Nationalized Health Care. The Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The economy. Gay marriage. Sex abuse among the clergy. And many other issues. John Lennon was the outspoken and controversial Beatle. He was the Beatle who said "the Beatles are bigger than Jesus Christ." He was considered one of the most dangerous men in America according to the FBI who wanted him deported. His marriage to Japanese conceptual artist Yoko Ono was hated by many Beatle fans who associated her relationship with John as the reason the Beatles broke up. John was criticized for mocking Jesus in his song "The Ballad of John and Yoko" and for his no religion comments in his song "Imagine."
He was not the only songwriter who spoke out about the issues of his time. But because John Lennon said it, more people were affected positively or negatively by his comments in interviews and in his songs.
In Revolution, John spoke about the student protests. "You say you've got a real solution, well you know. we'd all love to see the plan." What would John think of the thousands of pages of Obama's Nationalized Health Care Reform plan?
And in Imagine, John's comments are still too controversial to understand. Imagine no countries, no religion, no possessions. Back then it was the War in Vietnam. Today it's the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Different places but essentially the same line of reasoning. Defending our country in someone else's country, American soldiers killed, wounded for complex reasons rather than basic reasons. "Imagine there's no countries... no need to kill or die for... a brotherhood of man." We still don't get it. Could it ever be possible? No religion, no countries, one world economy and peace and solving real problems rather than manufactured problems?
In one of his last albums John in Double Fantasy seemed content to "Watch the Wheels" go around. He was done with trying to speak out about the issues. But he did say a comment in Playboy magazine that struck a chord with me even to this day.
"Don't expect Jimmy Carter or Ronald Reagan or John Lennon or Yoko Ono or Bob Dylan or Jesus Christ to come and do it for you. You have to do it yourself. "
Well said. Rest in peace John.