Skip to comments.Lennon Was All Right, but His Disciples Were Thick and Ordinary
Posted on 10/24/2010 8:28:39 AM PDT by Kaslin
The song that unshook the world and that the Lennon tributes forgot.
(John Lennon) criticized Americas involvement in Vietnam, and, as the Sixties progressed, he became an increasingly important symbol of the burgeoning counterculture.
Veteran rock music journalist Anthony DeCurtis, on the website JohnLennon.com, 10/8/10.
As a staunch Lennonist, I was tickled to get a letter some years back from a rich lefty friend that included a photo of him sitting with John in Havana. Well, he wasnt really with John himself, since the ex-Beatle was long dead at that point. But he was sitting next to the famous Imagine statue of John on a park bench in the Cuban capital. My friend had a wicked grin on his face he knew Id hate to see evidence that he was fraternizing in some sense with the old red butcher Castro.
As I considered the picture, I thought: Cute, but guess what would happen to any Cuban caught singing the lyrics to Lennons best song? We might all differ as to what was his best song, but to me it was Revolution 1, usually just called Revolution.
When the Beatles White Album came out in late 1968, the world seemed almost literally to be coming apart at the seams. Against the backdrop of a big, increasingly unpopular war in Southeast Asia, riots, assassinations, and strikes had become commonplace and upheaval was the order of the day. The young, in particular, were on the march, trying to kick out the jams as the gritty Detroit band MC5 urged, and to end not only the war in Vietnam, but the very idea of war. Many of the young were in the thrall of a potent millennialism as well: In this Age of Aquarius thered be not only no war, but no want, no racism … not even bad vibes. Nothing but bliss whether of the drug-induced or self-induced variety, no one much cared. But how to achieve this exalted state of consciousness the young seemed to sense was really just around the corner?
For some, the answer was Lenin. The new age wouldnt just birth itself, so there would have to be some rough stuff knocking heads before you could cradle them, as the top Bolshevik himself had said to bring its benefits to mankind.
But then a funny thing happened: Lenin met Lennon at the height of the world-shaking ructions of 1968, and Lennon won. On the first track of the fourth side of the white double album actually named The Beatles, he sang:
You say you want a revolution well, you know we all want to save the world.
John was basically sympathetic to those who sought to rock things he was, after all, perhaps the quintessential rocker but he wanted a little more information before signing off on the head-knocking program.
You say youve got a real solution well, you know wed all love to see the plan.
If the revolutionaries wanted a contribution from him, which many of them undoubtedly did, John reminded them: Were all doing what we can. But he knew that a gentle reproof wasnt going to be enough, so rather than leave any doubt he put the hammer (and sickle) down:
But if you want money for people with minds that hate. All I can tell you is brother you have to wait. Why? Because ultimately, its gonna be all right.
The potent words stopped the would-be bomb-throwers in their tracks. Not all of them, of course — late 1968 and the ensuing years would have more than their share of violence. But this song, coming as it did at the height of the Beatles almost unimaginable global popularity and influence, certainly exerted a calming influence on many of Johns young adherents which is to say, a good part of the baby boom generation. If you were 17 then, as I was, and wondering which direction to take (a bright friend of mine in high school was planning to skip college in favor of training among the proles for the revolution), you suddenly had a sensible message from John Lennon, of all people, to go by: Violence isnt the way to bring about positive change. Dont let yourself be swept into madness by people with little red books.
Those words werent actually in the song, of course. And, in a typically Lennonesque twist, he also sang and in after but when you talk about destruction, dont you know that you can count me out in the first verse. But the rest of the song made the real message clear.
Everyone got it, except perhaps my lefty friend on his Sandalista pilgrimage to Havana. Did he ever stop to think about what might happen to any Cuban caught singing words like But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you aint gonna make it with anyone anyhow? Probably not.
Nor did any of the Lennon retrospectives I saw this month in commemoration of what would have been his 70th birthday play or talk about the song that may well have kept some blood from flowing in the streets in 1968 and thereafter. Dont worry, though. As John himself said: Dont you know its gonna be
Drugs, drugs, and more drugs. Delusion - Yoko [Exhibit A, your honor]. Drugs, drugs, Ravi Shankar, Buddah, Hari Krishna hey, hey, hey......finally? More drugs, drugs and drugs......please!
But EVERY liberal has the same fantasy — that THEY get to control everyone else.
Conservatives want to control their lives and their businesses.
Liberals want to control YOUR life and YOUR business.
Oh, and liberals love to tax, regulate, and destroy in order to transfer wealth to themselves when they can’t do it on their own.
Lennon was also an avid drug addict which could also explain his strange political thinking.
If he were alive today and on FR, he would be IMO on libertarian threads talking about how great legalizing pot would be for America.
Rumor has it that John Lennon was at a NFL MNF game in the early 70’s and was tutored on the finer points of the American game by Ronald Reagan.
Apparently both got along quite well.
One wonders if Lennon had a change of heart on his political leaning once he hit his late 30’s.
Heh.. I got the “White Album” at Christmastime in 1968. Played it a zillion times and still have it. I always liked the rocking single version of Revolution (which had come out prior to, and wasn’t on the white album) much better than the slow, album version.
“The young, in particular, were on the march, trying to ‘kick out the jams’ as the gritty Detroit band MC5 urged, and to end not only ‘the’ war in Vietnam, but the very idea of war.”
Those who won’t fight for their freedom - including war - will live as slaves. Sadly, a huge number of leftist useful idiots choose the latter.
It’s hard to take seriously someone who sings about having no possessions yet moved into a $10 million dollar penthouse overlooking Central Park to avoid paying taxes in his home country
Exactly. Lennon was a jerk.
One of the DJs on a New York City classic rock station once noted how he used to see Lennon driving around Manhattan in his $200,000+ Bentley.
John Lennon never should have been born.
I was never impressed by lennon or his no talent wife.
I’ve heard that Lennon was an admirer of Ronald Reagan. I don’t know if it’s true.
This article is wrong. In an alternate version of Revolution on the same album, Lennon sings “when you talk about destruction, don’t you know that you can count me out - in”.
Lennon spend the last years of his life doped up in the Dakota.
Interesting. Lennon seems so much different in that clip with Cosell then the way the he has always been portrayed.
Does this mean I have to change my tagline?
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