Today, of course, would have been the 70th birthday of John Lennon.
Although I was born after the Beatles broke up I am certainly old enough to remember him when he was alive. Abbey Road was the one Beatles album I remember from my early childhood and to this day when I think of Lennon I think of him in that white suit on the zebra crossing near Abbey Road studios in St. John's Wood. (I had the thrill of crossing that street during my stint in London fifteen years ago.)
His assassination took place on my younger brother Micah's sixth birthday. I found out about it the following morning when I went down to the kitchen for breakfast. It took a moment for ime to awake from my stupor and for the magnitude of the news to sink in. When I arrived at school, I remember a girl leaning against a wall playing a Beatles song on a portable cassette player.
When I came home CBC Radio had abandoned its regular programming to play Beatles and Lennon songs.
After my Dad arrived home from work, he lit a candle in his honor. His mother had done the same when John F. Kennedy was assassinated seventeen years earlier. Such an honor is normally reserved for a Jew.
I often imagine what it would be like if John Lennon were still alive.
I imagine that he would have been a vigorous opponent of the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I imagine he would have called President Bush a war criminal. But I am also imagine he would still be making great music and that is perhaps the greatest tragedy of all.
One can only imagine what the state of rock n' roll music would be like if Lennon was still around. Unfortunately, tomorrow never knows. Nevertheless, I think that music today is poorer for his absence.
Later this week, my parents will be going to New York for a couple of months. They will be staying a short distance from the Dakota on Central Park West and West 72nd. If John Lennon were still alive I can imagine my parents running into him and Yoko in Central Park. I can imagine my Dad and Lennon playing some mind games with each other.
Happy Birthday John.