John Lennon, My Kids and Me

It's no secret that I'm a big Beatles fan. I've been one since around 6 years old when I discovered Sgt Peppers in my parents record collection. It was magical stuff then and still is now. I was only 9 when John Lennon passed away but I still recall it clearly. It was my first real experience with death. Any earlier deaths in my life, my dad's dad for instance, happened when I was younger and seemed abstract. Lennon's death was strangely real to me since I had connected so strongly with his music at an early age.

I've done my best to pass this love along to my kids and so far it's happening. They love Yellow Submarine and many of the more psychedelic songs from the middle years. Psychedelic music is really just kid's music if you think about it. They ask me questions like "which ones are dead again Daddy?". I tell them stories about each Beatle, what songs they wrote, instruments they played, things they said...

I'm proud that my oldest daughter Ramona, 10, can now pick out the Beatles pretty consistently whenever she hears them. I recently set up a turntable in her room and gave her the Blue and Red albums. I feel it is my duty to counterbalance the obligatory Justin Bieber infatuation that strikes all modern pre-teen girls. I was slightly horrified to see Bieber posters in her room recently right next to a vintage Elvis pin up I had given her. Elvis is one of her other classic faves.

When I was in college I became obsessed with John Lennon's solo catalog one summer while working in a record store. In particular his first two solo records- Plastic Ono Band and Imagine really impacted me. There may not be a more honest record in existence than Plastic Ono Band. It's full of rough edges. Musical open heart surgery. I distinctly recall spending a week really mourning the loss of Lennon. It hit me hard for some reason, the thought that I could never have the chance to meet this person, that he was permanently gone from the earth, his unique muse was no longer with us. The scope of that loss seemed insurmountable at the time. What use was it trying to make music when you can't even get close to what he achieved? Thankfully that thought passed after a few weeks.

With today being the 30th anniversary of his death I have to wonder how his impact will grow or fade in years to come. So far he seems to have only become more relevant. Maybe the world that creates a John Lennon has passed us by and we are living in time where the cultural soil cannot grow great artists. I hope not. But I do know that no-one has come close to filling his shoes these 30 years since he passed.