The 40th Anniversary Of John Lennon’s Death

John Lennon & The 40th Anniversary of His Death

John Lennon in studio c 1964 photo London Features International

The Beatles John Lennon playing guitar and singing in studio c. 1964 photo London Features International

If you were born after 1980, you did not know John Lennon. You couldn’t have, as today marks the 40th anniversary of his death.

This anniversary marks a particularly somber note. After 2020, Lennon will be dead longer than he lived.

If you’re under the age of 40, you may have listened to Lennon’s music, read articles or books, seen movies, documentaries or videos about John Lennon, but you didn’t exist in the same sphere of time and place. You can’t help when you were born, but for many people like me born in a world where John Lennon was a living presence, that simple luck of natal experience changes the way you think about the Beatles and view life.

In the past forty years Lennon has become a near-mythological figure. That’s probably not so for those of us who lived during the rise and fall of the Beatles and Lennon. Perhaps he was worshiped by some, but not to the point of being more popular than Jesus as he once half-joked. He was a real person, passionate about many things. Lennon conveyed his messages through music, writing, clothes and spoken words about what the state of the world was and what it could be.

If you saw John Lennon walking around in New York City as countless New Yorkers did in the 1970s, you generally left him alone. That was one of the great things Lennon loved about his adopted city – a false sense of security and anonymity where celebrities could go out in public and be invisible.

Before John Lennon was shot to death on December 8, 1980 there was the promise of more music, more ideas – more John Lennon.

We miss hearing from John Lennon the man, the thinker, the activist, and proponent of peace and love. We knew he was a complicated man with faults like all of us. But through his art Lennon tried to make the world a better place.

I’m still angry that Lennon was taken from us by a madman. I was robbed. Your children were robbed. And future generations were robbed. John Lennon lives on through his music.  But our planet needs John Lennon today. The world is one genius poorer.

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