John Lennon

in General Discussion edited January 2014
Just dawned on me that today is the 22nd anniversary of the death of John.

Wow...where does the time go?

Beatle fan that I am, I was listening to some of their stuff this morning (iTunes, of course) and just amazed at how - sonically, thematically, etc. - it all simply holds up! Especially the Rubber Soul/Revolver era stuff.

Just great music, any way you slice it. As simple and "moon, June, soon" as their early stuff was and as "out there" as some of their Sgt. Pepper era stuff was, I find that I keep going back to that 1965-1966 era of Rubber Soul and Revolver.

One is heavy on acoustic stuff and sounds very cozy and organic. The other (Revolver) is very electric and brittle and crisp. Two more opposite-sounding albums you couldn't find, but they both smoke!

I was in 6th grade when Lennon was shot and killed. Ironically, I'd just gotten into the Beatles only months earlier when a buddy and I found his Mom's records ("Meet the Beatles", "The Beatles Second Album" and the "Hard Day's Night" soundtrack...the American Capitol releases) in a trunk in their "junk room".

We were immediately impressed with the songs, the guitars, the vocals, etc. and we set out to learn about them and fully immersed (at 12 years old, no less) ourselves in Beatle lore, history, music, etc.

This was probably August or September of 1980. I get to school on December 9 and hear - from a teacher - that John Lennon was shot the night before and that he was killed.

What a bummer. I'd JUST gotten into it all and certainly was aware of their impact and place in history. Then this.

Very weird timing.

And very sucky that - with George dying last year - that my two favorite Beatles are no longer around.


Great music and a true artist. I don't agree with everything he said and stood for, but I have so much respect for him (and the others), for what he did and accomplished.

They set a standard that, 30-40 years later, is STILL being strived for, IMO.

The only evidence you need is to simply note how many times a reviewer or critic uses the term "Beatle-esque" when reviewing an album by some new band.

When I'm 64 (hahahaha), that stuff will STILL hold up. And Puddle of Mud, Limp Korn and Britney will all be in the "Whatever Happened To..." edition of Trivial Pursuit.

Lightning doesn't strike twice, gang...

Anyway, here's to John. Thanks for the inspiration and making me want to pick up and learn the guitar. I owe quite a bit to you and the boys. I met my wife (okay, ex wife...but still a great friend) because she walked into the music store I was working and needed her strings changed on her acoustic. All my best friends and closest relationships sprung DIRECTLY from music and playing guitar and the people I met through playing in bands and so forth. The vixens I've met over the years too. Goodness gracious...hubba.

Hmmm...maybe he and George are strumming on their Rickenbackers together somewhere? A nice thought...


[ 12-08-2002: Message edited by: pscates ]</p>


  • Reply 1 of 31
  • Reply 2 of 31
    der kopfder kopf Posts: 2,275member
    A great artist, this world has seen so few of those. A very sad thought, leaving life in early december. What would John Lennon have become in 2002? I think it's an integral part of my admiration. Maybe not. In any case, I find it symbolic in a horrific way that John Lennon died at the beginning of the eighties, the decade in which greed became a good work (do we remember 'Wall Street'?) I don't know if these remarks are in the right place, but it appears Lennon's life was very closely linked with many things social. Anyhow. I'll burn a candle for the man.
  • Reply 3 of 31
    pscatespscates Posts: 5,847member
    Actually, more than John Lennon, the person I always wonder "what if..." about was Buddy Holly.

    Think about it: he was the among the first rock & rollers to truly be a self-contained, full-featured "artist". By that, I mean that he wrote his own songs, arranged them, played great guitar, had an interest in studio techniques (overdubbing and so forth), etc.

    Elvis sang the songs of others and wasn't much more than a 3-chord-strummer on guitar.

    I guess the other person that could be compared to Buddy Holly - in terms of the "complete package" and being seen as an innovator - would be Chuck Berry.

    However, he's still around and he seems to have degenerated into a bitter, money-obsessed dirty old man.

