I was a teen when Grandma walked into the kitchen and said, "Somebody's shot John Lennon." I didn't believe her. She had to have the wrong information. That was too much of a shock.Who would want to kill him?
By the time I was old enough to know who The Beatles were they had broken up. Strangely enough, my grandmother had their music in our house right along with her collections of The Carter Family, Roy Acuff, Hank Williams, Sr., Bessie Smith and Dinah Washington. Grandma liked to listen to the words of songs and thought "those English boys say such wonderful things."
After their split, it seemed that each Beatle had gone onto their own individual success--even Ringo. Paul had gone off with Linda, George was getting spiritual, John had Yoko and I think Ringo had an actress wife. I was just grateful that they had left their music to the world. "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away," "Ticket to Ride," "Norwegian Wood," "We Can Work it Out" etc., were works of God-given genius as far as I was concerned. I'd wonder what it must've been like in those "Lennon-McCartney" writing sessions.
When I first heard "Imagine," I was struck by it's simplicity. The song reminded me of some of the discussions I had with various friends of mine. We asked, "What if...there was no Heaven, hunger, war" etc., while John (yes, we kind of felt like we knew him) asked us to "Imagine" those things. Maybe if we could "see it" we'd "achieve it." We figured he'd be around when his world "living as one" started to happen. But he was taken from us that night in 1980.
There's been a lot of coverage of the passing of Nelson Mandela since Dec. 5th and as I watched some of it, I remembered the death of John Lennon was Sunday the 8th. I didn't think the two men could be connected in any way and then I saw the children in New York simultaneously singing "Imagine" with children from Johannesburg, South Africa at the end of this particular news broadcast. Maybe somewhere John and Madiba are smiling. Imagine that.