JOHN LENNON:IT'S A NO FROM ME...
It has probably not escaped your attention. 35 years ago today, John Lennon was shot dead by Mark David Chapman, and the world went into mourning.
I woke up this morning, and could not move for articles on Lennon, the legacy he continues to leave behind, his relationship with Yoko Ono, the millions of tributes left to him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram from all over the world and...Wait, what? Why are there some many pictures of what Lennon would 'look like' as a 70 year old man? Everyone knows these have just been done on the 'Old-ify' app from someone's phone, right? Oh okay, they don't. 'Lennonandyokoforpeace' thinks this interpretation of an ageing Lennon is 'perfect' and 'beautifully captures an ageing soul'. Hmmmm? Why do none of these pictures have Lennon as bald or fat? These are literally just pictures of him from 35 years ago, but with grey hair. How do we know he would have aged gracefully? I think he would have had a really, really, bitter and costly divorce from Yoko Ono, gone back to his 'Bed-In' protest and just never left. He would have slept there, he would have shat there, and he would have ordered takeaway Nando's there. He would have gone bald there. He would have died there. THAT would have beautifully captured an 'ageing soul'.
BUT, that did get me thinking. What would Lennon have thought of the world we live in today? I don't mean the refugee crisis, no. I don't mean the vote to bomb Syria, no. I don't mean the global warming crisis, NO. I mean the bigger issues. I mean the X-Factor, I mean the Voice. Spotify. YouTube. The music industry broadly. Fucking 'Tidal'. He'd have loved that.
Let's look at the X-Factor first. Simon Cowell would have DEFINITELY asked him to have been a judge at least twice. Can you imagine Lennon on a panel with Mel C, Gary Barlow and Cheryl Cole? Having to decide on whether to send 'Jedward' or 'Wagner' through to the next round? Thankfully, we will never have to actually see it, but I think he would have hated it. There is a part of me that believes he would have appreciated the show for giving members of the public a chance to realise their dreams, but musically, he would have despised it. The show very rarely produces genuine musicians that play instruments, or write their own music, and he simply wouldn't have wanted to be on TV every Saturday night. With that, comes the endless promotion, and he would have never wanted to have been a TV star.
How about 'The Voice'? The slightly more credible alternative? Of the two, perhaps this would be the most likely for him to feature on, but then just as Lennon begins to weaken he would see the other judges. 'Danny O' Donoghue....? From....Oh! 'The Script!' Wait....The...Script? Hmmm. Who else? Tom Jones? Okay, that's a little better...I'm sorry, what? Oh, he's gone now. Okay. Who else? Ricky Wilson? Oh, fuck me....CHAPMAN! CHAPMAN! Take your best fucking shot'!
Perhaps there is some cause for optimism in the emergence of streaming? Nope. He would have hated that too. He personally wouldn't have allowed his music on Spotify. No way. Sure, Yoko Ono has hers on it, but come on...She has to take what she can get. Tidal, though? The brainchild of Jay-Z? This, he would have approved of. Who cares if no one actually uses it? The idea behind the service is that it gets people paying for their music again, and Lennon would have been a staunch supporter of this, I believe.
YouTube, too. YouTube has been a great, great thing for music. People are given record deals off the back of it, bands can create a fan base off the back of it, and they haven't even played a live show yet. You can type in the name of your favourite artist - past or present - and watch hundreds of clips of them performing live, or giving rare interviews, and it is a goldmine of undiscovered, archived footage. Yeah, he would have been okay with YouTube.
What of the artists around today? Who would he have liked? Those that carried an important message, I think. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - He'd have loved them. They sing of equality, peace, and love - they would have probably collaborated on something by now. 'Imagine 2015', maybe? Feat. Macklemore and Danny O' Donoghue? Lennon has to get something out of his time on 'The Voice', after all.
But, overall, Lennon got out at the right time. He wouldn't have liked the way the world - and the industry - have gone, I don't think. That's really, really sad. So, let's put down our phones, let's close down our 'Old-ify' apps, let's boycott this weeks episode of the X-Factor, and instead just enjoy Lennon, and the time in which he lived. Go and listen to 'Happy Xmas (War is Over), go and listen to 'Help!' or 'A Hard Days Night' and take some time to value his voice, his lyrics, and what he did for music. You'll thank him. Thank you, Lennon, for everything.