If John Lennon were still alive he would've been 70 yesterday; he died in 1980 when he was 40 years old. I watched The U.S. vs. John Lennon, which seemed as good a way as any to celebrate his birth. The radio station played “Nowhere Man”, a song Lennon wrote about himself, and no review of his life would be complete without mentioning the song “Imagine”. Lennon believed in peaceful revolution and advocated for human rights, especially where he saw their abuse. It's all there in his song, here's the message, paraphrased: Imagine no religion, no countries, nothing to kill or die for; no possessions, greed or hunger. Imagine sharing all the world, living for today, in peace. I wonder what Lennon would've said had he lived? His song is probably the most widely recognized in the world, a dream countless people still aspire to.
But Lennon's life was not a fairy tale. He didn't really know his parents. He seems to have been very abusive of people close to him in his earlier years. His affair with Yoko Ono (who herself faced hardship in early life) led to leaving his first wife and son, whose existence was kept secret to protect his career. While with Ono she and John became burned out from drugs, quacks, emotional breakdowns and media attention. His relationship with Ono was inconstant: she had relationships with gigolos, and at her suggestion he had an affair with their personal assistant May Pang for several years. Mark Chapman, who shot him in 1980, was obsessed by Salinger's book The Catcher in the Rye. Salinger himself was interested in a litany of spiritual, medical, and nutritional belief systems. All told, it makes for a pretty messy story. But out of all this there was produced moments of beauty, and many people found inspiration.