John Winston Lennon
Oct. 9, 1940-Dec. 8, 1980
John Lennon was the rocker to Paul McCartney's crooner. These styles blended as well in their songwriting making them the most successful tunesmiths in modern music history. Without a doubt the foundation of the most amazing rock group the world will ever see. The phenomenon of Beatlemania will not be repeated as it was the perfect storm of demography, maturation of media, and the natural exuberance of the 60's. It is fair to say that John Lennon and the Beatles were what made me go for broke in the rock and roll biz. (And broke I ended up. Haha.)
That being said, I am again about to commit boomer apostasy. (My post on Janis Joplin is here.) In my opinion, and I know it is a minority one, John Lennon should have hung up the gloves after the Beatles broke up. Yes, I said it. A great deal of Lennon's musical demise I blame, of course, on Yoko Ono. I bet the other Beatles agree with me on this. I hated all that Plastic Ono Band shit. I hated the Bed-In for Peace and all that hippie dippie crapola that John Lennon, backbeat rocker extraordinaire, became the poster boy for. (My love for hippies is expressed here.) The Phil Spector produced album Rock & Roll was a rare beam of light in a murky swamp of boring "Woman is the Nigger of the World" simplistic political rant music. Do I even have to mention Imagine? The anthem of pimply, dreamy-eyed doofuses since 1971. Easily my vote for the worst song in the history of mankind. OK, maybe She Bang by William Hung is worse but not by much.
Lennon retired from the music scene around 1976 to help raise his son, Sean, before returning to record the Double Fantasy album with wife, Yoko. Double Fantasy has a few highlights but that's about it. But by then Lennon's iconic status was so carved in granite that anything he put out was met with breathless, and in my opinion, witless praise.
John Lennon did not die a typical rock star death. As everyone knows he was murdered by psycho Catcher in the Rye obsessed stalker Mark David Chapman in front of his Dakota apartment building.
From multiple gunshot wounds.
Here is one of John Lennon's best rock vocals.
Irony alert: "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, co-founder and influential guitarist of heavy metal band Pantera was murdered by gunshot while onstage on this same date in 2004.