John Lennon – A Remembrance
By Larry Kane,
Author of Lennon Revealed & Ticket To Ride

If John Lennon were alive today, he would probably say, “What’s the fuss? John, like all performers, had a reasonable ego, but the center of his life was seeking the truth, and eventually, using his fame to help people, and impact lives directly.
While he decried governments who abused their authority, he also had a special place in his heart for officers of the law, campaigning quite often to raise money for badly needed bulletproof vests. The plight of migrant workers was one of his great passions.

At the time of his death, he and Yoko were planning a trip to San Francisco to protest for higher wages for California farm workers. Most performers have some sort of connection to public service, sometime just token support. John Lennon’s passion for individual and their needs was a full time job, and he worked as hard for people in trouble as he did in those early tireless years of creating and growing his band. John had a clear understanding of the power of worldwide celebrity. He used it, and Yoko has, for the last 30 years, continued the legacy, as a tribute to their joint efforts in behalf of a world with peace, and the people who live in it.

People often ask me, “What was John really like? Although John was a complex man, the answer is easy. First, he was unlike any other mega-star of our lifetime. He said in public what he thought in private. There was little filter. It was refreshing, but sometimes risky. Conspiracy theorists in the Nixon and Ford White House, believed that John was, through his words and music (the hit “Imagine” was viewed with alarm), an enemy of the state. Of course, he was an enemy of no one, and was vindicated by the courts, and given the right to get his Green card and stay in the United States.

On a personal level, I have met few people quite like him. He and George were the compassionate Beatles, always willing to help. The time he came to Philadelphia for me for a 30-hour charity marathon, he had remembered that my mother had lost her battle against Multiple Sclerosis when I was 21 years old. He, too, had lot his Mom at an even younger age. He was naturally sympathetic, and wonderfully helpful. Unlike, many other superstars, he shied away from big crowds, and enjoyed personal contact, and individual dialogue. Believe me when I till you that John could debate an issue till he was dry in the mouth and red in the face. On a plane in 1966, he expressed his anger that I had entered the military during the Vietnam War era. We argued for over two hours on the way from St. Louis to New York. And then he suggested that I could be spirited out of the country to avoid my service obligations and come to London to work for the Beatles. He just didn’t understand why I turned him down. But, frankly, I was touched that he was so concerned about me, since I really wasn’t.

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Make no mistake – John was not a perfect human being. He was a bad father, then a good dad a decade later. He was invested in alcohol and drugs, and thankfully finally found his way. He was a mentor to Ringo during the lonely post-Beatle years, and he was quite inspirational to George and Ringo, even when his own world was falling apart in the early seventies. He loved Yoko, then May Pang, and then Yoko again, as he desperately tried to find the real path to happiness. His songs. Like public utterances, were often autobiographical. Was he helping us try to learn from his mistakes, or seeing our sympathy?

In the end, though, he left us with exquisite memories, and zeal to find out more than we really to know about life, to read, study, and challenge both our institutions and ourselves. Coupled, along with his and his three friends amazing collection of music and words, his contributions to ours and other generations, remains enduring. Concrete statues immortalize some people. John’s legacy is as a poet of words, whose messages of love, challenge, and hopes for peace, reverberate in our hopes for a better life.