Now I know that this isn’t necessarily an “album review” or a “song of the day” or even a “concert review.” I, Mitch Inkrott, am writing this article for nothing else than I feel the absolute need to. On October 9th, 1940 the world was graced with the birth of what would become one of the most influential people in the history of music and culture. I am of course speaking of John Winston Lennon.
As someone who is one of the biggest fans of the Beatles and his solo work, I am also a student of popular culture. I owe an immense amount of my future career to the life of this individual. So, on his 70th birthday I felt compelled to write something in his honor. For the 20 or so odd years John Lennon was involved in music and art, he set the pace for what was to come. He was a political figure who dominated headlines. He referred to his band as “bigger then Jesus” and was investigate by the FBI. But, John was a soft being who care dearly for his friends, family, and possibly most importantly, his fellow man.
John was a great father. He all but ended his professional music career when his son Sean was born. Much of his time was spent in his apartment raising Sean by himself because he understood just how important a father can be to his son. Lennon understood this because his father was never there when he was growing up just outside of Liverpool at his aunt’s house. John tried getting over his father, but when his father showed up late in his life, not seeking money or fame but to just get to know his son, John obliged. It was at this time John found out that his father was absent because his mother’s parents did not approve of his father, so his father was on a boat working to send money home to provide for him.
This was the story for John’s entire life. It was full of ups and downs. His family situation most likely laid the framework for the humanitarian that he eventually became. Lennon pushed for human rights, and even campaigned for women’s right with his song “Woman Is The Nigger Of The World.” He campaigned for peace, a campaign that would eventually lead to him being investigated by the FBI and nearly deported. His song “Imagine” is one of the most influential songs in the history of time, and the ideas behind it are the reasons I have the word tattooed across my wrist. John challenged his listeners to tap into their innermost feelings and let them know it was alright to think that everything WASN’T “ok,” which at the time was contrary to popular belief within the music community.
So, before I begin to ramble, do yourself a favor on Saturday, listen to a Beatles song or even a solo song and remember just how important John Lennon was to the music and culture of today. His outspoken lifestyle as the leader of the most influential band in the history of music paved the way for the personalities we see today. Now, I understand there are some very obnoxious rock stars out there, but without John bleeding his emotions all over a piece of paper and truly expressing his feelings, many of the songs today may not be out there. Without John Lennon the Beatles would have had to settle for Paul McCartney’s bubble gum pop. While McCartney is great, it was his collaboration with John that made the concept album and the idea of reinventing a band possible.
Happy Birthday John, you are dearly missed.