by DC Magazine music editor Ben New
It was 20 years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught his band to play......
It is now 29 years ago today that the recondite voice of a generation was silenced for eternity by an assassin's bullet.
It was 2 years and 203 days ago that a piece I wrote about John and my remembrance of this tragic day called "Strange Days Indeed" was first published by Duly Consider. I had asked on a thread of comments if people would share their thoughts about John Lennon and what he, and his work meant to them for a future article. I received quite a few replies from you.
As many of us reflect today on the life and death of a man who gave us so much music and stood steadfast for the cause of peace in the world, I can't think of a better time to share these beautiful thoughts with our reading community. I am posting the comments only, but perhaps you will recognize your own story here. I thank each and every one of you for sharing these with me and now with many others who also miss John on this day. There is also a link at the bottom of the these comments which I have received from so many of you via e mails and social networks to "STRANGE DAYS INDEED" which I hope you will visit. It remains my personal favorite of all the writing I've done for Duly Consider and couldn't be more poignant on this day. Without further delay, here are OUR stories:
REMEMBERING JOHN LENNON
Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. R.I.P. John.
What I always liked best about John is he always remained "one of us", using his fame for good causes instead of ego bolstering or "cashing in".
I have heard that when a new beatles album was coming out, it was an event like the Super Bowl back in the day. The versatility in the song writing, the 'differentness' of many of the songs strikes me as somewhat unique. There was[and is] a range there that just isn't there with so many artists. with many groups you heard one or two songs, you heard them all. these guys were different, often surprising. That unpredictability[except for an emphasis on vocals, that was pretty much across the board] may be why each album was so anticipated
I was 8 years old when I first saw the Beatles (1964) at the old Ed Sullivan theater downtown. I saw John Lennon playing live on stage. Thank you for those wonderful memories John.
"For the other half of the sky..."
All we are saying..... is give PEACE a chance.
Love you and miss you, John.
Rest in peace.
There will never be another.I was in High School when I bought Mind Games on 8 track... Wore it out.... Free the people now, Do it, Do it, Do it now ! When you are caught with your hands on the kill, You still gotta swallow that pill, As you slip and slide down that hill, On the blood of the people you killed ! Yes, I was a wild, hippie child... Regrets....SOME !!!
Lennon traveled around the world. He got to experience these many different religions. He wrote his music on how he saw it, as most musicians do. He shared his point of view. With him two and two always made four. Today's society does not think before it leaps and four is ignored. That is why we have a hard time having peace in this world.
Lennon was a man who believed what said. He was a man who walked the walk of his rhetoric. He was a man of the people, who was simply a person and not some cardboard, glad-handing, smiling, fluffed hair imitation of a person. We will be unlikely to see his kind again any time soon.
Give Peace A Chance - if only we could hear that now...........
I'll always remember Mind Games.
I guess it's almost true to say that John Lennon's death really did shock the world. (I recall photos of Russian teenagers in Moscow with placards saying "Lennon, not Lenin"). And while BoxMonkey, above, is correct, that there are always new heros to be sought, the nature of the hero changes as does the nature of the times. John Lennon was the perfect embodiment of his times.
I was checking out of a hotel in Honolulu, going to the airport, when a desk clerk told me of Lennon's death the previous night -- and mentioned that the killer had once worked in Honolulu, at a nearby hotel. I was on a flight to San Francisco, where most people I met were quite shocked. A few days later, in New York, I went round to the Dakota, where flowers were still piled in the street. It's weird, but those memories seem from so long ago, but the magic of Lennon's music is very much here and now.
I believe that those who truly love freedom are naturally brave. John was a fearless freedom fighter.
A few of my German friends urged me to go to Hamburg to see this new British group that played fantastic music. At that time, I thought that the only music worth listening to was by Americans such as Buddy Holly and Elvis. I relented and drove to Hamburg with a few of my German friends. We went to this dingy strip bar in Hamburg's notorious red-light district, the Reeperbahn (from Cabaret: heute gehen wier bumelm auf der Reeperbahn). That was my first encounter with the Beatles. Even then, John Lennon stood out in my mind even though all my friends thought McCartney was the leader. Lennon's 'Give Peace a Chance' was my mantra during the Vietnam years and his 'Imagine' is still my all time favorite.
Thank you Dr. Winston O'Boogie.
A true working-class hero. I ran into him one nite/morning in the late seventies in Greenwich Village, he was just a regular guy.... Warm memories
.... John was passionate about a simple concept - peace and equality. I always did and I always will admire him for that. The world has never been the same since his death.
WORKING CLASS HERO
It was a weird warm night that December in 1980. I got off work and got to my friend’s house and was told by him, John had been shot. Everyone had something go through their head when they heard the news. Some thought, well there goes one of the true voice of the people. Others thought, a Great Voice in music is now gone. And here I sat on the step to the front door. The tears running down my face, unashamed for showing this emotion. And all I could think of is that, I will never get to jam with this man. I will not get to talk to him and get to know him better. He would have taken the time to do that if I would have met him. He was that kind of a man.
