09 December 2010

30 years : RIP JWL

Where was I on this day 30 years ago? I wasn't even born yet.

People are born every day. People die every day. But every once in a while there are those whose lives touch millions of others in the public sphere, and those tend to get remembered a lot more.

In case you haven't figured out who I'm referring to, today is (for the next forty minutes in this time zone) the 8th of December. 30 years ago, John Lennon was shot in New York. It's kind of odd to think of losing a musical hero before you were even born, but hey.

I can't remember when I was introduced to the Beatles, but it was at a pretty young age. Before Peter Jackson tackled LOTR, "Yellow Submarine" was pretty close to being my all-time favourite film. I can listen to a Beatles song and with fairly high accuracy tell you by ear which member is providing lead vocals.

Have you ever read John's poetry? He published two books that I can think of off the top of my head, and they're well worth tracking down - try your local library. "A Spaniard In The Works" is the title of one of them. He had a love for wordplay and puns that comes across a lot more on the page than in his music. And if you thought the lyrics to "I Am The Walrus" were weird...

I may not have been around when John died, but to this day I remember coming home from late classes at university on the bus, and catching a snippet of news that I thought sounded like "George Harrison died". My first words through the doors when I got home was "Is it really true? George died?" I didn't even have to give a last name - my we-were-teens-in-the-60s parents knew.

Musically, I must admit, I am more of a George fan. Especially when comparing post-Beatles solo careers of JPG&R. Lyrically, though, John wins hands down for me. Both during and post-Beatles.

So farewell John Lennon. And farewell Leslie Nielsen, too.

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