October 9, 1940 – marks the emergence of a baby that is destined to be a rock icon. One of the best things that ever happened in the music industry in general, and one of the most influential household name – John Lennon. In some photos and angle, kids nowadays might mistake him for Harry Potter, but no, he is more than magical, he is real and a legend in his own right. For green music fans, read on.
“My role in society, or any artist’s or poet’s role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.” – John Lennon
John Winston Ono Lennon, MBE (9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980) was an English rock musician, singer-songwriter, author, and peace activist who gained worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles. With Paul McCartney, Lennon formed one of the most influential and successful songwriting partnerships of the 20th century and “wrote some of the most popular music in rock and roll history”. He is ranked the second most successful songwriter in UK singles chart history after McCartney.
Lennon revealed a rebellious nature, and biting wit, in his music, on film, in books, and at press conferences and interviews. He was controversial through his work as a peace activist and visual artist. After The Beatles, Lennon enjoyed a successful solo career with such acclaimed albums as John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine and iconic songs such as “Give Peace a Chance” and “Imagine“. After a self-imposed “retirement” to raise his son Sean, Lennon reemerged with a comeback album, Double Fantasy, but was murdered less than one month after its release. The album would go on to win the 1981 Grammy Award for Album of the Year.
In 2002, respondents to a BBC poll on the 100 Greatest Britons voted Lennon eighth. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Lennon number 38 on its list of “The Immortals: The Fifty Greatest Artists of All Time” (The Beatles being number one). He was also ranked fifth greatest singer of all time by Rolling Stone in 2008. He was posthumously inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. (source: wikipedia)
“I’m not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I’ve always been a freak. So I’ve been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I’m one of those people.” – John Lennon
I have been jokingly and seriously (sometimes with hate) regarded many times as Lennon’s Filipino look-and-sound-a-like, from physical features to vocal attack. However they meant it, will be taken as an ultimate compliment from a provincial commoner. More than a decade of emulation and admiration spells the reason why.
Last year, for a Christmas eve fashion feature in the lifestyle section of The Manila Bulletin, I was invited to do a John Lennon-Yoko Ono inspired photo shoot and pose as the rock icon entitled “And So This Is Christmas.” Here are some of the pics taken by Charles Buenconsejo:
“You are all geniuses, and you are all beautiful. You don’t need anyone to tell you who you are. You are what you are. Get out there and get peace, think peace, live peace, and breathe peace, and you’ll get it as soon as you like.” – John Lennon
That same month prior to the shoot I was given another perfect opportunity to pay tribute to Lennon’s work and perform alongside excellent musicians at a legendary venue for rock music – 70s Bistro. The bar owners organized a Lennon Night with Johnoy Danao (vox/acoustic), Julianne (vox/acoustic), Kakoy Legazpi (lead guitars), Rommel Dela Cruz (bass), Carlo Gaa (keyboards) and Benjie Santos (drums). Was lucky enough to be able to sing for the first time Lennon songs I never thought I’d sing and perform live.
Here are some captured clips covering his songs:
“Woman” from his last album Double Fantasy (1980)
“Mind Games” from the album of the same title released 1973
Now I’m with The Camerawalls, his songs especially those with The Beatles, are still a staple choice to cover during gigs. Although he is long gone, he has left a lot to enable everyone to re-imagine his glory days and reminisce what he meant to people he has touched — in ways big and small. – Clementine
“Imagine” from John Lennon’s second solo album of the same title. (1971)