I would love to have John around at this time.
I guess you had to live in the 60's to really understand the power this man had.
I was in college when I heard about it.
Went directly from Providence to New York City,
where I paid homage outside the Dakota.
Thanks for bearing witness today, Ben. I learned the news in a curious and weird way.. Hitchhiking down the Pacific Highway with my partner, we got an early-morning ride, squeezing into a car with some guys who virtually filled it and looked like they'd been driving all night. "Did you hear the news?" one asked. "One of the Beatles got shot". My flash, silent, response was "I hope it wasn't John". "Which one?" I asked. "Oh Paul, I think".. AAAARRRGGH! I learned to think more highly of Paul later but never to love him like I did John. He was the man! Sarcastic, opinionated, obnoxious, didn't suffer fools gladly, a real pain-in-the arse to all authority figures and the leader of the pack! A survivor on his life, a survivor today in the memory of untold millions. Time for a few tears.. [First typing attempt produced Tome for a few rears]Miss him and his music....
I miss the hope he represented
John was a peaceful being. It would be interesting to see how his music would have been influenced by today’s violence. Clearly not all that different then Viet Nam.
Thank you, John Lennon for living a peaceful life. Our lives have forever been touched because you brought the world the music that was locked inside such a calming soul.
This is about a great man, & talented artist, who was taken away from us much too soon!
There are those moments burned into the psyche that I remember as if they had happened a second ago. The Beatles appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show was one of them. The positive energy that exploded off the screen that night inspired so many future musicians including myself to pick up a guitar. The opening riff to "I Want To Hold Your Hand" just jumped out of the radio in the early days of 1964. It was impossible not to sit up and take notice of the song and it's difference from the other songs on the radio at that time.
I remember a David Frost show in a New York studio with John and Yoko. At the time John would not talk to any journalist as he didn't like them but he got into a argument with the audience as he sang a song about the 43 people that had died in the Attica Prison riots; 39 convicts and 4 guards. He made no distinction between them just 43 useless deaths, but some of the audience took exception to them all being lumped together. I believe that would be his view today about Iraq, All the useless deaths not just one side. As I said an extraordinary man.
John & crew performed in Dallas, one year. A girl I went to High School with, went to see the performance. The glass front of the hotel shattered from the fans pressing against the glass to catch a glimse of John. The girl was cut pretty bad and was hospitalized. After she return to school, with scars all over her, all she kept talking about, was the visit she got while she was in the hospital and how it was all worth the pain. Yes, John & his crew stopped by to see how she was doing. "We all live in a yellow submarine...", one of many songs, I remember from those days.
I remember when I heard that he got shot. I wore a black armband for a week.
"Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans."
February of 1964. The Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan. All I wanted to hear them sing was "I Wanna Hold Your Hand", which I'd been hearing on the radio. Nobody had any idea how talented these guys were or what prolific writers they would become. I had just begun dating my wife. We've been married for 40 years. Ah, the Beatles and at a time when I was finding the love of my life. The happiest of memories.
The night John Lennon died. I had a photography show years ago and a few of the images bore that title. Some how my friends and neighbors collected together and ended up in downtown Philadelphia. First in Rittenhouse Square under the WMMR window. And then on the steps of the Art Museum. Someone brought a big parachute to play with. We all needed each other that night and long into the next day. The poet had a huge effect on the way I think about things... Tears again.
To John...a hero of mine and many...Remember watching Monday Night Football which they interupted to announce the shooting..."No, no, nooo...paced about our trailer at the time...punched hole in bedroom door...then cried...I include John Lennon in my prayers to this day...Quite a guy...Peace...
This remembrance made me cry. Great great article. Goodnight sweet prince. And thank you....
John had the ability to express what the collective consciousness of his generation yearned to hear.
He was an original, never again will we see the likes of John Lennon.
One windy cold night in New York I wondered in to a little Italian Bistro to escape the weather, and there seated at the table no more than 3 ft. away, sipping an espresso, was John Lennon. I wanted to speak to him but really didn't wish to disturb or hassle him. So I sat there kind of like a deer staring into the headlights. John glanced over and smiled. I guess he'd seen this look of befuddlement more than a few times before. I wanted to speak but nothing came out. John laughed and said "Hey mate, you should try this chocolate, It does wonders for ya, they make it right here in the back" He broke off a piece, handed it to me and said " the owner is a bloody magician!". I managed to thank him and exchange a few words. For being one of the most recognized faces on the planet, he was remarkably comfortable in public and a "regular guy". Goodnight John,
I 'd like to believe you have found the peace you gallantly sought in this world.
And thank you, you were right about the chocolate. It was delicious.
STRANGE DAYS INDEED
CLICK HERE FOR BEN'S ORIGINAL ARTICLE at DULY CONSIDER
A comforting read on this day.