    <img src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" />

    I firmly believe that had Buddy Holly not died in that plane crash, he would've been HUGE. More than his 50's peers. I really believe that, because he had a great vision and an even better ear. Those songs of his are, in my opinion, rock & roll jewels. So perfect, so crisp and so well written and recorded.

    He would've only gotten more that way. I think he would've hung around and rivaled Phil Spector, the Beatles and the Beach Boys in the mid-late 60's, when it came to studio ingenuity and innovation.

    More than that, I think he'd be one of these Les Paul/Chet Atkins kinda guys, respected very much within the industry and acknowledged as a true pioneer. He'd probably eventually have moved into producing and A&R with some huge record company or whatever.

    Sadly, we'll never know.

    He'd just be one of those older guys who is still around, BUT he'd be relevant and many younger bands would probably always be citing him as a favorite and all.

    Ironically, he didn't truly become "big" until after he died. The success he enjoyed during his brief time in the public eye (about 2 or 3 years?) was modest compared to what came after. Hell, he was only 22 or 23 when he died! Who knows how many more good songs and ideas he had in him!

    To me, as much as I love rock and roll (and truly know and respect the pioneers and the originators of it), THAT is the all-time great loss and "wow, what if..." question.

    If you're not aware of (or never heard any) Buddy Holly, do yourself a favor and find some! And when you're listening, remember that this is about 1957 or so, and things we take for granted today were in their infancy then...and how good his stuff sounded.

    And still does.

    One of my pet peeves (don't even know if that's the right word) are people with a rock knowledge that extends no further back than their birthdate. So many people are running around thinking that Dave Matthews or Cracker or whoever the hell is the true "end all, be all". They honestly have no true frame of reference or anything to guage anything by. They have no grasp or appreciation of the people who started the genre and they wouldn't know a cool Everly Brothers song if it bit them on the ass.

    I was lucky in that from the time I was a toddler, barely walking, my Mom and Dad ALWAYS had surf music (hence my fascination with Dick Dale), 50's and 60's music, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Little Richard, Fats Domino, doo-wop, oldies compilations, old country, Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, The Byrds, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis, etc. records around. I grew up on that stuff and it just soaked into me from a very early age.

    It makes it possible to get the "big picture" sometimes. And it's nice to have a loooooong list of artists and performers to draw from for inspiration, ideas, etc.

    Not to mention an absolutely bitchin' iTunes catalog.

    I honestly feel sorry for people who's idea of an "oldies" act is the first incarnation of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Or worse: Korn's first album.

    <img src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" />

    [ 12-08-2002: Message edited by: pscates ]</p>
  • Reply 4 of 31
    der kopfder kopf Posts: 2,275member
    Can't really disagree there. I'm down with a bad case of nostalgia these days, months, whatever. The term nostalgia doesn't even cover it really. I long or yearn, or rather, I ache for days that I have never lived through. I originate in the late seventies, making me, a bit into my twenties. Going through my parent's phono collection, Lennon has always been one of my first music experiences. The Pretenders? They're not that old, but they belong to where my conscious life begins. And before that. I came across a Gerry Raferty album just now, as well as some sixties Leonard Cohen. These people, they pierce something. It's pain mingled with joy. It's the same as listening to Neil Young's long spun-out symphonies, or those collections of sixties hippie music. Jefferson Airplane. And all this while I don't dress funny, nor do I listen for the outside world's sake.

    Old jazz music might be something else entirely. The tragedy contained within Billie Holliday.

    But there's no reason to go into all this. It's late, I will blow out this candle and go to bed.
  • Reply 5 of 31
    [quote]Originally posted by der Kopf:

    <strong> It's the same as listening to Neil Young's long spun-out symphonies</strong><hr></blockquote>

    <img src="graemlins/lol.gif" border="0" alt="[Laughing]" /> He did that 1) because he finally could and 2) to piss off his record company. I have a good 50+ collection of his tunes in iTunes.
  • Reply 6 of 31
    pscatespscates Posts: 5,847member
    Oooh...I LOVE the Pretenders!!!

