12.08.2011 09:46 AM

Stand by me

Thirty-one years ago today. Makes me feel old and sad. His music hadn’t been very good, at the end, but I still miss him.


  1. james Smith says:

    One of those moments. A cold December night returning home from my Night class at SAIT. My tape deck had just eaten my Talking Head’s tape a day or two before so I was forced to listen to the radio … he was not the saint many made him out to be, but he was a talent that went dark all too soon. Merde! 31 years!

  2. bigcitylib says:

    Came home after a highschool band rehearsal, where me and one of the other saxophone players had been discussing which Beatle we thought would die first in the breaks between songs, and my brother told me he’d been shot.

  3. William says:

    I’ll never forget that night. I was 16, heard the news around 11 pm….stayed up all night scanning the dial, pulling in US stations on AM. Every single station was playing Beatles or Lennon music. Guess I understand how others felt when Elvis went.

    Such a shame too, he was finally comfortable with himself and was making a comeback.

  4. Kre8tv says:

    Only now am I realizing yet another loss that came out of that senseless death: an angry, pissed off septuagenarian John Lennon, still poking the world in the eye. I like to think of how it could have been. Even if it makes me sad.

    I didn’t mind his last record. But I hated that it was his last.

  5. Dave Wells says:

    I especially missed him during the Anthology tapings. I wonder if he would have participated or would have blown the whole thing off. I also suspect he would not be touring the world like Macca and his silly cover-band-esque outings.

  6. Dave Wells says:

    What a fascinating, bitter little man you are.

  7. steve says:

    He should have stayed in Canada. Imagine.

  8. Dave Wells says:

    Gord, on second though, I apologise for the rudeness. It was unnecessary. I am wondering though, what compels you to whip it out, metaphorically speaking, and piss on the proceedings here. We’re just reminiscing about a musician and his shocking, disappointing demise 30-odd years ago. Can’t you just (I can’t believe I’m going to say this) let it be?

    • Kre8tv says:

      Not everything is about politics or of keeping score of who thought what and why, Gord. Open your mind to this and the world becomes a lot more interesting. And I say that with kindness.

      • Ted H says:

        He was not a politician, he was a musician. Here are some of his quotes on politics.

        “We’re not disinterested in politics. It’s just that politicians are disinteresting.”

        “I’ve always been politically minded, you know, and against the status quo.”

        “The trouble with government as it is, is that it doesn’t represent the people. It controls them.”

        “Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.”

        And by the way, he and Yoko attended Jimmy Carter’s inagural ball.

      • The Doctor says:

        “I can’t think of another pop band that was more political than the Beatles.”

        If that’s a true statement, then you obviously haven’t listened to a lot of pop bands. Jesus. Like have you ever heard of Rage Against the Machine? Midnight Oil?

        The overwhelming majority of the Beatles’ songs had absolutely zero to do with politics.

    • Ted H says:

      Really? Here is a list of the most covered songs, I don’t see Willy or Kris anywhere.

      1. Eleanor Rigby (The Beatles)
      A surprising choice for the top spot. But the enigmatic tale has been reworked 131 times.

      2. Yesterday (The Beatles)
      According to ‘Guinness World Records’ this song was covered seven million times in the 20th century.

      3. Cry Me a River (Julie London)
      This bluesy jazz number has been covered by other luminaries of the genre, including Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Charles, and even Aerosmith.

      4. And I Love Her (The Beatles)
      From ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, Smokey Robinson, Bob Marley and Barry Manilow have all recorded it.

      5. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (The Rolling Stones)
      With 98 covers recorded, the Stones make the top 10.Ice.

      6. Imagine(John Lennon)
      Elton John, David Bowie, Diana Ross, Avril Lavigne and Jack Johnson… the list is endless.

      7. Summertime (Abbie Mitchell)
      Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong provide the best known adaptation, so no one remembers the original. Sonny and Cher, Nina Simone and REM have recorded their take.

      8. Blackbird(The Beatles)
      Another album track from the Fab Four, which has been covered by Carly Simon and Dave Grohl.

      9. Over the Rainbow (Judy Garland)
      Dorothy was blissfully unaware of how popular the tune would be. Special mentions to Eva Cassidy and the brilliant partial cover by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

      10. The Look of Love (Dusty Springfield)
      After husky Dusty, the CV is impressive, with Nina Simone, Diana Krall and Neil Diamond all doing it.

    • Iris Mclean says:

      Hey Gord, I’m a huge fan of Willie and Kris and Merl and all those guys. They are amazing writers/ singers/musicians for sure. That said, John Lennon’s music with the Beatles and later is still with us thirty-one years after his death.

    • The Doctor says:

      “When it comes to music my metric is “will it be covered by musicians a century from now and beyond?”. For the vast majority of the Beatles’ music it will not be. ”

      Gord, I venture to say that that is the most inaccurate prediction ever made on this site.

