of the band--at first. As time went on, various factors caused him to step back while Paul took the controls, but by then the Beatles were becoming four more developed individuals, and John's songs stood out even more.

In the Lennon/McCartney songwriting team, while Paul supplied the sweet, John provided the savory, for a perfect blend--kind of like a chocolate-covered pretzel or a good sweet and sour chicken.

Although I mostly play the bass today--Paul's instrument--I still celebrate John more. His songwriting, singing and guitar playing were special--and his heart was in the right place.

I'll think about John today and, tonight, with my band, Red Paint, will play something in his memory--probably You've Got to Hide Your Love Away--but there are many more. Being in a four-man band helps me preserve the memory of the Beatles, even though they are not heavily represented in our repertoire.

And in 2012, Two of Us, a duo, will continue to celebrate the music of John and the boys. More on this soon.

Rest in Peace, John. We will never forget you or your music.

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