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Tuesday, December 8, 2020


Central Park Imagine Mosaic

Every ten years it’s getting harder for me to write about John Lennon’s murder. I don’t know what else to say after having said so much since 1990.

40 years later, it is still the biggest tragedy in the history of popular music. The saddest point in which the sixties were officially over, just as so many dreams and hopes. It was so hard to cope some of us still don’t know how to. If John Lennon ever compared himself, or The Beatles, to Jesus Christ, his murder could have helped him with the comparison. Killed by a deranged follower because he believed Lennon “betrayed” him by not getting The Beatles back together (or whatever excuse he had in his mind: First reports were about him not happy with an autograph); John Lennon lived 40 short but fruitful years on this Earth and changed the way we listen to music in many ways. Lennon and his disciples created a new religion. He even married a woman who was despised and attacked for reasons that had to do with Lennon’s own actions: Yoko Ono is the Mary Magdalene of Rock and Roll, and every time a band breaks up because of a woman, they mention her name, just as the Catholic Church made MM the ultimate synonym of a prostitute.

By dying at the hands of a delusional and mentally unstable "follower" in New York, in the last hour of December 8, 1980, Lennon left without saying goodbye. His last big interview was featured in Playboy in January 1980, and there he mentioned he had so many plans for the future. With him alive, Rock and Roll would have been so different, especially with a John Lennon taking advantage of big arena concerts, advanced recording techniques, and better marketing strategies. All those plans and dreams also died on that fateful night. To make this thing more tragic, if possible, Lennon had just released a new album after five years of silence. Double Fantasy was getting lukewarm reviews when the bullets hit his back, and after that, the album skyrocketed in the charts. A year later, it won the Grammy for Album of the Year. “Woman” was voted Best Song of the 80’s at a Peruvian radio poll in 1989, after we spent the 80’s mourning his death by becoming Beatlefans.

While we were crying listening to “Imagine” or “(Just Like) Starting Over”, the other Beatles moved on with their lives but they knew nothing would ever be the same, or safer. Rock and roll had a target on its back caused by madness, paranoia and, yes, politics. Paul McCartney wouldn’t tour until 1989 and he had to do it because he owed it to John and the millions of fans. George Harrison mourned him in a more private way, and Ringo almost succumbed to alcoholism, just to recover with a little help from his friends and wife. 40 years is a long, long time. Nevertheless, for many Lennon fans, that night of December 8th, 1980 is still too close and hits hard.

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