Imagine…

Today, Wednesday, December 8, is the 30th anniversary of the night when John Lennon was shot and killed in New York City, outside the Dakota apartment building on Central Park West which was his home.

Tributes are taking place around the world, in New York City and here in Baristaville.

Tonight, in Montclair, Studio 12 is asking performers at their open mic night to sing a song or two by the fallen musician.

Last year, I was lucky enough to catch the exhibit of Imagine: The Peace Ballad of John and Yoko at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The admission-free celebration of the couple’s famous “bed in,” which took place at Montreal’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel 40 years earlier, rekindled the philosophy behind John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s commitment for today’s world.

At the exhibit’s end, there were live “wishing trees” set up — indoor trees on which to hang one’s written thoughts about peace in the world. We would like to offer up this post’s comment space for our readers to do the same. Please share with us any thoughts, memories or visions you have that relate to Lennon’s message, music, life or death. Link to your favorite video, art or quote.

And if you’ll be at Studio 12 tonight (12 Church Street, 2nd fl, Montclair), tell us what you plan to sing, or what you hope to hear. Certainly, this one might be in order, even in the opinion of this Jewish woman who will celebrate the last night of Hanukkah with the lighting of a full menorah this evening. After all, the concept behind War is Over! If You Want it. is non-denominational.

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42 COMMENTS

  1. This quote by Jack Handy says it best.

    “I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they’d never expect it.”

  2. America’s populism, 2010, diametrically opposed to Lennon’s sentiments:

    “Imagine no possessions”- has become – “Imagine no taxes on my possessions”
    “Imagine no religion” – has become – “imagine no evolution or global warming sciences”
    “Nothing to kill or die for” – has become – “it’s a time to reload”

  3. Yup Spiro, and I couldn’t be happier. People finally waking up. Except the reference to reloading unless its in reference to a deer hunt.

  4. Not really herb, that was a Palin quote, back in May, referring to the possibility of the violent option in politics,
    -said quote soon after followed by a number of death threats to congressmen.
    As such, the new populism worships superstars that are more like Mark David Chapman than John Lennon.
    Have a happy day, herb.

  5. And the President just called Republican’s “hostage takers”. What does one generally do to hostage takers? Sort of cuts both ways Spiro. But in reality neither statement incites anyone to violence other than the panty-twisting kind evidenced by Spiro on a daily basis.

  6. Commentary aplenty on John Lennon (who as best I recall was much interested in making money, was often quite personally belligerent and hardly an apostle of non-violence as so many paint him today, is certainly worth many multiples now of what he was alive, thanks perhaps to Yoko’s astute management of both his image and estate), but nothing yesterday that I saw on tbis site about Pearl Harbor and how we finally got formally into WWII? Hmmmm…..

    For your collective penance, you all should be forced to listen anew to Lennon’s mostly excruciating solo work, Start with “Two Virgins” if you can bear it. A long time ago four young guys got together to make music. Great music, as it turned out. But we also have to face that separately none of them ever approached the same high standard they’d once set. And Lennon in particular was no lyricist on his own.

  7. ROC, why I just wasted my time reading your post, I’ll never know.

    cathar, I have never heard “Two Virgins” but apparently you have. You are full of surprises today.

  8. McCartney should be embarrassed with most of his post Beatles work.
    Ebony and Ivory
    Say say say
    Mull of Kintyre
    Spies Like us
    Wonderful Christmas time
    Uncle Albert
    with a little luck
    The girl is mine
    coming up
    listen to what the man said
    my love

    just awful…

  9. Yey more grumbling from the bench player who never gets in the game. As per usual.

    Lennon created a body of work surpassed by few, and will be remembered for that achievement. Additionally, he was a complicated man — at times violent, sometimes petty, always imperfect. As Whitman said so well, “Do I contradict myself? Very well, I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes.”

    Perhaps now its time for a swipe or two at Whitman by our resident expert on all things artistic.

    Lennon did what so many do not. He acknowledged his faults and worked to make himself better. He didn’t get all the way there, and that is part of the tragedy. But he tried. So many could learn something from a man who was the first to say that he didn’t know everything.

  10. Those who know me, know I’m not a fan of Imagine (too wishy-washy). But I listened to “Double Fantasy” over and over again since it was my mom I saw crying that night, 30 years ago saying, “I feel like I lost a brother.”

    So cathar, it may not move a mountain, but his simplicity and directness still speak to me:

    “It’s been too long since we took the time
    No-one’s to blame, I know time flies so quickly
    But when I see you darling
    It’s like we both are falling in love again
    It’ll be just like starting over, starting over”

    To this, I was struck in the doc, “Lennon NYC” on American Masters, how in love he was with Yoko. Every time he looked at her, HE. GLOWED.

    And her piece in the NY Times today was beautiful.

  11. Well, herb, at least you gave it a listen. Yet, to this day, McCartney can completely fill stadiums anywhere in the world, at any time, at a moments notice.

