Remembering John Lennon

Roger Ebert remembers John Lennon, December 10th, 1980, 2 days after the ex-Beatle was shot and killed in New York City.

The news that John Lennon was dead came as an immense shock, infinitely sad, because one was grieving not only for his death but for the death of an era, and for the Beatles songs that played all through that time, over and over, giving it texture and a bittersweet flavor. The silly, innocent songs, like “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and the songs so deep they were poems, like “Eleanor Rigby,” and the albums that a generation scrutinized for secret messages.

What is most touching, when you remember how we used to study the album covers and try to listen between the words of the songs for the messages the Beatles had allegedly hidden there, was that we really believed the Beatles had a message worth listening for. At their height they commanded more ideological currency than all of the candidates in the last presidential campaign — not because they had more to say, but because they were in a world still eager to listen.

Now Lennon has been shot dead and the Beatles are no more. Ringo, Paul and George still live and the albums are still on the shelves, and Monday night all the radio stations were playing them over and over, but there is no kidding ourselves. The era they sang to, which hung on here and there long beyond its time, is over now.

12.10.2009Tagged with: