John Lennon — voice of a generation

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“I never needed anybody’s help in any way.”

 

“We [The Beatles] are more popular than Jesus now.”

 

”War is over if
you want it.”

John Lennon

 

 

John Lennon wrote pop songs with Paul McCartney in the 1960s and 70s, and performed them with The Beatles. I was eleven when they first made it to the top of the music charts, and each song they released thereafter became a milestone of my adolescence — in fact, of my entire generation’s.

Still, I didn’t know whether to like them at first. Back in 1963 one was supposed to choose between The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. The Beatles had sweet voices and shining faces; The Stones were bad and ugly. At first the prettiness made me hesitate, but in time it was The Beatles’ ability to cast dreams that won me over (listen to Eleanor Rigby); it was more than just rock and roll.

I liked The Stones too, but it turned out that John Lennon’s loveable cheekiness hid a more complex and thoughtful bad boy than any of The Stones. That’s what I identified with.

One of Lennon's more thoughtful moments led to his statement (left) comparing the popularity of the Beatles with that of Jesus Christ. It was printed in an English newspaper, where it caused barely a ripple. Picked up in the United States, however, it provoked mass burnings of Beatles recordings and a campaign characterizing Lennon as the Antichrist — even Satan himself. Logically, his statement held water; emotionally, it was a time bomb that exploded when he wasn't even looking. My awkward adolescent self identified with this all too easily.


Would you introduce your daughter to this man?

 

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