Maybe you missed the news, if you didn't use a search engine on the 9th or you had smashed your clock radio with a sledgehammer by accident that morning, and then kicked in your WEGA for good measure. Oh, and if you live in New York, Hollywood, Reykjavik, or Liverpool, you would have had to have locked yourself in a soundproof closet for the duration of the day.
So, yeah, you probably heard, one way or the other.
Me myself I found myself savvy through my libero-techno-scifi-artsy-craftsy-civlib blog of choice, Boing Boing. Sort of a stripped down post, it was, that I'd stumbled across. Pescovitz had posted a drawing of Lennon linked to a place where you could buy a print of said drawing for a hundred and fifty bucks next to two words of text: "Imagine Peace."
Pretty poignant, is what I'm saying.
OK, no I'm not. I'm not saying that at all. But at least when I scanned the post I instantly knew the cheap sentiment that had been targeted.
So then, because I was under the weather, on the weekend no less, and feeling therefore a little grouchy, and also because I happen to believe it's true, I submitted my comment to the discussion of the man that had sprung up thereunder, which was in its entirety: "Overrated."
It was a sort of perverse thing to do, I know, posting such a cynical contribution to a thread that had been all Peaceburger and Genius before I arrived. Like I said, I was feeling sort of grumpy and--alright, guilty as charged--maybe wanted to spread it. I figured I'd be shouted down quickly, but since I had no intention of defending what I'd written--being headed for bed instead--no biggie.
So I verified my comment had posted and went to my sickbed.
I think it was Monday before I went back to Boing Boing again, and of course I couldn't help myself, I decided I should check out the post and see what the reaction to my provocative comment had been.
And a mod had deleted it. I saw the thing post, and there I was, same bat-time, same bat-channel, two days later, and it was as if I'd never even answered that Captcha challenge.
Now I was pissed. I hadn't been rude, I hadn't been antagonistic, yet here my comment had been deleted as if it were racist screed, as if it were obscenity.
Of course, it had been neither of these things. What my comment had been, now that I think of it, was sacrilegious. The Weekly World News convinced us long ago that Elvis had the whacko cultsters, but now I find it's been Lennon all the time.
"Imagine" was a trifle, people, a barely pleasant ditty cloaked in vapid platitudes. "Give Peace a Chance" is at the least fun --you certainly feel as if you are in that Toronto hotel room with John and Yoko and Tom and Dick and everybody else, buzzed and smelling of incense--but it's not much more, a child's singalong, is this all that Lennon, on inspection, had?
No, of course not. He'd been in The Beatles of course, and I can't discount that too much, though that the Beatles were, are, have been, and must forever after be overrated is an unassailable truism. They were pretty fucking good, but no-one is that good, and if you disagree, consider for a moment the atrocity that is "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da."
Or if a McCartney song seems incongrous, consider "Revolution # 9."
Anyway, my point, beyond the obvious one that the most popular band in the history of the planet can't help but be overrated, is that you can't judge the members by the band. It was all chemistry. It's impossible to say what influence Lennon had on "Yesterday," and impossible to say what influence McCartney had on "Across the Universe."
So if you believe as I do that you can't judge Lennon by The Beatles, what do you have left?
Well, you have Plastic Ono Band, a stark masterpiece in which you hear the layers of Lennon's personality being peeled away until you've reached his raw inner core.
And that's certainly something. Don't take me wrong: in the masterpiece department, the score stands
Lennon In His Own Write 1
But some of the scores from those faves listened to here at La Historia are a bit higher. King Crimson has two, possibly three, masterpieces to their credit, and Pink Floyd certainly have that many. Eno made three, then realized he didn't even like making them. Neil Young's probably tossed off five.
And I don't see Neil Young's self-drawn mug on Google, or Bob Fripp's.
Plastic Ono Band is awesome, but make no mistake: Lennon never followed it up with anything remotely as good. In this respect, Lennon is as a solo artist more like Joseph Heller than William Faulkner, more like Night Ranger than Black Sabbath. He did good work, but not enough of it, and you don't get the feeling that his murder, as tragic and reasonless as it was, really deprived us of anything vital he needed to express, not if you're straight up about what Double Fantasy truly was.
And yet somehow it is Lennon alone who has been selected for sanctification. Lennon was at core a rock star like any other, perhaps most like Lou Reed in that he played guitar in a great band that broke up and his best song is about heroin.
Or perhaps he's more like Ozzy, in that he found a kind of contentment in being marketed by his dominant wife.
A rock star like any other is what he was, prey to the same pecadilloes and fetishes and hedonisms as all the ones you read about in the tabloids. If you doubt that, you might read up on his lost weekend one day. Yet we find he's been canonized to the point where muttering "overrated" under your breath at a major website will get you censored.
Yikes. I guess if you've gotta get murdered, you might as well be made into a saint.
Anyway, another characteristic of Lennon's original solo work is its frequent failure to rock, witness "Imagine" and Double Fantasy again, if you'd like. Presented for you here--and to show I bear no ill will--is perhaps John's rockinest solo tune, the tape loops don't bother me at all.
John Lennon - Mind Games - 12 - Meat City.mp3
128 kbps mp3, up for six weeks (right click and save as target)
File Under: (Just gotta give me some) Rock and roll