Saturday, October 9, 2010

John Lennon Would Have Been 70 Today

John Lennon, 9 October 1940 - 8 December 1980

I'm old enough to almost remember The Beatles before they broke up. I do have a crazy, hella good memory about pop culture.

And my earliest memories -- the ones that don't involve TV -- are associated with AM Radio.

Even after they broke up, The Beatles were still being played on the radio constantly as the four members embarked on solo careers.

By the mid-1970s, when the Rock 'n' Roll Music compilations were coming out, The Beatles were being played on the radio all over again. Even as the solo members cranked out Top 40 hits, they were competing with their own old tracks.

Me next to the John Lennon statue near the (new) Cavern Club in Liverpool, April 1999 The statue is meant to look like the cover of Lennon's solo Rock 'n' Roll album recorded with Phil Spector.

As I got older, The Beatles became my band. As my mother and biological father were both big music fans, that's an important point.

My father only liked black American r'n'b and soul and my mom was similar so they both didn't like The Beatles very much.

So, I sort of enjoyed having a band I felt so strongly about that neither of them liked.

On December 9, 1980, I was sitting in my 8th grade algebra class when the ever-cute Mrs. Haines asked if anyone was a fan of The Beatles. Mrs. Haines was crying a bit as she related her love of the band and her sadness at the previous night's news of the death of John Lennon.

I think only me and one of my friends raised our hands, the rest of the class was listening to Top 40 music and stuff like Styx to care too much about The Beatles.

After that, I would go through phases where I'd listen to The Beatles and then kind of avoid their stuff for a few years.

In April 1999, I finally made it to Liverpool and, as I was sitting on that silly Magical Mystery Tour bus, I sort of had a new appreciation of the band.

The tour guide just casually noted the spot outside the window where Paul McCartney and John Lennon met at some church social or something in 1957.

Suddenly, The Beatles weren't those cartoons in Yellow Submarine (1968), nor the guys in those newsreels or movies.

It was a bit weird to think how the chance meeting of two kids in that nondescript Liverpool suburb could have so changed the course of modern popular culture.

Moments later and we were strolling the real Strawberry Field -- it's singular; read the link.

I can't ever get sick of John Lennon's music and there's a part of me that still gets a chill every time I hear "Strawberry Fields Forever".

"Let me take you down, 'cause I'm going to..."