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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Lennon Legacy

Do we really need to be reminded about John Lennon on this, his 70th birthday?

Music critic Allan Kozinn says, "Perhaps not, but Lennon himself would have been the first to recognize, and run with, the commercial potential of a big, even-numbered anniversary. He built his 1969 peace campaign, after all, on the notion that since the press was following his every move anyway, he might as well use the attention to put across his message. He described his Bed-In for Peace as 'an advertisement.'”("Long After Death, Lennon Remains Inspiration," The New York Times, October 8 2010)

Sam Taylor-Wood’s feature film, “Nowhere Boy,” is among many projects associated with Lennon's birthday. The film explores Lennon’s adolescence and his complicated, often conflicted relationship with his Aunt Mimi, who raised him, and with his more footloose mother, Julia. Nowhere Boy premiered at the London Film Festival last year and received four BAFTA Awards  nominations. The Weinstein Company is distributing Nowhere Boy in the US. Here is a clip of the film.

How Do People Remember John Lennon?

George Martin, Beatles' record producer, arranger, composer and musician remembers, "It's a funny thing, but John never liked his voice. I don't know why, because I always said he had the greatest of voices, but I guess it's the same problem you have when you wake up in the morning and you shave yourself and you look at your face and say, 'What an awful face.' He was always wanting to distort it, always wanting me to do things to it, to ADT it or double-track it or whatever. 'Don't give me that thing again, George,' he'd say. 'Give me another one.' He was always wanting something different."

"Nothing was sacrosanct with John," says Ken Sharp, author of Starting Over: The Making of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "Double Fantasy,"  "His life was an open book reflected in song. As an artist, he never placed himself on a pedestal above his audience. He was one of us, which is one of the major reasons his work resonated so strongly then and today. We identified with him, we shared the same insecurities, vulnerabilities, raw emotions and dreams. It's all there in the music. Not only one of the most brilliant songwriters, John was real, he spoke the truth, and that's why we still love him today." (Edna Gundersen, "John Lennon: 'Patina of Fascination' for Fans of All Ages," USA Today, updated 2010)

"But it goes beyond music. Lennon’s great sense of humor revealed a sharp mind and a wit as quick as Groucho Marx’s, not just in film but in appearances also, which always amused me. He jousted with others in press conferences and on talk show appearances. He also made political statements through actions like the Bed-Ins for Peace and the guests he brought on The Mike Douglas Show, such as Black Panther Party president Bobby Seale and Yippie Jerry Rubin. These activities got the attention of the U.S. government, which is detailed in The U.S. vs. John Lennon." ("Happy 70th Birthday, John Lennon -- 'Let's Hope It's a Good One,'", October 8 2010)

"Now a younger generation can say, 'There are places we remember,' linking moments in their lives with the music Lennon created, whether with the Beatles or as a solo artist. Younger fans have discovered the hits of Lennon & McCartney through the film "Across the Universe," through the Cirque du Soleil show "Love" or through the interactive joy of playing "The Beatles: Rock Band" videogame. And they've taken to the streets to protest wars from Iraq to Afghanistan, chanting Lennon's still-all-too-relevant demand, 'Give Peace a Chance.' (Thom Duffy, "The Lennon Legacy,", October 9 2010)

Celeste Headlee, host of the Takeaway, reports, "John Lennon was brilliant and arrogant and fearless. He loved fiercely, sometimes rashly, and he was an intrepid creator. Lennon opened himself to inspiration and let it guide him where it would. He allowed himself to change, to be influenced by the people and events around him. Lennon was perhaps the ultimate pop star, who gave voice to a generation. Thirty years after his death, still irreplaceable." ("Remembering John Lennon: Fans Share Reflections, Favorite Songs with WNYC," WNYC Radio, October 8 2010)

This John Lennon interview was recorded at the Dakota apartment in NY in 1980. It can be found on The John Lennon Collection CD.

"Lennon's admirers accept those (Lennon's) faults, just as Martin Luther King's personal failings are put in perspective by the greatness of his achievements. We know that heroes are flawed. And we are sad for those they hurt. However, those weaknesses don't diminish the overall achievements. They are simply a reminder of human limitations...

"Of all Lennon's legacies, one of the most enduring, and perhaps the most impressive, is who his enemies were. The true measure of his greatness was that in the 1970s he terrified the most powerful man in the world...

"It's hard to think of a single artist or entertainer prior to, or since, John Lennon who had that kind of impact. No other creative artist has ever induced that level of fear in a man who is ostensibly the most powerful man in the world. Ideas, honesty, passion, humor and brilliant empathetic songs it seems were more powerful. Just imagine that...." (Martin Lewis, "Remembering Lennon," Time, December 2000)
The Washington Post, "The Legacy of John Lennon" -- Troy Witcher, Photo Editor, Producer: This is a great slide-show presentation.

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