    For my dollar, the best post-Beatles Beatle album was, by far, George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass”.

  12. John was my favorite Beatle. Yes, the team of Lennon-McCartney was golden and they both achieved success individually once they broke up, but Paul McCartney was more into creating commercial best-sellers than Lennon, who gave us the “Well, Well, Well” primal scream and the soul-searing, “Mother.” John was much more than just a musician. He was truly an artist who was interested in healing his own soul and the world around him. It left a big hole in my heart when he was murdered.

  13. “All Things Must pass” is a great album with one of my favorite post Beatles songs “What is life”.
    My fave post Beatles songs.
    Lennon- #9 Dream
    Harrison- What is life
    Ringo- it dont come easy
    McCartney- let me roll it

    There are others but these just jump at me. Ringo’s solo stuff gets little credit. If you ever get an opportunity to see his Traveling All Star Band check it out , fun concert to see. I know McCartney can sell out in seconds, he just has put out so much bad stuff.
    I think i will watch Hard Day’s Night tonight, love that movie.

  14. Spiro,
    Funny thing. I was checking out old Lennon interviews on youtube and in ’74 Howard Cosell interviews him during half time of Monday Night Football. Ironically it was Cosell that broke the news during MNF. Anyway he says “tea party” during it, I had to laugh because of your earlier observation concerning his lyrics.

  15. Martta, John was my favorite also. Always was from that first appearance on Ed Sullivan. Loved his wicked sense of humor, his sarcasm and the wink in his eye when he said something outrageous or absurd. I was devastated when I woke up that morning and learned what had happened the night before.

    All I could think of then, and now, is how unbelieveable the circumstances of his death were. He did enough drugs to have done himself in many times over, but he came through to become a house-husband and doting father who was very happy and secure in those rolls. He lived in NYC which had enough crazies who could have done the deed all the years he lived there but he walked the streets unscathed and reveling in all that NYC and America had to offer.

    It took a delusional nut job Lennon wannabe living in Hawaii to formulate the plan. He flew all that way, stalked Lennon for days, got his autograph the night before, then shot him in cold blood in front of his home and his wife and witnesses just to gain “fame”. John never saw it coming – a blessing for him. A tragedy for the rest of us.

    And how many years have gone by with us singing along to “Happy Christmas” (War is Over) while our country is involved in yet another war?

  16. “Yey more grumbling from the bench player who never gets in the game. As per usual.”

    Ha! Well said.

    Rest in peace John.

  17. Wishy washy, maybe, but I like the sentiments Prof

    Nicely said croi. I agree

    Lennon has enriched the world more than many a bench sitter, I’m sure!

  18. Hey yalls! Been thinking about buzzband “the Beetles” and their new albums that were recently released on the itunes music website. Damn. So many bloggable songs. Wondering if the Beetles r part of chillwave. Feeling like their “songs” are rlly 2K8. Wondering if they are relevant in the post Anco MPP universe. N e ways, seems like a lot of chill bros are “sad” about the recent deaths of the Beetles (via wishing trees). Heard there is going 2 b a chill music festival in the mtc 2nite. Thinking of going to the Bollocks school to score sweet dank and get mad blazed with bros who are “into” Beetles. Just want 2 express myself through the musics of our generation and share my thoughts with ppl all over the earth.

    R u going to the mtc Beetles music festival?
    Do you thing the Beetles songs “rule”?
    What happens 2 buzzbands when they die?
    Should I be “devastated”?

  19. John Lennon was all about peace and music. I imagine there is a Heaven and am sure he’s there. That’s what he was singing about anyway. He just didn’t realize it at the time. That’s why he was an artist and a visionary.

  20. I would like to, in the Spirit of the Season, hope that Santa leaves wuwt/tp2, ROC and, of course, cathar, the following Lennonesque items, cozily nestled beneath their Christmas trees, for each of the 12 days of Christmas, limit one gift per night, please, thank you.
    1. a semolina pilchard climbing up the Eiffel Tower.
    2. an elementary penguin singing Hare Krishna
    3. a glass onion
    4. a sexy Sadie
    5. a bathtub to crawl into after having wine with a bird
    6. a ticket to ride
    7. a place to hide their love away
    8. tangerine trees
    9. marmalade skies
    10.a sleepy feeling
    11. yet another tree, this tree upon which to contemplate whether you are high or low
    12.a warm gun

  21. “I imagine there is a Heaven and am sure he’s there. That’s what he was singing about anyway. He just didn’t realize it at the time. ”

    Say what?

    Lennon said Imagine was an “anti-religious, anti-nationalistic, anti-conventional, anti-capitalistic [song], but because it’s sugar-coated, it’s accepted.”

  22. That’s right ROC, he figured if he had enough echo and strings, he’d win over those who wouldn’t normally accept his radical views, in between their happy meals.
    Turns out he knew what he was doing.