    James Honeyman-Scott is up there in my "10 Favorite All-Time Guitarists" list! Like Elliott Easton from The Cars, a total hook machine.

    Too bad he OD'd...

  • Reply 7 of 31
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    Well, Mr Scates, feeling nostalgic? Let's not forget that The Beatles were a boy band first, though I'm not exactly sure of whom that is an endictment. Precious little has come from that formula since then.

    Have we reached the stage where we lament a passing greatness? I have this debate over and over again with literary types, film buffs, etc etc... history is a good but deceptive filter. It tends to present a canon to us, we preserve what we see because it was good, but there was a lot of crap, we've just forgotten about it or in some cases lost it by accident. Each art has golden times, but on the whole we create a similar number and range of great works, only time has not filtered away the garbage yet. And we make a lot of garbage, but it isn't a new condition, we've always made a lot of garbage.
  • Reply 8 of 31
    pscatespscates Posts: 5,847member
    Well, uh...yes, the Beatles were a "boy band", I suppose. In the sense that they were a) boys and b) in a band.

    <img src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" />

    However, the fact that they could sing, write, play their own instruments, come up with some pretty nifty songs/harmonies/musical approaches/instrumentation, etc. I'd say puts them in a league a notch or two above your average surface-only, teen schlock machine "band".

    All I know is that I like them and their music. Not really nostalgia at all because, to me, they're still very relevant and "around".

    In 50 years, we'll STILL be talking about - and listening to - the Beatles. THAT'S the difference between them and much of today's artists.

    Stick'll see.

  • Reply 9 of 31
    pscatespscates Posts: 5,847member
    If some deranged fan puts six hollowpoints into Justin Timberlake, only a small segment of the population is going to be distraught and feel any true "impact" over it.

    And they'll be over it by New Year's because it'll be getting close to prom planning season, so...

  • Reply 10 of 31
    :eek: ...................
  • Reply 11 of 31
    pscatespscates Posts: 5,847member
    NOT that I am - in any way - advocating that. Let's be REALLY clear here, people. I'm just making a genuine Lennon vs. Timberlake comparison here...

    No need to call the cops.
  • Reply 12 of 31
    *puts phone down*
  • Reply 13 of 31
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    We don't disagree Scates, most of today's "art" sucks ass and will be quickly forgotten (deservedly so) but some will be remembered too, and probably in similar proportion to what is remembered from Lennon's time. Let time do it's work, and we'll come out pretty close (with the years past a little better accounted for than the years ahead, I'd guess)

    All the same, I don't see a great depth to lyrics like "She Love's Me, yeah yeah yeah..." or even uniquely interesting musicality, etc etc. What made the Beatles famous (the early boy band formula) was just as banal as anything out today. Toe tapping fun? Sure, but not really any deeper or more interesting. They did manage to do interesting (socially important?) work later on, but in reality Lennon is (was) not much more than a pleasant minstrel with a couple of decent ideas, elevated by circumstance.

    That sounds a little too hard, but I'll leave it anyway. I guess I just find crying over Lennon's death (almost) as ridiculous as crying over Kurt Cobain.

    All that said, I'm having trouble antagonizing you because inside I agree with you, but at the same time I suspect it's not that bad now and neither was it ever that good way back when.
  • Reply 14 of 31
    jeffyboyjeffyboy Posts: 1,055member
    [quote]Actually, more than John Lennon, the person I always wonder "what if..." about was Buddy Holly.<hr></blockquote>

    I grew up/live about 15 miles from where Holly's plane went down, so his stuff is always big around here.

    I agree, it's some of the most timeless pop music ever. It just ages so well, and he was so young, too.

    [quote]Just great music, any way you slice it. As simple and "moon, June, soon" as their early stuff was and as "out there" as some of their Sgt. Pepper era stuff was, I find that I keep going back to that 1965-1966 era of Rubber Soul and Revolver.

