Monday, August 26, 2019

John Lennon Notes and Quotes to Start Your Week

Illustration by the author.
"I've always considered my work one piece and I consider that my work won't be finished until I am dead and buried and I hope that's a long, long time."
John Lennon Interview with RKO Radio on the day of his murder (8 December 1980)

* * * *

This past couple weeks I've been reading Philip Norman's Paul McCartney: The Life. Although some of the reviewers give it rather harsh scores on Amazon, I've personally found it a rewarding read because I've not read many books about The Beatles and thus there are more new insights and anecdotes than I was familiar with.

I still listen to The Beatles after more than half a century, and also internalized some of their individual post-breakup albums by repeated listenings.

There's no question that Lennon & McCartney were one of the greatest songwriting teams of all time. There's also little doubt that extreme fame has to do a number on your head. Finding personal equilibrium after the flume ride of Beatlemania took years and was real work.

One of the things that surprised me was how much abuse Linda Eastman received in marrying Paul. I was aware that Yoko was despised for extricating John from the Fab Four, and blamed for the breakup of The Beatles. I was pretty much unaware that Linda was often physically assaulted by Paul's female fans for making him "unavailable" and dashing their own hopes.

Fab 4 arrive in NYC, Feb 7, 1964.
Photo: Library of Congress. Public domain.
The book goes into detail about the context of their emergence as superstars. A good comparison might be the forest fires that raged in California last year. Conditions were right for an exceptional year for destructive blazes. Similarly, with Elvis in the army, Buddy Holly dead, and Jerry Lee Lewis out of favor for marrying his 13-year-old cousin, conditions were ripe for a super talented, outgoing supergroup to set hearts ablaze across the universe... or at least, across the seas.

When their solo careers began, after the breakup, it surprised me how harsh the critics were on Paul's first two albums. I had all those early solo efforts and enjoyed them all, including All Things Must Pass (Harrison) and especially Lennon's Mind Games.

John Lennon features prominently in the book, as it would be near impossible to tell any of their stories without their symbiotic others. The quotes that follow are Lennon's. When I read the quote at the top of this page it set me on a search for other Lennon remarks and observations.

John Lennon Quotes

"The thing the Sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn't the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility."--John Lennon

"It's better to fade away like an old soldier than to burn out."--John Lennon

"Nor do I think we came from monkeys, by the way...That's another piece of garbage. What the hell's it based on? We couldn't've come from anything--fish, maybe, but not monkeys. I don't believe in the evolution of fish to monkeys to men. Why aren't monkeys changing into men now? It's absolute garbage. It's absolutely irrational garbage, as mad as the ones who believe the world was made only four thousand years ago, the fundamentalists.
"That and the monkey thing are both as insane as the other. I’ve nothing to base it on; it’s only a gut feeling."--John Lennon

Photo: Jack Mitchell. Free public use via Creative Commons.
"These critics with the illusions they've created about artists — it's like idol worship. They only like people when they're on their way up … I cannot be on the way up again. … What they want is dead heroes, like Sid Vicious and James Dean. I'm not interested in being a dead (expletive) hero. … So forget 'em, forget 'em."--John Lennon

"Everything is as important as everything else."--John Lennon

"I don't mind people putting us down, because if everybody really liked us, it would be a bore."--John Lennon

"Above all else never let people know how physically unattractive they actually are. Everyone deserves to believe they are beautiful."--John Lennon

"We're trying to sell peace, like a product, you know, and sell it like people sell soap or soft drinks. And it's the only way to get people aware that peace is possible, and it isn't just inevitable to have violence. Not just war — all forms of violence."--John Lennon

"It's just natural, it's not a great disaster. People keep talking about it like it's The End of The Earth. It's only a rock group that split up, it's nothing important. You know, you have all the old records there if you want to reminisce."--John Lennon

"Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. … I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That's what's insane about it."--John Lennon

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."--John Lennon

Related Links
Dylan's Tribute to Lennon Keeps Rolling On
A Leadership Lesson from John Lennon
Tomorrow Never Knows: The Beatles' Turning Point?
Mind Games


Unknown said...

The man!

Anonymous said...

"People deserve to believe they're beautiful" (no matter how unattractive they actually are) is fit for the fridge door.
John, John, your thoughts live on and on! May them serve you well, brothers and sisters!
Freedom of body and thought to all human beings and looking forward to Yoko's "Mend them with glue" workshop here in Amsterdam next year.
Thank you Ed and keep on drawing.
Love from the one you don't remember but you get the message anyway.

Ed Newman said...

Thank you, anon, for this nourishment.

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