    • Ted H says:

      A day late on this post G.T. so you may not see it. With reference to songs that were popular 100 years ago you are absolutely correct. But, in that time period, songs were published and people bought the sheet music if it was popular. Now, music is all stored digitally and the original performances will be available for listeners for years to come. It is a much different dynamic, I believe prediction is much more difficult, but good try.

  9. Ted H says:

    Much overlooked with all the coverage of his peace songs, public bed-ins, Beatles dis-harmony, relationship with Yoko, lost weekends and finally tragic murder is the fact that with the early Beatles he was an absolute freight train of a rhythm guitarist, he made the songs work.

  10. Marc L says:

    His music was a hell of a lot better than the syrupy crap that Paul McCartney put out.

    • Warren says:

      True enough. But then Paul would do a ‘Birthday’ or ‘Helter Skelter’ and it would be…weird.

    • james Smith says:

      They needed each other, neither one was as good as them together, goofing or attempting to one up the other. Story goes they were coming to terms with that, & almost crashed SNL the night George attempted to claim the $1000, but realized they would not make it downtown in time to go to air.
      You asked a while ago Mr K about concerts you regret missing, I bet this is one many wished they could have seen…

  11. W the K - No, not Warren says:

    Heard it from Howard Cosell on Monday Night Football. He was, I believe, genuinely shocked and moved by the news. Then the phone calls came and didn’t stop for most of the night. My hard ass male friends were driven to tears by the news.

  12. The Doctor says:

    BTW, there is one happy (or at least far less tragic) aspect to December 8th for rock fans: it’s also Jim Morrison’s birthday.

  13. Michael S says:

    One of my favorites.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=EqP3wT5lpa4#! although Yoko knitting blindfolded kind of says it all.

  14. MCBellecourt says:

    I was sitting on my forklift at my warehouse job in Edmonton when the music on my friend’s radio stopped suddenly, and the DJ announced it. The entire warehouse fell silent. That was really surreal. We just looked at each other, all of us, in shock.

    It was just really….weird.

    As for Jim Morrison, it’s such a shame he had to join the 27 club. He had one of the best male voices in rock, IMO–very full, rich tones rarely heard nowadays.

  15. Village Idiot says:

    I have no living memory of John Lennon dying because I was far too young at the time that it happened.

    I’ve always resented “Beatlemania” and baby boomer pop culture because of all those TV shows in the 1980s that reminisced about the Beatles and Woodstock while I was growing up. The whole ‘Age of Aquarius’ thing being crammed down my throat. Endless TV shows and movies about how great the 1960s were (Wonder Years, Happy Days, American Graffiti, Flashback, Family Ties). I remember my uncles and older cousins smugly recalling how much poon tang they scored back in their day, and that it was unfortunate for kids like me because “AIDS ruined everything for you guys!”. They more than once reminded me how good they had it, and that it sucked to be me. Har, har.


    So it’s hard for me to judge Beatles music, in particular on their merits. The songs were pretty good, if you try to detach yourself from the hype and from boomer nostalgia.

    Sorry for raining on anyone’s parade. John Lennon means a lot of things to a lot of people. I wonder if Lennon had never died, if he would have dismissed and ridiculed Beatles nostalgia. He had an iconoclastic streak, sometimes.

    • The Doctor says:

      Lennon actually dismissed and ridiculed Beatles nostalgia when he was still alive, big-time. You don’t have to dig hard to find plenty of nasty, acerbic quotes from Lennon on that topic. Just have a look at the Jann Wenner interviews with him, e.g., in Lennon Remembers.

      It’s an important part of Lennon’s character and attitude that he was once an art school student. He was really hung up about the artistic integrity thing, and that’s a big part of the reason that he felt quite insecure about the Beatles’ massive commercial success. Like a lot of artists, he had that neurotic duality regarding it: initially he strove to “make it”, then once he did, he kept thinking that he must be a sham, a sellout, etc. because “true art” can’t be commercially successful.

      That’s part of the reason he was so drawn to Yoko Ono — artistically she was so avant garde and out there, she would never be a commercial success like the Beatles. Thus, to Lennon, she represented this ideal of artistic integrity.

  16. John says:

    I took my boys to see The National last night at the ACC. Wye Oak and Neko Case were the opening acts and none of them even mentioned John Lennon – which kinda pissed me off. If I was a musician performing last night I would have dedicated the entire show to him. That was the only downside to the show.

    BTW, The National were great… and Neko Case was absolutely incredible.

  17. Cam Prymak says:

    I guess we’re all entitled to be a critic.

    But it’s disconcerting to watch someone claim that Lennon is guilty of both writing anthems for the left and being a closet Republican. Criticism, circa 2011, is apparently based on the harsh, the personal, the vindictive – despite inaccuracies and all in the name of free speech.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *