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‘You may say I am a dreamer, but I am not the only one’ is one of the greatest inspirational quotes. It makes us believe in our dreams again, makes us believe that we can make the world a better place. This line is from a song of one of the greatest musicians of all times, John Lennon.
Rock star, music composer, songwriter, and recording artist- John Winston Lennon was born October 9, 1940, in Liverpool, Merseyside, NW England, UK, during a German air raid in World War II. John wasn’t a very bright student at school, but he did show a very artistic side. Lennon met Paul McCartney in 1957 and invited him to join his music group. They eventually formed the most successful songwriting partnership in musical history, The Beatles. Lennon left The Beatles in 1969 and later released albums with his wife Yoko Ono, and others.
Lennon kicked off his post-Beatles career with back-to-back hits. Apart from being associated with the Beatles, John Lennon himself is a success, a rock star, a dreamer, and, according to some, ‘a musical genius.’ John’s career didn’t stop when the band split; instead, he went on with his wife Yoko Ono to bestow the world with some of his masterpieces.
His first solo album of popular music was Live Peace In Toronto, recorded in 1969 (prior to the breakup of the Beatles) at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Festival in Toronto ) with a Plastic Ono Band including Eric Clapton and Klaus Voormann. He also recorded three singles in his initial solo phase: the anti-war anthem Give Peace a Chance, ‘Cold Turkey,’ which was about drug withdrawal symptoms, and ‘Instant Karma’. The music of the Plastic Ono Band was said to be so emotionally raw that to this day they are difficult to listen to among songs of extraordinary beauty and simplicity. Lennon’s pain of being abandoned by his parents can be recognized in the way he screams ‘Mama don’t go’ and ‘Daddy go home.’
One of his greatest works, ‘Imagine,’ was released sometime in the year 1971 and was an instant success. This album had proved incontrovertibly that he was capable of greatness on his own. The change in the genre of music in this album is noticeable. It is as if John had returned with confidence once again, leaving behind all his abandonment issues. The songs are melodic and beautiful, and inspire hope in the listeners.
John’s next album ‘Somewhere in New York City,’ released in 1972, can be distinguished as an anti-war album. However, this album is said by many to be his weakest work. Yet it contains some great tracks, and like the name suggests, the album was to an extent inspired by New York where John had moved with Yoko.
In 1973, while John and Yoko had split up, John released some of his greatest works like Mind Games. The albums he made during this period include Walls and Bridges (1974) and Rock N Roll (1975). The mix is astonishingly good, and it was during these years John had his first-number one as a solo artist.
Other than being celebrated for his amazing music, John was an activist and also did charity work. His song ‘Give Peace a Chance’ was written as an anti-war anthem, and probably will be cherished as that forever. Another example of how seriously John thought about peace was when he returned his Member of the British Empire (MBE), awarded by Queen Elizabeth to the Beatles in 1965, in protest over Great Britain’s support for the Vietnam War in September 1969. This had seized the media and earned him great publicity, but he stated he was going to return the award anyways, and the war issue just triggered it. In the year 1972, Lennon performed a charity concert at Madison Square Gardens, to help improve living conditions for mentally handicapped children.
Like they say, ‘Life is not a matter of counting years, it’s a matter of making years count.’ John Lennon led a short but fulfilling life. He gave the world the gift of music, and fought for what he believed in. John is still cherished in this world through his music and by the examples he set, such as ‘Bed-in’ for peace, which many celebrities follow to date.
Image Courtesy of John Lennon