The young lad on the photo above is John Lennon. Lennon would have been celebrating his seventieth birthday this weekend if he had lived. It’s thirty years since he was murdered and his influence on music and beyond is still strongly felt. It could even be argued that his influence is actually stronger because he’s no longer with us. Writers, actors, songwriters, even Royals who die young seem to become frozen in our minds, their status as legends secured. Ironically, their mortality brings immortality.
John Lennon (just like Elvis Presley, James Dean, Jimmy Hendrix, Princess Diana) escaped the slow deterioration of his talent that his contemporaries have had to endure. He has never had to resort to guest appearances on The X-Factor, collaborations with Westlife, or (Oh God) panto! Does this mean that we over-estimate his ‘genius’?
To answer that question go back and listen to the best of his music, even listen to the worst of his music. Even if he had not been killed in 1980 and even if he had written nothing but terrible, cheesy pot-boilers for the next three decades and appeared on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here eating big, sweaty maggots… Even if all of that had happened the brilliance of the stuff he did pre-1980 would still stand.