Tag Archive: john lennon

Day 19 – A Song From Your Favorite Album

The Beatles – Abbey Road Medley – (Mean Mr. Mustard/Polythene Pam/She Came in Through the Bathroom Window/Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End/Her Majesty)

Favorite Album? Song? Really? After much thought (okay, maybe not THAT much), realizing I couldn’t just pick ONE favorite album, never mind a favorite song off a favorite album, I picked a favorite album side.. sort of.  Abbey Road might very well be my favorite Beatles album (although, really, sometimes I think Rubber Soul is.. See? This really is NOT easy for me..). Most of side two (after “Because” and “Here Comes the Sun”) consists of eight songs that blend in to one another, commonly known as “The Medley.” Separately, the songs are good, but when listened to the way they were intended, back to back, flowing into one another, I can say this medley is my favorite song off ONE of my favorite albums…

Day 11 – A Song From Your Favorite Band

The Beatles – Sexy Sadie

My favorite band of all time is the Beatles – No contest there. It’s really not easy for me to pick a favorite song of theirs, truly. But if I absolutely had to just pick one, “Sexy Sadie” would be it.

According to Beatles’ lore, John Lennon wrote “Sexy Sadie” to express his disillusionment with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who the Beatles had gone to for some spiritual guidance. The story has many different variations as to what exactly happened, but it all boils down to the Maharishi, a spiritual leader, not practicing what he was preaching. Originally, the song was actually titled “Maharishi.” I’ve read that George Harrison insisted John change the title. I’m guessing, considering the backlash from the whole “We’re bigger than Jesus Christ” statement earlier on in the Beatles’ career, John saw wisdom in complying.

To me, the song represents my own personal disillusionment with religion and religious leaders as a whole. I’ve often said I am a spiritual person. I do believe in a higher power out there. However, my personal experience has led me to disavow anyone who tries to tell me what it is that that higher power wants from me. For me, spiruality, seeking solace, guidance, or, expressing gratitude for all the good in my life comes from within, not from some organization or person trying to control me (or my wallet, if I had anything in it).

All that, plus, hey, it’s an awesome song.. and I LOVE John Lennon’s voice (even if he himself hated the sound of it.. Clearly, I really HAVE read way too many books about the Beatles..)

Imagine all the people…

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will live as one..

John Lennon – “Imagine”

I was nine years old, trying to pretend I’d gone to sleep at a normal hour, when my mother came home from an outing with her best friend. She was crying, hard. Now, I love my mother, and I hate to hear her cry. So, out of concern for my mom, and with no care about the repercussions my being awake when it was way past my bedtime would incur, I walked out to the living room and asked her what was wrong.

“Somebody died” she told me.

“Who?” I asked, suddenly running through the roster of family members in my head, and hoping they were all okay.

“No one you know, a musician. You don’t know him, John Lennon” she said, tears streaming down her face.

“Oh, isn’t that the guy who sings that song ‘Just like Starting Over?’”

“Yes, that’s him.” – She replied, almost annoyed.

“Oh, okay. “ I was really confused. I mean, yeah, I knew it was sad when anyone died, but, this guy? Who was he to my mom???

The next day, in the car, every radio station was playing the Beatles. Again, I was confused. I mean I LOVED the Beatles so was happy to hear all my favorite songs, but what did that have to do with John Lennon?
So I asked my step father, who , turned to me, and condescendingly replied;  “well, that guy who sings that “Starting Over” song you like so much was in the Beatles, he started the Beatles.”

That’s when I started crying, surprising both my mother and my step-father.

I didn’t know.

See, my uncles played the Beatles for me incessantly growing up. I loved the music and am not exaggerating when I tell you I pretty much knew every Beatles song by heart by the time I was six years old.

My mother, who had found it amusing and a bit baffling that I was so enamored with music made by a band that had broken up before I was even born, used to tell me stories about growing up listening to the Beatles. My stepfather used to tell me stories about buying Beatles records on the black market in Russia, and getting into trouble for trying to grow his hair like theirs.  So, while I knew who the Beatles were, by virtue of their music, I didn’t know who the band members were or the impact they’d had on my parents’ generation or the impact they had and would continue to have on every aspiring musician that followed them. In my defense, I was only nine. But I have to say, that was the day my outlook on music and the folks who make it changed.

I now understood my mother’s tears. She on the other hand was baffled by my utter devastation and growing obsession with needing to know everything about the Beatles.

I started reading every news paper article, every book I could get my hands on.. everything.

I started listening to more John Lennon solo material.
I even shut up for the ten minutes of silence in memorial to John Lennon that Yoko Ono had requested.  Which, I’m sure more than anything else, REALLY surprised my folks.

And when Strawberry Fields was dedicated in memory to John, all I wanted to do was visit. Which, when I was fourteen, unbeknownst to my mother, and with assistance from my friend Julie, who told my mother we were going on a chaperoned school outing, I finally did. I literally hopped on the ferry, by myself, and headed towards Central Park. When I finally wandered into the small area allotted for Strawberry Fields and saw the “Imagine” symbol in the center of it, that little area became my favorite place to visit in NYC, and still is to this day.

Today would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday. It has been thirty years since a deranged fan decided to end the life of a man who’s existence meant so much to so many and who’s work continues to influence so many artists to this day. I credit him, and the rest of the Beatles, with starting me on a path that to this day brings me more joy than I can imagine.  It was because of him and his three friends that I stopped just ‘liking’ music, thanks to them – I started paying attention to it.

It’s amazing to think of John as a 70 year old man. What amazing things would he have accomplished had he still been alive? Would the Beatles ever gotten back together? Would we really have wanted them to? (I’m going to say ‘yes…’ seriously).  Unfortunately, we will never know. Wondering ‘what if’, never really helps in any situation. Knowing, however, that in his short time here with us, he played a huge part in changing the landscape of how many folks view, record, write, and deliver music; his challenging us to imagine a world of peace and love; his messages of hope for the future; will have to be enough. I’m not going to saint him. By all accounts (and believe me I’ve read almost every book about the guy), he wasn’t a saint. He was just a man with an amazing gift, a gift he chose to share with us, and one that will still be here long after all of us are gone. One that to this day is missed by folks who may not even have been born while he was alive, but who hear his influence any time they turn on the radio or pop in a CD or pick up a guitar. That’s huge.

Happy Birthday John, wherever you are, may all you imagined be a reality one day.