    One is heavy on acoustic stuff and sounds very cozy and organic. The other (Revolver) is very electric and brittle and crisp. Two more opposite-sounding albums you couldn't find, but they both smoke! <hr></blockquote>

    I love those albums, too, but my favorite is the White Album. After the psychedelic circus of the Pepper/Yellow Sub/Mystery Tour era, they sort of came back to the roots of their music. To me it's just a perfect collection of songs, even if Revolution 9 leaves me scratching my head!


    [ 12-08-2002: Message edited by: jeffyboy ]</p>
  • Reply 15 of 31
    jeffyboyjeffyboy Posts: 1,055member
    Apropos of nothing, I just realized something kinda strange:

    I was born on Nov. 29, my best friend's birthday is Dec. 8.

    <img src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" />


    [ 01-01-2003: Message edited by: jeffyboy ]</p>
  • Reply 16 of 31
    pscatespscates Posts: 5,847member
    True, Matsu. "She Loves You" is no great poetry, for sure. I even say in an earlier post above that their early stuff was kinda "moon, June, etc.".

    But think about the existing rock & roll landscape. I believe that simple good timing was a HUGE part of the Beatles' success (and appeal).

    By 1964, Elvis was waist deep in cheesy movies with even cheesier music. It's pretty much universally agreed that once Elvis came out of the Army, Colonel Parker put him on the fast track to Lameville.

    Chuck Berry's glory days were behind him (plus, he was getting in trouble by taking young white girls across state lines for a know). Buddy Holly was dead. Jerry Lee Lewis, redneck that he is, went and married his 13-year-old cousin. The Everly Brothers weren't getting along that well. Little Richard had gotten saved or whatever and was distancing himself from rock and roll.

    In addition to all that, you had that whole early-60's pop schmaltz crooner brigade out there, singing REALLY bad, half-ass rock and roll. Gene Pitney, Johnny Rivers, Chubby Checker.

    About the only thing cool going was the SoCal surf/hotrod music scene.

    Imagine what it must've been like to hear that crisp, guitar-y sound from Liverpool! Even more, imagine SEEING them for the first time with all that shocking - for then - "long" hair and all.

    Yeah, their early British recordings and first initial American hits and all were simple pop songs with obvious rhymes and heavy reliance on "boy loves girl...", "boy loses girl...", etc. themes.

    But they changed and progressed over the years. NOTHING on Rubber Soul or Revolver sounds like anything they were doing just two years earlier. And Two years from Revolver, it was different yet again.

    If, by 1968 or so, they were still singing the simple songs and "coasting", then yeah...they would be one-note hacks.

    But they evolved and I respect that.
  • Reply 17 of 31
    pscatespscates Posts: 5,847member
    Anyway. I say tomato, you say carrot.

    Just sharing some thoughts I had earlier big deal.

    I still like 'em.
  • Reply 18 of 31
    pscates - I totally agree with you on your assessment of Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers. And I will say even though I'm not really a Beatles fan, I do respect them for their place in history and enjoy a lot of their music. What I don't understand is how you can go on ranting about the roots of rock 'n roll without once mentioning Bob Dylan. That to me is unforgiveable.

    In my mind, Bob is the alpha and omega of rock 'n roll. His work far over-shadows and out-classes the Beatles.

    Anyway, here's to John & George & Buddy. And also to Bob & Neil and those still going strong.
  • Reply 19 of 31
    pscatespscates Posts: 5,847member
    Oh, and Bob Dylan too!

  • Reply 20 of 31
    artman @_@artman @_@ Posts: 2,546member
    [quote]Originally posted by pscates:

    <strong>Oh, and Bob Dylan too!


    Thanks. I was scrolling down and had hoped to mention him...beat me to the punch. When Dylan switched to electric everything in rock and roll changed...especially the writing. Revolver by the Beatles is a good example of how Dylan's music affected the Beatles as song writers...the "yeah, yeah, yeahs" went out the window.
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