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Thursday, December 08, 2005
Remembering John, Embracing a New Dream
Today is the 25th anniversary of that fateful day --December 7, 1980-- when John Lennon was murdered by gunshots just outside of his home at the Dakota in NYC, his stunned wife Yoko only a few feet away. I remember that at the time, I had become a recent fan of John Lennon's solo work, and as a songwriter was inspired by Lennon's unique voice-- his combination of pithy, in-your-face lyrics and sensitive vulnerabilty. On one song, Lennon would rock with a jaded, satiric bite, and in the next, he was tender and gentle, singing paeans to love and Yoko.
In some ways, Lennon was an iconoclast, yet he was deep enough to know that "rock and roll" rebellion, for its own sake, was meaningless. In one of many acts of controversy (which he seemed to court), John and Yoko appeared totally nude on one of their album covers, as if to say, this is me, this is who I really am, I'm not this mythical Beatle icon you've constructed, I'm just a man, standing here with the woman I love. So also in his music, John got "naked" at times; it seems he sought to strip away his youthful illusions, to reject the false messages of society, that he might find and embrace his primal, essential, true self.
Listening to his music, reading and watching him in interviews, I felt kind of like I knew John. I considered him a friend. Despite his seriousness about things like peace in the world, John also seemed like he'd be fun to hang around with-- he had a playfulness which was child-like, even goofy at times; he seemed interested in many things; he was articulate and never boring. So when John was shot, I felt as if someone I knew had died and I was very sad. John had sung, about the Beatles and his past, "the dream is over", and now, with John dead, it seemed it really was.
I was young and dreaming ahead of my future, seeking to understand the meaning of it all, and John's quest for peace, his music and his relationship with Yoko had all seemed very romantic and inspiring. Maybe I too could be an artist, and make my impact on the world through my songs and vision. It would be a few more years before I would come to embrace a different vision, one with similarly high ideals of the potential for love and goodness to prevail over evil and ugliness, but also one that had to be embraced by a faith that saw that God is real, and that I needed Him.
Still today I remember John Lennon, the man and his music, and I'm thankful for the inspiration he gave me to make music and in making music, to try to say something that matters. Yoko, Sean and Julian, I pray you may find the Truth that I have come to know in the person of Jesus Christ. And in honor of John's passing, I am re-posting today an old article- Imagine: A New Heaven And a New Earth. To listen to John and the Beatles music, go to Q104.3's special tribute in honor of John here.
P.S. Another of my old posts, Gimme Some Truth, was inspired by Lennon's song of the same name, and may also be of interest.
P.S.S. My friend Mark Daniels at Better Living also has posted his own memories and thoughts on this anniversary of John's passing. Very well-written!