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John Lennon – The Misunderstood Beatle

On an uneventful evening on December 8, 1980, I was nursing a hangover watching Monday Night Football when I heard Howard Cosell interrupt the game with a news flash. Was John Lennon shot in New York? Could this be true? It was true. He was later pronounced dead. I was in shock. Then my brother Mark called me with the news. We were both John Lennon fans.

The Beatles, the great foursome of the ’60s, were each given character descriptions or nicknames by fans. John was the smart one, Paul was the cute one, George was the mysterious one and Ringo was the funny one.

I’ve always felt that John Lennon’s character description or nickname should have been called the “Misunderstood Beatle” because he always seemed to stir up controversy about his faith. He couldn’t make his comments completely clear, and the media didn’t help.

Take, for example, the comment he made on March 4, 1966, when he said, “The Beatles are more popular than Jesus.” He figured that more people go to see the Beatles than go to church on Sunday. Which could be true. He was generalizing a bit by blaming America when he meant England.

Lennon was interviewed for the London Evening Standard by Maureen Cleave, who was a friend of his, and made a simple comment about religion. Lennon said, “Christianity is going to go away. It’s going to disappear and shrink. We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will come first, rock and roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary . What ruins it for me is that they screw it up.”

On August 11, 1966, The Beatles held a press conference in Chicago to address the growing anger.

Lennon: I suppose if I had said television was more popular than Jesus I would have gotten away with it, but I happened to be talking to a journalist friend (Maureen Cleave) and used the word “Beatles” as a distant thing. , not the way I think – the way the Beatles, the way those other Beatles, how other people see us. I was just saying that they have more influence on kids and things than anything else, including Jesus. But I said so, which is the wrong way.”

Reporter: Some teenagers echoed your statement, “I love the Beatles more than Jesus Christ.” What do you think about it?

Lennon: Well, I originally pointed this fact out in reference to England. that we meant more to the children than Jesus or religion at that time. I didn’t knock and I didn’t hang up. I only stated it as a fact, and it is more true of England than here. I’m not saying we’re better or greater, and I’m not saying we’re like Jesus Christ as a person or God as a thing or whatever. I just said what I said and it was wrong. Or they got it wrong. And now that’s all.

Reporter: But are you ready to apologize?

Lennon: I didn’t say what they say, I said it. I’m really sorry I said that. I never thought it was a sleazy anti-religious thing. I apologize if this makes you happy. I still don’t know what I did. I tried to tell you what I did, but if you want me to apologize, if it makes you happy, then okay, I’m sorry.

John Lennon returned to the subject later that year when he told Look magazine, “I think Jesus was right, Buddha was right, and people who are like that are right. They all say the same thing – and I believe it. I believe what Jesus actually said – the basic things he laid down about love and goodness – not what people say. If Jesus is more popular, that means more control, I don’t want them to follow us sooner, even if if only to dance and sing all their lives If they would be more interested in what Jesus – or any of them – said, if they would do that, all of them there with them.

Although there was little reaction to his statement in England, Christians elsewhere began a massive campaign to destroy Beatle albums and other paraphernalia. The Archbishop of Boston admitted that he was probably right, but many still refused to forgive him.

I can relate to your controversial statement because I have made similar statements, like when I drive by a gambling casino on Sunday, I say, “Look at those cars – try to pack them into a church parking lot.” Of course, I meant that gambling is more popular than Jesus. I hope that is not the truth – here in America. Am I in trouble for saying this?

Lennon was not bothered by all this, he continued to use religious comments in his songs, one of them did GodIt was published in 1971. The lyrics are as follows:

God (words and music by John Lennon)

God is a concept

What we measure it with

Our pain

I’ll say it again

God is a concept

What we measure it with

Our pain

I don’t believe in magic

I don’t believe in the I-ching

I don’t believe in the bible

I don’t believe in tarot

I don’t believe in Hitler

I don’t believe in Jesus

I don’t believe in Kennedy

I don’t believe in Buddha

I don’t believe in mantra

I don’t believe in Gita

I don’t believe in yoga

I don’t believe in kings

I don’t believe in Elvis

I don’t believe in Zimmerman

I don’t believe in the Beatles

I just believe in myself

Yoko and me

And that’s the reality

The dream is over

What can I say?

