Monday, December 08, 2014


I read the news today — oh boy

(OCT. 9, 1940-DEC. 8, 1980)

Horrible day. I can still remember hearing the news late at night on the radio and being too despondent to go to my college classes the next day. It hit me harder than some family deaths: It really is the JFK moment for those of us of that age. I also remember watching ol' Walter Cronkite that night, practically daring him not to lead with this story and devote the proper amount of time to it. He did, as I recall. Lennon was a human, spiky, contradictory character, not the stick figure saint Yoko Inc. has tried to turn him into lately. Hell of a songwriter, too. My only regret is that Lennon's penchant for self-publicity and the fact of his early death has always obscured Paul McCartney's gigantic contributions to the popular culture and especially the music of the 20th century. Hopefully, at some point, we'll get beyond the either/or and see them both for the massive talents they were. Imagine that.
I saw McCartney perform last year in Seattle. The man still has it (and more of it than most people ever will), and since he was performing songs from the Beatles and Wings catalog, it's the closest I'll ever get to seeing the Beatles live, barring Ringo touring with Sir Paul at some point.

As for Lennon's death, he was the last great popular idealist left in American society. Idealism can come back, but it was dealt a near deadly blow that day.
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