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Culture Notes: John Lennon part 2

Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, January 19, 2008 10:18 PM (Eastern)

(see Culture Notes: John Lennon part 1)

Here I was looking for the film Imagine--I'm sure that was the name--one of those art films John and Yoko had made around the time of the album. I saw it in the theatre, where it was pretty much dissed, similarly to, say, the early work of David Lynch. What would make the original Imagine movie stand out now would be the lush youth of John and Yoko, against a fabulously verdant English backdrop, and various noodlings such as trying to morph two faces into one (predating the computer programs which do so now). And Yoko showing off her perfect figure.

Instead I found this; the entire movie is up if you care to watch it.

Imagine - The Movie John Lennon Part 1

Where was I yesterday? I've realized it's not that easy writing a piece on John Lennon. Part of me still doesn't want to believe what happened to him. Of course I remember that, I was fifteen... It is still sad.

But, it's pointless to bury someone's work. I tried finding more from Walls and Bridges, but there are only a few songs up.

Rock 'n' Roll (1975)...hmmm, there's a Wiki. (Isn't it great?)

While still encumbered with the US government's attempts to have him deported, Lennon found himself threatened with a lawsuit, by Roulette Records chief Morris Levy. Lennon had admitted in an interview that his song "Come Together" both borrowed stylistically from Chuck Berry's "You Can't Catch Me", published by Levy, and re-used one line ("Here come old flat-top") from the song. Levy sued Lennon for infringement, but agreed to drop the suit if Lennon recorded at least three songs that Levy published, on his next album (after Mind Games). Browsing Levy's music publishing catalog, Lennon found so many of his old favourites that he decided to do a full album of cover songs, by Levy's artists and others.

Rock 'n' Roll was interesting in that, as much as the Beatles have been lauded as the greatest thing since sliced bread, their chief influences were 1950's American rock 'n' roll artists such as Chuck Berry and Little Richard. When I first heard the album, I found it a tad Anglicized...keep in mind I'm old enough to have heard most of the originals first (1950's and 1960's music got frequent radio play in 1970's Virginia). Hearing it now though, it sounds...fresh.

Rock 'n' Roll John Lennon

Double Fantasy came out in 1980. Here I wanted to embed Yoko's song, "Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him," because it was a lovely pop tune. Unfortunately there isn't much Yoko on Youtube. I'm not blaming would be hard to go back and make videos for these songs. I'm hearing it playing in my mind right now.

Every man has a woman who loves him
In rain or shine, life or death...

Why do I run, when I know you're the one
Why do I laugh, when I feel like crying?

There were several hit songs on this record, starting with "Starting Over" (John doing Elvis :D), then going to "Watching the Wheels," "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)," and "Woman" (which was still considered an unusual feminist statement).

I remember this period as magical. I went out and bought the record and played it many, many times.

beautiful boy (darling boy)

After John died, there was this sort of hollow feeling. It just seemed incomprehensible, yet there it was.

1984 saw the release of Milk and Honey. This was my last complete year to live in Virginia, and for whatever reason, the popular songs of 1984 and 1985 reside vividly in my memory--Don Henley's "Boys of Summer" and "All She Wants to Do Is Dance," Madonna's "Material Girl," Wham's "Freedom," the stuff on U2's The Unforgettable Fire. I don't actually associate Milk and Honey with 1984 though; it just seems to float, timeless, brave, and stellar.

Nobody Told Me

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Colleen Shirazi continues to blog here: Life of Colleen
2 comment(s)
January 20, 2008 2:17 PM, Blogger Dain said...

You know what's odd? I feel a pang too, even though he has always been gone to me. But you can definitely feel the void, it is strange. He was the rarest of celebrities, a figure of intelligence, yes, but intelligent people can be socially selfish, even when they have liberal values. But John, he always had empathy.

January 20, 2008 3:07 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

It was hard going back on it. It's funny, you don't think about it day to day, but some of these songs, I haven't heard in years.

I was going to do a follow-up of sorts, with Yoko, Julian Lennon, and Sean Lennon. They all have a lot of stuff up on MySpace. Maybe I'll do that later on.


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