ALL THOSE YEARS AGO:

In Memory of JOHN LENNON

by B. D. POE

 

Hello-Goodbye

On the afternoon of December 8th, 1980, John Lennon signed

an autograph for a man who would later return to steal the

very spirit of the 60s. That evening a crazed fan, Mark Chapman-

the very embodiment of Happiness is a Warm Gun- dashed any

hopes of a future Beatles reunion, by firing several shots

point-blank into John's chest.

 

Ironically, this was in the city that John and Yoko had donated

bullet proof vests for police. It was in New York that John

felt free to walk the streets without harassment. A city that

welcomed the British rocker as one of their own.

 

As the Beatles founder slipped into eternity and a frantic

medical staff admitted defeat, echoing down the hallway

of Roosevelt Hospital could be heard the strains of

"All My Loving" and Yoko's grief filled response to the

doctors' apologies. "Oh no, No, Oh no!" she cried

according to ABC News executive Alan Wiess who happened

to be on scene.

 

I Heard The News Today-Oh Boy!

News wires around the world carried the New York City Police

spokesman's comment that to them the shooting was "as

important as the assassination of John F. Kennedy."

Radio stations provided news updates and commentaries

while playing John's music exclusively.

 

Rock Critic Lou O'Neil fought to maintain his composure

saying that " Lennon and McCartney single-handedly

shaped a generation in the 1960's that revolutionized not

only the music world-but also social lifestyles and political

involvements that went on into the 70's."

 

In the morning Newspapers special inserts appeared

depicting John Lennon as an artist, philosopher and

humanitarian. Posters and special editions appeared.

Clearly a living legend in his own time had died.

 

Come Together...Over Me

In Parks throughout the country fans mourned John's

passing. Bed sheets dripped with red painted peace signs.

Braided and beaded young women in tie dyes and peasant

shirts handed out flowers and candles. Guys in olive drab

army shirts sold Lennon T-shirts at cost. Incense and

marijuana wafted through the air. Those in attendance

shared a comradely and intimacy that exceeds many

family funerals.

 

Strangers embraced each other in tears offering mutual

support. A Lennon look a like played Beatles songs on his

guitar and everyone joined in on "Give Peace A Chance."

Nobody left the vigil without a hug or a kiss. John would

have been pleased.

 

They're Gonna Crucify Me...

Several Years later Elvis biographer Albert Goldman

released The Lives of John Lennon in which John was

portrayed as a wife beating, drug addicted, anorexic

homosexual rapist suffering from agoraphobia and

delusions of grandeur. The Rolling Stone, which featured

Lennon on its first cover in 1967, called Goldman's book

"a sleazy attack" and "character assassination."

What is it about society that deifies and defrocks

heros created by agnostics in search of a savior?

 

I Don't Believe In Elvis...

Like Bob Dylan whom John admired, he did much to

dispel his own mythological image and that of The

Beatles'. " We were just a pop group" he told Dick

Cavette.

In his last interview with Playboy, Lennon touched on

his own mortality and how he wished to be remembered:

"I have no desire to follow in the footsteps of entertainment

stars who died before their careers had ended and were

worshipped for it...and I don't want Sean to worship such

people."

Through out his career, the thinking man's Beatle told

fans to be skeptical of leaders and mythical figures, to

take responsibility for their own actions, to be open and

honest believing in one's abilities to shape their world

remembering that "all you need is love."

 

Christ! You Know It Aint Easy...

Like most people John didn't always measure up to his

ideals. His life was riddled with let downs. Not knowing

his father, being passed back and forth between his mother

and aunt Mimi, loosing his mother to a drunk driver and

marital problems with Yoko. Occasionally he reacted with

anger and self abuse.

 

Yoko Ono's insisted on a year's separation from John and

sent him to Los Angeles with an Asian house girl to look

after him. this was John's so called "Lost Year." One

story has John interrupting a Smothers Brothers Show,

standing on a chair, drunkenly screaming "Doesn't

anyone know who I am?" and being forcefully removed

from the club. Later John admitted his codependence,

"I literally could not survive without (Yoko) her."

 

Turn Me On Dead Man

Although in previous interviews John denied engineering

the 1970 Paul Mc Cartney Death Hoax, he admitted in

his final Playboy interview that he created backwards

messages (back-masking) while he and Yoko played with

a tape machine.

