Friday, December 7, 2007
"The killing of John Lennon altered everything... "
My cousin Carol was working at RSO records in Los Angeles in the late 70's at the height off the disco craze. RSO was the Bee Gees label then and the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever earned the label untold millions. So she thought it was pretty darn cool to be able to send a stack of LP's my way from RSO. I got almost every Bee Gees LP in the mail, followed by the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, then later the Grease soundtrack and later still the godawful Sgt. Pepper movie soundtrack. I can still recall her face when she asked if I dug the records she sent, and at 11 or 12 ...well, I didn't have much, shall we say - tact - in response. It was an unqualified "nah" from this anti-disco kid. But this is how cool Carol was...she asked just WHO was I really into...and in 77-78 without a doubt next to The Beatles, it was KISS. Well, Carol had a friend at Casablanca, KISS's label -- and BOOM -- each and every KISS LP to date in one box at my door. Cool, huh?
Carol was in her early/mid twenties back then and really WAS that cool. So cool she had even met John Lennon, presumably during his Lost Weekend bender and had struck up a bit of a rapport with the Beatle. Why, she had even given John and Yoko one of their house cats. So, it seemed entirely feasible then that she could grant me an even bigger wish -- to meet John Lennon. And she thought it was quite do-able. She'd heard they're working on a new album after five years, they'd be doing press in New York and she'd drive me up from Jersey into the city to meet J & Y. Man, I was psyched. This was right about the time that John and Yoko would run full page letters to the people in the New York Times. There'd be one almost every other month. "Here they are - they're back." So, I had every inclination to think that one day my path would cross John Lennon's.
Well, its been 27 years now. I anticipate every music blogger and his blogger mother will have a Lennon post this weekend, the anniversary of his assassination. (And it WAS an assassination, indeed.) There'll be posts on each and every aspect of John's career...pre-Beatle, Beatle, post-Beatle...and he'll be quoted and examined and opined upon for pixels galore.
But very much like my tactless response to Carol regarding the Bee Gees LPs that I'd wish to have back or recast as an adult, I'm quite sure John would have said, and frankly often did, "we've moved on from that, dear." To me what is MOST important is what he was saying/thinking/doing on the very LAST days of his life because he, as we all become, was the sum of his travels. Not the guy who went misunderstood for the "Jesus" remark which will get plenty of traction this weekend I'm sure, but the guy with the clarity, self reflection and self-deprecation, good humor, wisdom, charm, and yes wit on the days before and on his very last day here with us -- which went captured in the links below.
The first 10 below are excerpts from a BBC interview conducted by Andy Peebles on December 6, 1980. Recorded in studio, John sounds more vibrant than ever. Current and relevant. Incisive and thoughtful. The latter is an almost hour-long, compilation of cassette-recorded interviews done on the day of his death. Eerie in many regards but no less charming somehow.
John would have been 67 this year and most likely would have every reason to still be performing that very last link right there.
John Lennon, 12/6/80 - A New Prolific Era (Mp3)
John Lennon, 12/6/80 - A Sense Of Security (Mp3)
John Lennon, 12/6/80 - Fatherhood And Sean (Mp3)
John Lennon, 12/6/80 - House Husband (Mp3)
John Lennon, 12/6/80 - Love Of British Comedy (Mp3)
John Lennon, 12/6/80 - Memories For The BBC (Mp3)
John Lennon, 12/6/80 - New Wave, Reggae, Disco (Mp3)
John Lennon, 12/6/80 - Phil Spector And Harry Nilsson (Mp3)
John Lennon, 12/6/80 - The BBC World Service (Mp3)
John Lennon, 12/6/80 - Time For A Break (Mp3)
John Lennon, 12/8/80 - The Last Interview (76mgs) (Mp3)
John Lennon and Yoko Ono - Happy Xmas (War is Over) (Mp3)
Posted by Jon at 11:54 AM