  23. I’ve got to echo the Prof’s sentiment. I’m a stalwart Stones fan, who probably harbors an unhealthy adoration of Keith Richards.

    That said, my husband and I took a trip to Montreal in May 2009. During that time, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts presented “Imagine,” an exhibition/documentary of 40th anniversary of John and Yoko’s Bed-In for Peace. I entered the Museum with little adulation of John Lennon, and left absolutely choked up and literally in tears.

    I have quite a few Beatles albums, however, I wouldn’t place any of them among of my personal favorites (Sticky Fingers, Let It Bleed, and Beggars Banquet occupy those spots). Following our Montreal excursion, I developed an incredible appreciation for John Lennon, his songwriting ability, his quintessential rock vocal, his absorption with his family (the second time around that is) and mostly the tangible, undeniable love that existed between John and Yoko.
    Cathar, sadly, we’re all human, and not one among the blogosphere is perfect; Lennon took long, hard, public looks in the mirror (e.g. the “bigger than Jesus” remark and Jealous Guy, to name two such instances). In the end, to say the least, he’s admirable, creative, passionate, empathetic, sympathetic, etc, etc. It took me twenty-nine years to realize this. Cathar – you’ve still got time . . .

  24. And the haters come out to criticize a musician who mostly composed uplifting, positive songs. A peace advocate who was shot 4 times in the back by a lunatic. You guys are stellar examples of human beings not to mention brilliant music critics.

  25. I have to confess that I never understood the Stones-Beatles “rivalry”, as though if you liked one band it meant you couldn’t like the other. I adored them both, and still do. They’re quite different, of course. But that’s one of the great things about them both.

  26. There is no Stones/Beatles rivalry. The Stones and their fans would like you to believe there is but there is no equivalency and never has been.

    There is THE BEATLES.

    And then there are The Stones, and The Who, and Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd, and… etc.

    You’re welcome! ;->

  27. The rivalry is Beach Boys v. Beatles clearly.

    Pet Sounds
    Smile

    A good listening ear is your friend and if you lack that try google for some enlighten opinions

  28. whoa rahtac . . .
    “poser speak”???!!!
    Complete nonsense, woefully wrong, and I take serious exception to that comment! Exile (which I have two vinyls of) comes in fourth place on my RS list. I didn’t feel the need to go “all down the line” but if you wish me to, I certainly will.
    Q: Do you know who I was for Halloween???
    A: Keith Richards.

  29. A rank of number 4 for “Exile” – against other Stones albums?

    Clearly this is one of the top 10 rock albums of all time – not crazy to suggest that it is in the top 5 rock albums of all time. The other albums are good but this is a masterpiece you’ve slighted.

    I think Keith might fall out of a coconut tree if he heard you say that.

  30. I have to admit I’m late 70’s , 80’s new wave/ punker guy and make my way to Manitoba’s down on Ave. B , owned by the great Handsome Dick Manitoba once a month. I used to hang Aldo’s , Loop lounge and Hitsville back in the day.

    I prefer the sounds of the Clash (probably my all time fave), Talking Heads, Lemonheads, XTC REM, Guadalcanal Canal Diaries (very underrated band) , Nick Lowe and the sounds of the old Stiff records label then anything.

    Today I prefer bands like Kasabian, G.Love, Belle and Sebastian, Frightened Rabbitt, Neon Indian, Russian Futurists, Weezer, mgmt who i saw with Beck a true musical genius ( and a Scientologist to note) to name a few.

    So classic rock has never been my thing and push comes to shove I’ll take the Stones over the Beatles but I do love the Kinks and Buddy Holly can be my favorite all time. You talk about someone ahead of his time. Love the Pogues and the band i always get my chops busted about , the Bangles.

  31. I am also a dedicated supporter of ” free form radio” and WFMU and listen to Glen Jones and X-Ray Burns and Bill Kelly every Sunday and go to their live broadcasts when possible.

    BTW- they are having their fund-raising drive this weekend. Help out if you can.

    https://wfmu.org/

  32. herb, I’d suggest the most effective route would be to contact your friends in the top 3% earning bracket regarding the fund-raiser – perhaps the extended tax break will leave them a bit of pocket change for such charities.

  33. I’ve already done that. That’s the way I roll, let me and all my rich friends choose where the money we earn goes and not some activist judge or those 3 incompetents Peldopi, gRied and and that liberal sellout President, Mr.One term himself.

  34. It is very interesting to me how the same drugs — ingested by Mods (Beatles) and Rockers (Stones) — produced such different results.

    The only time the Stones ever disappointed me is when they tried to capitalize on the Beatles huge success with “Sgt. Pepper” and made “Their Satanic Majesties Request.” That being, said, you cannot deny the musical genius John Lennon was. It is sad he never lived to be sixty-four.

  35. Conan, The Beatles were not mods or rockers. They were mockers.
    As per Ringo in A Hard Day’s Night.

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