John Lennon was a great flawed man. Before I go into what he means to me, I feel like I need to say that he was not perfect by any means. But I am not here to talk about John Lennon the man but what John Lennon meant to me as a kid and what he means to me now. We all know who Lennon was and what he did, it’s all been said already and by people with better use of words then me.
I was maybe around 10 when I first discovered The Beatles. There was and still is, as far as I know, a show called “Breakfast with The Beatles” that would play on a local radio station in Los Angeles on Sunday mornings. Each week they would have a theme and share information you couldn’t get anywhere else. It was part of my musical education. Each week I would start my Sunday listening to music that really woke me up to the possibilities that music had. I was young and The Beatles had become my obsession.
However as quick as it started in love, that love turned into sadness. I had been listening for just a few weeks when the anniversary of his death came up, and I was not ready for that news. John had quickly become my favorite. And in an age before the internet and coming from a Spanish household, where the news of The Beatles was unknown, the hurt that I felt when that broadcast was over, hit me like a train. How could this man be gone. Gone before his time, gone at a time resurgence, gone before I had a time to see him. The whole show was all about his impact with The Beatles and as a solo artist. That saddens lingered for weeks until I started to find books on him at my local school library.
John quickly became a personal hero. His look, message and ability was something I wanted to capture in my own life. I would listen and tape every song off the radio and break down the songs so I could understand what every word meant. There has not been a time when John Lennon’s music didn’t speak to me. When I first came to visit New York City, one of the first places I came to visit was Strawberry Fields, the area in Central Park which you can see in the two pictures I have here, but also The Dakota, where he was shot. It was a step in the journey of my love for Lennon.
So where am I now when it comes to John Lennon since I now live here? Well, I’ve been back to Strawberry Fields but I also walk the streets that Lennon walked also. I try to think about how he felt and how saw the city. I also have read more on him and have come to understand how cruel he could be. That meanness that Lennon had does not take any love I have for him but it does open my eyes that behind the message of love was a darkness.
I have many more places to visit here in the city that he lived in, and in time hopefully I’ll understand the man better.