Yesterday marked 30 years since the shooting death of former Beatle and musical genius John Lennon, who, even though I was only three-years-old at that time, has remained a huge inspiration to me throughout my life. Lennon’s music was, and still is, a perfect example of what good music should be – heartfelt and honest, poetic and thought-provoking and, most of all, as real as real gets.
Politically, Lennon and I share many opinions and philosophies, especially as it concerns the concept of peace. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not an all-out pacifist and I understand that, at times, military force is unavoidable. Yet Lennon’s idea of peace was truly remarkable in that it wasn’t contrived or aimed at political gain or notoriety. The man simply thought it would be beneficial to us all if we’d just “Give Peace a Chance.”
From his earliest days in the Fab Four, Lennon astonished people with his clever wit, charm and unwavering dedication to speak his mind. Along with Harrison, McCartney and Ringo, Lennon brought about changes in the music industry which still resound today. The modern musical concepts of rock-n-roll albums, bands that write their own music (relatively unheard of in pop music when the Beatles first appeared on the scene) and the songwriting process itself would not be the same without his many contributions.
As I said, I was three years old at the time of Lennon’s shooting. While I don’t remember it distinctly, a touching story of mine involves that sad and unfortunate event. My stepfather – a talented musician and guitarist in his own right – was sitting in front of the television set with tears in his eyes (like so many others). As one who grew up with the Beatles, and all they brought to music, he was obviously decimated by the news of Lennon’s murder. As the story goes, I went over to my stepfather, patted him on the shoulder and said, “It’ll be okay Steve.”
So in tribute to Mr. Lennon, I thought it would be nice to print some of my favorite quotes from the former Beatle, in thanks for the influence his music and passion for peace have had on me through the decades.
“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”
“Everything is clearer when you’re in love.”
“I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It’s just that the translations have gone wrong.”
“Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.”
“Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what insane is all about.”
“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”
“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”
And my personal favorite – “All you need is love. Love is all you need.”
John Lennon, October 9, 1940 – December 8, 1980. Rest in Peace.