Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Dream After #9

Today is John Lennon's seventieth birthday, not that there's any need for a card. He is not among us to celebrate or observe it as Mark David Chapman intervened and expedited (with extreme prejudice) the birth/life/death cycle almost thirty years ago.

Today is also the thirty-fifth birthday of Sean Lennon, the only child John and his wife, Yoko Ono, had in the course of their marriage. And I realize more and more every day that the latter has more relevance to people as my generation continues to fade to black and 'The Beatles' becomes the answer to 'what band was Paul in before Wings?'(sorry, Kara; I still remember the excited discovery in your voice as you held up Rubber Soul and looked at the cover).

If you're under forty-five(ish) and/or lacked older siblings, I cannot place what The Beatles, of whom Lennon speculated would always be the first mention in his obit (and was), meant to white kids in the USA before their impact spread to black, brown and every other color on the planet people who were twenty-five years of age and younger.

I grew up with rock and roll as the soundtrack to my life (I still quote it the way folks can offer you Leviticus or Nehemiah (and no, he wasn't the bullfrog, or the bulldog). The Beatles and the bands crossing the ocean over the bridge they built (and I won't try to name them all, but you can if you want) defined that music and when I hear it now I cannot grasp it's all so old because I can remember it so well and I'm a kid, so that would mean ......

I won't bore you with the 'where I was when Ed Sullivan had them on his Sunday night variety show' (and not merely because you probably want to google television variety show to see what that was all about (and you're welcome, btw), but because your parents and grandparents have the same stories.

There are events nearly everywhere around the globe today in Lennon's honor-physical events to include in Liverpool, and in Strawberry Fields in NYC's Central Park, through repackaged reissues and updated/'enhanced' compilations of previous material (to attempt, I guess, to answer the 'just how much money is enough?' question). There are movies, plays and analysis, serious and/or somewhat surreal (on that link, maybe lithium as a party favor isn't a good idea), enough to last us until his 80th birthday and beyond.

But as we continue to become a different world and soon everything (I) we know will be swept away, to include the audacious optimism of four beat players from a coastal town a quarter of the way around the world with what they thought was American R&B without, perhaps, grasping that by so doing they were changing it forever, leaving only their remarkable music to mark their time on this orb. Many will spend today and beyond discussing and arguing over what John Lennon has become or what he ever was, when I think we need to be more grateful that he EVER was and continue to be, as best we can, the (words and) music in the dance of our own lives.
-bill kenny

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