October 12, 2010: Harmony Brings It Home – Imagining John

(Celebrating John Lennon, Oct. 9, 1940 – Dec. 8, 1980)

It isn’t easy to dance to the sound of a single instrument. If the musician is ingenious and full of life though, you can somehow find a little harmony within the flow. Solo musicians have to be creative in order to maintain the balance. If a bass player is then added, something extra happens; everything gets infectiously exciting. The “team” now has the power to make a real impact in generating more accord. But if you’re an extraordinary contribution like that of John Lennon, who mastered a number of instruments including the electric guitar, banjo, flute, recorder, piano, percussion, harmonica, Mellotron, and 6-string bass, then you could likely take the floor single-handedly.

While some artists are of their time, others are indeed ahead of it. Only a few are timeless. Native born English musician, singer-songwriter, artist, peace activist, writer, poet, record producer, John Winston Lennon, defied definition by melding musical notes, controversial melodies and merging words in such a relaxed yet unconventional vocal style, that it positioned him amongst the most noteworthy of the 20th Century.

Born in Liverpool, England, UK, on October 9, 1940, and during a time period when the nation was divided and in recovery from the great depression, war was at-large, and the rise of anti-nuclear songs and lyrics regarding the protest of labor, race and class issues continued to climb the charts, no doubt John Lennon landed on the planet as a potential initiator of progressive movement with an ambition in mind – to imagine to change the world. Hence, no coincidence that our times, dates and places of birth, play significant roles in who we are – and who we are to be. During the accurate time of his birth, some biographers claim that a German air raid was taking place and his mother’s sister, Mary, “Mimi” Smith, used the light cast by the explosions to see her way as she ran through the blacked-out roads to reach the hospital. Even then, John was “anticipating” the cultivation of peace within the womb.

At an early age, Lennon had an abundant love for writing and art. He collected his short stories, poetry, cartoons, and caricatures in a Quarry Bank High School exercise book he called The Daily Howl. Lennon’s mother bought him his first low-priced acoustic guitar in 1957, confident that he would lose interest in the art of music. Habitually recognized for his open-mindedness, artistic soul and rebellious spirit as he grew into young adulthood, Lennon evolved into a ground-breaking talent with a shrewd understanding of humanity. Positive, practical, poetic, and popular, he used his harmonic gifts to shed light on many political and humane issues and had a clear insight on what universal receptivity was all about.

As a strong-minded teenager, in 1960 he organized his first band, The Quarrymen, which later evolved into the fabulous four we distinguish as The Beatles. In 1963, the group produced their debut album, Please Please Me, in less than 10 hours on a cold night in February. Also in 1963, The Beatles achieved mainstream prominence in the UK. Lennon left The Beatles in September of 1969 and moved to New York City to begin his solo career. In 1970, he released his debut solo album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band.

As a peace activist, his perceptions, his music, his writing, became so notorious that Richard Nixon’s administration made countless attempts to deporting him in an effort to obstruct his messages of anti-war and worldwide unity. In an interview in September of 1980, he would have this to say about his childhood, his family and his rebellious and nonconforming nature: “Part of me would like to be accepted by all facets of society and not be this loudmouthed lunatic musician. But I cannot be what I am not.”

As a writer and co-writer, to date Lennon is accountable for 27 number one singles on the US Hot 100 chart. In 2002, a BBC poll on the 100 Greatest Britons voted him eighth, and in 2008, Rolling Stone ranked him the fifth greatest singer of all time. In 1987, he was post inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. On October 9, 2010, an 18-foot high monument was revealed and unveiled in Lennon’s honor in his hometown of Liverpool. Its’ title, Peace and Harmony, was positioned in the city’s center and commissioned by the Global Peace Initiative, an arts organization based in the United States.

Being a writer, poet and humanitarian, I can appreciate that John Lennon is perhaps one of the greatest examples of the human spirit. He believed that one single person didn’t have to practice or believe in religion in order to stand up for their principals and genuinely have care and concern for the welfare of another. Peace is at the core of most of us I imagine. Though John Lennon was a unique spirit, he is not uncommon. Everyone has a divine gift to offer the world. No one is exempt. The “individuality” of our gifts is what will presumably amass the harmony within our world.

Amongst my favorite iconic Lennon masterpieces are Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Give Peace A Chance and Imagine. I imagine that if John Lennon were alive today, he would carry on to bestow us with peace in our homes, our communities and our world through his prolific music, thought-provoking lyrics and genuine proclivity for cultivating peace. And we could persevere to imagine a human race that could be melodious after all.

Love and inspiration for your Tuesday

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