John Lennon is still critically dead...
Today was the 22nd anniversary of the execution of John Lennon. Being a major Beatles fan, I would have at one time worn a black armband today in his memory. The man is rightly remembered as a giant of the music industry and a true artist.
However, I've been rethinking that true giant and artist thing a bit today. Of course, I took out my Beatles CD's and, of course, I listened to Lennon's own recordings as well. Then it struck me, as it never struck me before --- the differences, that is.
When one listens to the Beatles all you hear is great music. If you listen to all of their individual stuff it soon becomes clear --- these guys were a lot better together than they were separately. Except for George Harrison, who actually got better without the Beatles (I highly recommend All Things Must Pass). Ringo, of course, just got worse. Too bad, because he was an idol of mine, being a drummer and all that.
Listening to Lennon today I was struck at the blandness of the tunes. With the exception of the Double Fantasy album, I no longer see what all the fuss was about. Maybe it's just my age and changing tastes, but Lennon, on his own, was a mediocre songster. McCartney went on to be more prolific, but his stuff seems industrialized in the sense that all the man has done is crank out tunes since the early 70's, and most of them, frankly, suck. I submit for your evaluation such tunes as "Let 'Em In", "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey", "Ebony and Ivory". Sure, Paul managed a few good ones in his time, but not enough to warrant a knighthood for it.
It soon struck me, and it never occurred to me before, just what a genius George Martin (the Beatles' producer) really is/was. It now becomes apparent that the Beatles, individually, were talented men, but they required someone to pull it all together for them in order to become the successes they were. I raise a glass to George Martin.
Lennon's celebrity now seems to me to be more and more related to his political views than it actually did his music. While I mourn that the Beatles will never be together again (what with two of them dead and all) I figure this is the last time I will hold a do-it-yourself state funeral for John Lennon. Like George Harrison said, All things Must Pass.