The dream is over

Yesterday

I was a dream weaver

But now I am reborn

I was the walrus

But now I’m John

And so my dear friends

You just have to keep going

The dream is over

IT’S OVER

Lennon was once again misunderstood. Many Christians were discouraged. I’ve always understood Lennon’s style. I could feel him questioning the things we dared not ask. He was the buffer between reality and belief. Some considered it threatening. I thought it was harmless. Although he said, “I don’t believe in Jesus.” And he said, “I don’t believe in the Bible.” Maybe he should have left them out of the song, at least to avoid controversy and save his career. But Lennon was Lennon and he didn’t care. He said he has the freedom to say what he wants to say or sing what he wants to sing. I’m sure it hurt his career. Paul McCartney’s career was just booming. He doesn’t intend to leave out George and Ringo. Their careers remained stable.

I always thought it would have been a better song for John Lennon…Don’t let them misunderstand you, written and performed by fellow musician and friend Eric Burdon. He also wrote a book with the same title.

In 1973, Lennon wrote and sang the song, Imagine, a highly criticized but popular song. He questioned the existence of heaven and hell, and the absence of religion. This also angered the Christians. His message was clear to me. He simply stated: if none of these things that he imagines existed, then the world would live in peace – as one. Why fight? There would be no wars. Many wars are about religion. The song is about imagination. He’s not a terrorist who wants to blow up the world. The lyrics are:

Imagine

(words and music by John Lennon)

Imagine there is no heaven

It’s easy if you try

There is no hell below us

Above us is only the sky

Imagine all the people

To live for today

Imagine there are no countries

It’s not hard to do

There is nothing to kill or die for

And it’s not a religion either

Imagine all the people

To live a peaceful life

You could say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope you will join us one day

And the world unites

Imagine you have no property

I wonder if you can

You don’t have to be greedy or hungry

Human brotherhood

Imagine all the people

To share the whole world

You could say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope you will join us one day

And the world will live as one

IT’S OVER

Lennon was always the outspoken one. Some say he was a hypocrite when he preached love and peace, not war. He proved his faith in a song written in 1969, A chance for peaceafter leaving The Beatles, during his solo career.

He defended many rights and causes. He was an anti-war activist. His beliefs have been misinterpreted and often seen as socialist or communist. President Nixon wanted him deported. Lennon stood up and fought for his right to stay where he loved to be – in New York City, USA. Unfortunately, he was also killed there by a deranged fan.

During his solo career, Lennon wrote and sang songs about rebellion with his political views. He socialized with anti-war leaders such as Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman and others. In December 1971, Lennon and his friends organized a concert called the “Free John Sinclair” concert in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Sinclair was a local anti-war activist who served ten years in state prison for selling two marijuana plants to an undercover cop. Lennon appeared on stage with Phil Ochs, Stevie Wonder and other musicians, as well as anti-war radical Jerry Rubin and Bobby Seale of the Black Panthers. 20,000 people were present; two days after the concert, the state of Michigan released John Sinclair from prison. During this time, a song written and sung by Lennon, titled John Sinclair.

In 1972, Lennon released an anti-sexist song entitled: The woman is the negro of the world, suggesting that just as blacks were discriminated against in some countries, so were women worldwide. The lyrics are:

The woman is the negro of the world

(words and music by John Lennon)

The woman is the negro of the world

Yes he is… think about it

The woman is the negro of the world

Think about it…do something about it

We paint his face and dance

If he doesn’t become a slave, we say he doesn’t love us

If it’s real, we say he’s trying to be a man

As we put it down, we pretend it is standing over us

Woman is the negro of the world… yes, she is

If you don’t believe me, look at who you’re with

Woman is the slave of slaves

Ah yes…it’s better to scream about it

We raise and educate our children

Then we leave her apartment because she’s a fat old hen

We tell him that his home is the only place he should be

Then we complain that he is too worldly to be our friend

Woman is the negro of the world… yes, she is

If you don’t believe me, look at who you’re with

Woman is the slave of slaves

Yeah…okay…hit it!

We insult him every day on TV

And I wonder why he has no courage or confidence

When he is young, we kill his will to be free

While we told him not to be so smart, we talked him down for being so dumb

The woman is the negro of the world

Yes, he is… if you don’t believe me, look at who he’s with

Woman is the slave of slaves

Yes, he is…if you don’t believe it, you better shout about it

We paint his face and dance

We paint his face and dance

We paint his face and dance

We paint his face and dance

We paint his face and dance

We paint his face and dance

IT’S OVER

It is happier that in 1971 Lennon also wrote and sang the song, which is titled: Merry Christmas. This has become a holiday favorite. It is questionable why he was left out Christ at Christmas. But “X” is the Greek symbol for Christ.

This year marks the 26th anniversary of John Lennon’s death. His killer is still in prison, as he should be. The music world has been robbed of this musical genius. I must miss your work and your imagination. If he hadn’t had his outspoken convictions, he might still be with us today. That may have killed him. But just imagine (I wonder if you know) – then there would never have been a John Lennon.

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