Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Imagine : John Lennon

Culture grows on you …
When I’d come to the US, 4 years back, my knowledge of Western music was extremely limited. I knew just a handful of songs and believed Rock-culture was all about “Sex Drugs n Rock N’ Roll”. But over the years, as I learned more, I’ve developed awe for this musical phenomenon! It represents a culture that stood for peace, rebellion against injustices, challenging the long standing taboos, protesting against mechanization, racial integration and women’s liberation!

One giant icon of this counterculture revolution was John Lennon …
He was a protest singer who desired “Revolution”;
urged people to “Give peace a chance”
and had a utopian vision when he sang: “Imagine no possession…”

Imagine no possesions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

He stood for peace, but was violently assassinated in front of his New York apartment; on Dec 8th 1980! Since then his memories has frozen in the minds of people. This week his name is everywhere;
- “Sunday Chicago Tribune devoted 5 pages of “Arts & Entertainment “section to him,
- TV had this movie “Imagine: John Lennon”
- His name is covered on all the new channels
As today marks his 25th death anniversary; this post is on him.

People still remember the time, when this UK group “The Beatles” made their first TV appearance in America on the “Ed Sullivan” show in 1964; and forever changed the popular culture here. Initially they became famous for their fresh faces, “Mop-top” hair style, and peppy numbers like
- I want to hold your hand
- Love me do
- From me to you
- Twist and shout

Soon, like most of their contemporaries they were experimenting with drugs; heroin, cocaine, LSD. … During this psychedelic phase, they produced some of the most amazing songs:
- Strawberry Fields forever
- Tomorrow never knows
- Lucy in the sky with diamonds
- I am a Walrus

Turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream,
It is not dying, it is not dying,
Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void,
It is shining, it is shining,
[Tomorrow never knows]

After that; began the process of getting out of the addiction.
“Cold Turkey” is about Lennon’s struggles with drug withdrawal symptoms:

My body is aching … Goose-pimple bone
Can't see no body … Leave me alone
My eyes are wide open … Can't get to sleep
One thing I'm sure of … I'm in at the deep freeze
Cold turkey has got me on the run
[Cold Turkey]

He said “Songwriting is about getting the demon out of me; it’s like being possessed” ; and his life was full of pain. His parents got divorced when he was just 4 years old, and his aunt reared him. He kept close contact with his mother, but she was killed in a car-accident, when he was mere 17. His first marriage with Cynthia failed and his relation with Yoko Ono had its rough patches.
He wrote songs close to his heart:
- Mother/ Julia – for his mother
- Woman / Dear Yoko / Oh Yoko – for Yoko Ono
- Good Night – for son Julian from wife Cynthia
- Beautiful Boy – for son Sean from wife Yoko

He said “My role in society, or any artist's or poet's role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all”….

Some of his other songs that I really like:
- Help!
- I feel fine
- In my life
- Don’t let me down
- God
- Yesterday
- Ballad of John and Yoko
- A day in the life
- I’m losing you
- I'm a loser
- Nowhere Man
- Come together
- Working man’s hero
- Instant Karma

Well we all shine on
Like the moon and the stars and the sun
Yeah we all shine on
On and on and on on and on
[Instant Krama ]


At 09 December, 2005 00:54, Blogger Handful Of Hell said...

John Lennon went on to lead a simple life after having reached the zenith of super-stardom and an ultra-posh life. He dedicated himself to uphold his beliefs, those of peace and non-violence.

Then, I don't know but when I look at celebrities taking on the social mantle in their autocratic style, never having experienced the pain of the people they are campaigning for, I think something is amiss, the human factor perhaps!!

At 09 December, 2005 10:25, Blogger Intern said...

Lennon born - 1940
The Beatles formed - 1960
Beatles split - 1970
Lennon assassinated - 1980

hmmm ... so 20 years of childhood/youth as an ordinary man....
As against your views; I have got great respect for these ordinary people who become superstars, and reach the zenith of popularity for their awesome work! I think handling that success is a VERY DIFFICULT job, when they have a larger-then-life image ...

... and now I'll direct you to another Blog; for more of my remarks: it's:

Read it!!!

At 10 December, 2005 14:22, Blogger Artful Badger said...

- Yesterday
Love it.
Some other ones I like:
- When I am 64
- Michelle
- Yellow Submarine
But these may be Paul McCartney.
Need to listen to a number of them - Instant Karma for e.g. I am very busy till Wednesday and then I am in India!!

At 10 December, 2005 14:45, Blogger Intern said...

Hey ramani,
you got to check out some photos I've put under ... " When I'm 64" -in Photo Blog!!!

ALL THE BEST for your India tour...which I'm sure is gonna be wonderful. So would you Blog from India, and let us know whats happening there?

At 11 December, 2005 18:11, Blogger Prashanth said...

My favourite one will always be:

All my troubles were so far away
But now it seems like they're here to stay
Oh I believe in Yesterday...

It has this wistful tone that I found beautiful and touching.

At 15 December, 2005 10:47, Blogger Intern said...

[Prashanth] ->

Yeah Yesterday is a wonderful song with beautiful lyrics!!!

Theres another song where lennon seems to have poured his heart out
"dont let me down" ...hear his voice in this song...

Nobody ever loved me like she does
Oo she does, yes she does
And if somebody loved me like she do me
Oo she do me, you she does ...

There's another song.. which is very intriguing:
GOD - its of the phrase when he was totally disenchanted with almost everything which he once considered significant in his life:
just read the lyrics:

I don't believe in Hitler
I don't believe in Jesus
I don't believe in Kennedy
I don't believe in Buddha
I don't believe in Mantra
I don't believe in Gita
I don't believe in Yoga
I don't believe in Kings
I don't believe in Elvis.....
But now I'm REBORN
I was the Walrus
But now I'm John
and so dear friends
you'll just have to carry on


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