Two years after John Lennon died


Dec. 8, 1983


WILLIAM PATERSON COLLEGE – Nobody cried. Not among the people I saw anyway.

            Michael Alexander said he cried, but I didn’t see him.

            I remember walking among strangers at school, realizing that for the first time, The Beatles were really dead.

            Not just John Lennon – or Paul with his black carnation.

            But all of them.

            Each of them had moved on in their own direction, lost.

            Harrison had become a Born Again Christian – Jesus Freaks – we used to call them in Hollywood.

            I kept thinking of how much of a contrast John’s Imagine was to George’s All things must pass.

            Could anyone really bridge that gap between the men?

            While George sang of Christ and life and growing, John sang of survival, talking of having this world on which to build: No heaven. No hell. Just this single ball in space going round and round.

            At the same time, Paul McCartney worked his way into being rich.

            Oh, I know they were all well off enough in their own way, but Paul make a joke of it.

            Now, nearing forty, he is one of the richest men in England, buying up this and than, possessing things in a way that his two former band mates would not have approved.

            And Ringo Starr seems as dedicated to making money as Paul, though in a much quieter way.

            But unlike George or John or even Paul, Ringo doesn’t seem to profess anything – not out loud.

            “He’s a family man,” one rock DJ claims.

            I remember being struck by the fact that John was shot 39 years and one day after Pearl Harbor and the first time in my life I really understand what it meant to be in the middle of a national disaster – and to hear the news over the radio that “John Lennon has been shot outside the Dakota. In one year, three social heroes died: Lennon, Harry Chapin and Bob Marley, raising the specter of my old religions classes in which was quoted that the good ones would be taken before the final judgment.

            Boy, would John have objected to my thinking that – just as he would have been upset at hearing the outline of history President Ronald Reagan has for us, endangering the world Bob Marley so loved, and for the benefit of hateful greedy men, leaving even more hungry people without men like Harry to help feed them.

            People keep talking about the lost generation. But they mean it is one that has been ignored.

            I see this generation as one without conscience and without ethnic, and soon without social leaders to counter the growing evil of our times.

            John Lennon is dead, and I miss him more than ever.




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