Like the Moon, and the Stars, and the Sun

27 years ago today, John Lennon was murdered. He was only 40 years old.

I am, in fact, a huge fan of John’s. We never existed on this earth together — I was born 4 years too late, and some asshole took him out several decades too soon — but he has influenced my life in a multitude of ways. I consider him to be inspiring, even in his wrongness and naivety, brilliant on every level and most likely the greatest songwriter to ever live.

I’ve chosen a photograph with Yoko Ono because I think that’s what he would have wanted. The treatment and public understanding of Yoko and why it’s a feminist issue is a whole other post. I would have used a photograph with Sean as well, if I had found an equally good one, because that’s what John felt his life was: Yoko, Sean and music. I think that Yoko also serves as an important reminder that John was many things. When he was young, two of those things were a misogynist and an asshole. In his later years, one of them was a feminist. Lennon has always been to me a form of proof that people can change for the better. In particular, it’s not impossible for sexist men to become some of our best allies.

To both fellow-fans and those who know little but want to learn more, I could not more highly recommend the final major interview with John and Yoko: All We Are Saying. If you haven’t read it, you should. It’s one of my favorite books.

To other Lennon fans out there, two topics for discussion, both of which John probably wouldn’t have approved, but hey, he was a crank about this sort of thing:

1. Favorite John songs. Mine include Revolution, Day in the Life, Happiness is a Warm Gun, I Want You (She’s So Heavy), Instant Karma, Imagine (duh), and his version of Stand By Me, which knocks the wind out of me and brings a tear to my eye.

2. Tell any of your Lennon experiences. How he or his music influenced you, cool Lennon-related things that you’ve seen/done, etc. And maybe I’ll share some of my own in the comments.

And to make John (and Yoko) happy, here’s an exercise of which they would approve, to be done either in the comments or just in private on your own time: think about the change you want to see in the world and how we can get there.

0 thoughts on “Like the Moon, and the Stars, and the Sun

  1. Merope

    Favorite John songs are “Don’t Let Me Down”, “In My Life”, and “I’m Only Sleeping”.

    Favorite John stories… well, my best friend sums up my feelings on her website (http://purplelagoon.org) better than I could (though I was a Beatles fan from birth):
    ***
    There’s a clip in Anthology from a British TV show Ć  la Saturday Night Live, in which the wall of the set blows up and the Beatles come bursting through, all laughing and inexorable with guitars in hand. That’s a pretty apt description of how these boys came barging into my life.

    In the spring of 2002, I enrolled in the Beatles class at Indiana University. I was not a Beatles fan, but I’d heard great things about the class, I liked “oldies” music, and I thought it’d be a fun way to end my senior year. I had no idea how much my life was about to change.

    It happened practically overnight. Suddenly, my old CD collection began gathering dust. My vocabulary sprouted “whilst”s and “anyroad”s. I devoured every Beatle book and video I could get my hands on. And one night, less than three weeks after beginning the course, I suddenly burst into tears while listening to “Julia.” I was crying for John, who was killed when I was exactly five months old ā€” an event I never dreamed I would be crying over twenty-one years later. And in that moment, I knew that these four amazing people and their beautiful noise had become part of my life forever.
    ***
    Resquiat in pacem, John Ono Lennon.

    Reply
  2. Cara Post author

    A BEATLES CLASS???? WHERE DO I SIGN UP?

    Any Beatles books recommendations? I’ve read a bunch, but there’s so much written that it’s hard to sort the good stuff from all of the crap. And though the last thing I need right now is more books, I’m still always looking šŸ™‚

    Reply
  3. Journeywoman

    Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds –hands down. I also like Beautiful Boy.

    John is still a force in my life, I try to live to his example.

    I remember the day he was killed, I told my brother and my brother was one of the thousands going to central park.

    I was 9 years old.

    i do say one thing, don’t forget Julian. John had 2 sons and both got their father’s good looks and musical talent.

    Reply
  4. JaneDoe

    Great post! I’m a huge Lennon/Ono lover too. My boyfriend always jokes the best way to start a fight with me is to say Yoko broke up the Beatles. That’s when the gloves come off!
    Hmmm, favorite song would be “Dream #9” or maybe “Gimmie Some Truth.”
    I really fell in love with the Beatles when I was in High School, when I decided to develop a crush on John Lennon rather than the one of the Backstreet or In Sync boys. I learned to play the guitar and also briefly started smoking to be more like him! Thankfully it was the guitar playing that stuck.

    RIP John.

    Reply
  5. Cara Post author

    Journey,

    I’m always incredibly unsure how to treat Julian. John was a pretty shitty father to him — goes back to that whole being an asshole in his early life. They were apparently trying to form a relationship when John was killed, but . . . Julian also seems to have little interest in publicly connecting himself with his father. Which I think is perfectly understandable. Anyway, it always strikes me as kind of a gray area. And sadly, it would be disingenuous to suggest that Julian was a big part of John’s life or vice versa.

    Jane, agreed. Anyone who talks shit about Yoko, particularly saying that she broke up The Beatles, better be ready to throw down.

    Reply
  6. brandannn

    it might sound cliche, but here goes…

    the song ‘imagine’ became a theme for my life. if we took out some of the big bad things that turned us all against each other we would be all the better…

    that overlapped into motherhood for me. i even managed to find cute nursery stuff w/ animals drawn by john, and the words to ‘imagine’ were all over it, and the mobile played it.

    though i was only nine months old when he died, i still feel that i was touched by his life…

    and i would love to read any post by you on yoko and feminism…

    Reply
  7. Michelle

    My favourite Lennon song is Imagine – and the Christmas song which i can’t remember the title

    With John, like William Hartnell (the first Doctor Who) who has come in for a lot of posthumous criticism for his apparently insensitive-by-modern-terms beliefs, you have to put them in the context of the time in which they lived – you did something like that when talking about a ’60s gay rights poster that used the word “negro”.

    What irritates me is people that say that they would have the same modern beliefs if they had lived in the past – no they wouldn’t – if they’d lived in 1905 they would have worn the corsets and been unequal just like pretty much every woman at the time.

    Reply
  8. Fellow-ette

    did you see what Yoko said in the 35th anniversary of Ms.?Something like “I pity every person who doesn’t live with feminism in their lives.”
    I have to agree that the death of Lennon makes me more heart-wrenchingly sad than any other public figure’s, possibly because it was so senseless.

    Reply
  9. Cara Post author

    Fellow-ette, I have a huge pile of magazines that I’m behind on, so I haven’t read the most recent issue of Ms. yet. But I was excited to see that she was included, and she certainly always has something intelligent to say. Yoko Ono is definitely one of my feminist heroes — and probably the person I would most like to meet, given the opportunity.

    Michelle, I’m curious: are you referring to any one view/action of Lennon’s in particular? Personally, I know that he was wrong on several things, and believe that he was wrong on some more. I also think that his philosophies in his later life were, for the most part, ahead of his time.

    Also, the song is Merry Xmas (War is Over). It’s the only Christmas song that I like. Unless it’s that horrible Celine Dion version, in which case I want to gouge out my ear drums.

    Reply

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