I was a John Lennon fan before I knew who John Lennon was.
My earliest recollection of him was unfortunately of the ‘what was you doing when you heard?’ variety. I was opening my presents on the morning of the 9th of December, which just so happened to be my ninth birthday. I remember seeing a newspaper lying around nearby, headlines screaming of his murder that had taken place the night before. I had no idea who he was, I just had a vague notion that he used to be in a musical group called The Beatles, and seemed pretty well known.
That was about it.
As time went on, and I gradually became familiar with the group whose music seemed to be omnipresent, I just thought of them as a collective, rather than four individuals. I didn’t know who wrote and sang what. But then, in my early teens, as my interest and love of their music deepened, I found that the majority of my favourite Beatles songs were John’s. And of the songs that were bonafide collaborations between John and Paul, my preference was for his parts, for example on We Can Work It Out, and A Day In The Life. Not exclusively, but generally.
From my younger days, every time the festive season transformed the usual fayre of the radio stations, my favourite Christmas song was always Happy Xmas (War Is Over), many years before I discovered that this was in fact a Lennon song.
I was a John Lennon fan, but wasn’t aware of it yet.
But now I am not as ignorant. I am a fully-fledged Fab Four nerd, and could bore you rigid with tons of throwaway trivia. Relax-I won’t.
On this, the thirty-fifth anniversary of John Lennon’s death, I will leave it to his friends to make the tribute, as they sought healing through creativity in the aftermath of that December night.
The first video, a montage of photographs, is of the moving song Here Today, released by Paul McCartney on his album Tug Of War, less than two years after the killing of his former songwriting buddy. ‘And if I said I really knew you well what would your answer be?’ ‘Knowing you, you’d probably laugh and say that we were worlds apart.’
The second video, containing photographs and film footage, is of the song All Those Years Ago, by George Harrison. It was released just five months after Lennon’s death, and, with Ringo Starr on drums and Paul McCartney on backing vocals, it was the first time that all three had appeared on the same recording since The Beatles. ‘Living with good and bad, I always looked up to you.’
R.I.P John, from Paul, George and Ringo.