 

Spanning 4 years of Beatles Art and Music are audio and

visual clues suggesting that Paul had "blew his mind out

in a car" and was replaced by "the one and only Billy

Shears" the supposed winner of a 1964 Mc Cartney

look a like contest. Paul played "Toe Jam Football" in

Come Together, he was " so good looking but so hard to

see" referring to Paul's stand in Mal Evans whose back it

is that is turned toward the camera when Paul missed the

Photo shoot for the back cover of Sgt. Peppers'.

 

The visual clues included Paul wearing a black flower when

the other Beatles wore red carnations in Magical Mystery

Tour, the funeral imagery, upside down model car and

American (toe jam) football trophy on the cover of

SGT. PEPPER's. The death clues on Abbey Road consisted

of the alleged backwards 3 some saw in front of the words

THE BEATLES on the cover. The Volkswagen license

plate read 28if, as in Paul would have been 28 if he had lived.

On the back cover only Paul is out of step. Explaining their

attire on the Back of Abbey Road; John is the Priest, Ringo the

Undertaker, Paul-holding a cigarette in his right hand (he was is

left handed!) and barefoot(allegedly a French burial custom circa

WWII), and George the GraveDigger are walking from a

cemetary to a church. Paul allegedly has his eyes closed.

 

I Am The Walrus...

Even the Walrus was a clue. Supposedly a dead walrus encountered

by an eskimo hunting Party was a harbinger of death, a bad omen,

for a hunting party. The O.P.D. armband on Paul's arm did not mean

Ontario Police Department but rather : Officially Pronounced Dead!

John's repetitious "Number Nine," the number of letters in

McCartney, is but one of the alleged audio clues. John sings in

Glass Onion " here's another clue for you all - the Walrus was Paul!"

yet it is John's vocal on "I Am The Walrus."

When the Death Hoax was uncovered by a college DJ and his girl friend

Paul's response was " You had better ask John about that one."

 

Was this John's way of making a fool out of Paul who had challenged

Lennon's leadership by asserting himself in production with George

Martin during Sgt. Pepper? Or was it an insurance policy for future

sales once home audio technology exposed the hidden clues???

 

Whatever the case, the animosity between John and Paul grew.

Ringo was so miffed by the infighting that he left the band during

the "White Album" sessions. The Beatles begged him back and

behaved-for a short while.

 

Early in 1970 the riff between John and Paul intensified. It was

John's intention to disband the Beatles. In April, McCartney

beat John Lennon to the punch, and announced his departure from

the group, thus stealing John's thunder. John publicly attacked Paul

in his solo cut How Can You Sleep? Legal entanglements followed.

Apple was cut in pieces.

 

And We All Shine On

Before his murder, John allegedly reached partial reconciliation

with Paul. Jokingly they considered taking up John Belushi's

ranting challenge to appear on Saturday Night Live.

 

After five years of silence, John recorded "Double Fantasy"

with his wife Yoko. His songs "Watching the Wheels" and

"Just Like Starting Over." received steady air play and John was

back on top-producing hits that recalled the rich, melodic and

introspective songs similar to "Imagine" and " Mind Games"of the

seventies.

 

Enjoying himself and generally at peace with the world , back on top

in the days before his death John was enthusiastic about the future.

"Weren't the 70's a drag?" he said to reporters with an optimistic

twinkle.

 

All Across The Universe

Throughout his life John was fascinated by all things spiritual.

He used LSD and TM in attempts to "elevate" his consciousness

and expand his creativity.

 

When his 1966 comment about influencing more people and being more

"popular" than Jesus (in his day) was taken out of context by the

religious right who smashed his records and burned him in effigy,

John took his spiritual search elsewhere. "Jesus was alright," he said

"but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins

it for me."

 

In a letter to Rick Sklar, a New York radio executive, Lennon spoke

of the spiritual search. " Perhaps I'm trying to explain the inexplicable.

I don't think this kind of introspection is the luxury of the artist rich or

poor. I never believed in waiting until death's door before facing or

at least trying the eternal mysteries..." Face them he has - we can only

Imagine.

 

bdpoe@aol.com


BDPoe@aol.com

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