Happy Birthday, John Lennon!
It is exactly 75 years to the day Julia Lennon gave birth to the man who would not only go on to become a dreamboat for millions of music fans across the world, but would also embed himself firmly in popular imagination as the musician who dared to “Imagine.”
It would perhaps not be so difficult to imagine how John Lennon would feel if he was still amongst us today. In this metamodernist world where hard-liners are responsible for international tensions flaring up everyday, where the only way out for a student grappling with paranoia seems to be picking up a gun and going on a rampage, where fundamentalism and intolerance seem to be the new-age values, his presence would certainly have done our lives a world of good.
Which is not to say, of course, that if John Lennon was alive, it would have made our world a better place almost automatically. Nobody would be naive enough to assume something as reductionist as that, but perhaps Lennon, and his music, would have impressed upon us a need to reevaluate our opinions, withdraw our tenets that advocate militancy, and perhaps, only perhaps, it would have given our musicians today someone to look up to. For wasn’t music an allayer of fears, isn’t art our fulcrum of morality?
It doesn’t seem that way. In this digital age where music is synonymous with peer-bashing and a sense of overexposure, John Lennon’s focus on humanism would certainly have helped. It would have made our teens realize the significance of music in the first place; made them understand that creativity, and creativity alone, can cancel out the destructive forces within us.
But now is not the time to talk about the could-have-beens. Because of a young man who read too much between the lines in Catcher in the Rye, Lennon was shot in the back four times returning to his Dakota home in December 1980. His “imagination” crumpled to the ground in a moment, and it seemed the powers of the deep, dark, narcissistic world had taken over.
Only, it did not quite turn out that way. Thirty-five years after his death, Lennon is still a darling of music fans across the world; people who dare to bring about a positive change in their lives look up to him. Not only musicians, but activists, writers, filmmakers, and artists all look for that elusive spark of inspiration in John Lennon. It seems Lennon’s music has finally prevailed. It has evaded boundaries like it was meant to do.
And today, it would not be an overstatement to say that Lennon’s music resonates as strongly with the world, like when he started out first with The Beatles. The umpteenth peace processions, from Central Park’s East Meadow to the coast of Reykjavik in Iceland, are testaments to the fact that music fans will always hold Lennon close to their hearts. As E! Online noted in their report, all John ever wanted to do was let people come out and express their selves.
“His legacy was his vision of a more peaceful world—a concept that could be achieved, in Lennon’s mind, if people could focus on living their best life and treating other people well today.”
So how are you going to wish John Lennon a happy birthday? Listening to his music and celebrating his message for universal peace would be a good start.
[Photo by Ron Case / Getty Images]