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For John Lennon's Birthday

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I was only about 10 when John Lennon was murdered, but already a Beatles fan and very aware of who he was, what he had done, and the often unpopular positions he had taken. I felt the loss very distinctly. In the years since, I have learned what a complex man he was, not always fair or reasonable, reliable or dependable. And yet, as years of my writing here might suggest, I love heroes all the more for having feet of clay. I can't relate to perfect people, being flawed myself, but I can easily embrace someone who has great weaknesses and yet also accomplishes great things. And whatever his foibles, cruelties, and, for that matter, kindness, humor, and generosity, the music endures. Thus, 30 years on, I feel the loss more keenly than I did then, because my comprehension of what we might have lost only grows. What, I often wondered, would John Lennon have said about all the wars of the last few years?

In honor of the Walrus (or wasn't he? He denied it, sometimes, and sometimes he said the walrus was the bad guy in the story), here is "Gimme Some Truth" from his excellent 1971 album, "Imagine," the title song of which I expect you're familiar with. It's a fine, angry song, and would makes for a pretty good summary of what I've tried to do in my writing career. Regarding that album, I think it an excellent example of how Lennon had grown artistically in the 1970s that he took the Beatles-era demo, "Child of Nature," a pastoral bit from India that would have been a close cousin to Paul McCartney's "Mother Nature's Son" (both were inspired by the same lecture) and turned it into "Jealous Guy."

Warning: There is a brief, indistinct flash of male nudity at the 2:35 mark.