"LONGING HIS LIFE AWAY" [ THIS IMAGE WAS "PHOTOSHOPPED" VIA MS PAINT ]
Lurking about the rec.music.beatles newsgroup out of curiosity, I was impressed by this old post:
Q: "...history has judged that Lennon was probably the more inventive and talented songwriter of the band (Case for the prosecution: the entire Wings back catalogue)"
A: It's obviously true, then, that death is the best career move for a musician if you genuinely believe this. Surely it's only cos Lennon has been dead for 20 years and has, like so many other dead musicians, been idolised, that people think like that. People tend to remember musicians who die young in a positive light (how likely is it that if Kurt Cobain hadn't died, that today Nirvana would be anything other than another Pearl Jam - or that if Jim Morrison hadn't died, that the Doors would have ever been the subject of a major Hollywood film?). Remember that although the public perception of Lennon is of a humourous, peace-loving hippy he was also a self-confessed wife beater, adulterer and drug abuser.
Lennon was, if anything, the least productive member of the Beatles during the last 2 or 3 years of the band (arguably their most inventive period),
spending too much time with Yoko Ono and dabbling increasingly in drugs; and had become less of an influence than Harrison by the time of Abbey Road (much of which was recorded in Lennon's absence). It's widely regarded that Lennon lost the 'control' he had had over the other 3 Beatles when Brian Epstein died and McCartney became the most influential member.
We'll never know if Lennon would have made the equivalent of the Frog Chorus, but how many artists of his generation make music of any note or credibility these days? For every Imagine or Jealous Guy there is a Revolution 9:
Lennon was not infallible. ~ end Usenet post
--- Ah! That started the eppylover brain synapses firing, and I wrote the following ... which evolved into a Paul vs John rant ... wrapping up with, of course, the usual eppylover predictable ending of a post:
I know exactly what this writer means. In the Beatle years and the intervening years before his murder, not many people saw Lennon as being the big deal he is today. He was a Former Beatle like the others. Since I lived during those years, and did not particularly favor one Beatle over the others, to this day I have the exact same opinion of John as I have of Paul. They are both great, and they both are schmucks. In fact, I would (non-sexually, as with all Brian's boys) favor Paul more as a friend, probably because he was more predictable in his personal nature. (Of course, in those days I was more Herman's Hermits than Rolling Stones, anyway. Intensity was too intimidating in those teen years when every minor life detail became hormonally overamplified.) Paul was show-bizzy and, for public consumption, would suck up more to his fans -- which is, after all, what fans want. Paul didn't scare me. However, John could suddenly bite for no freakin' logical reason. John was infamous for stirring up controversy -- reference jesus fiasco. Just because someone unpredictably gives you shit doesn't mean he's a genius. Just because Lennon often answered questions with questions didn't make him more intelligent.
People do tend to forgive John his asshole proclivities because he's dead. Paul is every bit a genius as John, in a different way -- plus he was always a much harder worker. Case in point:
'John's record for not speaking, just doing nothing and not communicating to anyone is three days. 'I'm an expert at it, I can get up and start doing nothing straight away. I just sit on the step and look into space until it's time to go to bed'."
- Hunter Davies, The Beatles Authorized Biography, 1968
Most of the time, John was NOT a self-starter. He needed someone to push him, to inspire him. Stu. Paul. Brian (ESPECIALLY Brian who could be a slavedriver!). Then, after the world ended in mid-1967 -- my feeling :/ -- Yoko. And finally, May Pang, and then Yoko again. And many others in-between.
I can see some of the reason why Paul feels screwed. He was always an ambitious eager beaver. He actually cared more about where they were going. It's ironic that, after Paul dies, it's John who will be seen as the smart one. Bullshit. He may have been smart, but not like everyone thinks. He did, however, have a smart mouth.
Stop trashing one and idolizing the other. If you're going to piss on Paul when he deserves it, stop forgiving John and give him a golden shower, too. Hate them both, if you must hate one of them. They were always equal heroes, and equal jerks. If you must, make a list with a line down the middle. Be honest and write down all the crappy shit about John on one side, and all the crappy shit about Paul on the other. If you know your Beatles, and if you're honest, the columns will come close enough to balancing to not make a difference. Paul-haters, perhaps your opinion derives primarily from factors present within your own personalities.
John-haters? Unfortunately, and unfairly, you cannot easily find John-haters. Dissing a dead icon isn't cool. For dying the way he did, John as a person was horrifically unlucky (as were we all for the loss). However, for dying the way he did, John as an immortal idol was indeed fortunate! A novelist could not have written the scenario to better effect!
Death certainly is a miraculous makeup artist. So John wins, doesn't he?
And whether the demise of Lennon was fortunate or unfortunate for Yoko is strictly each reader's own personal opinion. I am on the fence there. Actually, I don't particularly care to even possess an opinion re Yoko. It all ended for me with Brian.
Despite their "foibles," I love both Paul and John equally, and I will always love their music. On the other hand, I could very very
easily despise both John and Paul as people equally. I won't. That would be selfish because I would be doing Brian an injustice. Plus, I can, like he did, find marvelously sweet and wonderful stuff to love about both of them.
For the obvious reason that I adore Brian, what Brian would have thought means everything to me. Don't forget, even though he loved John, Brian did not dislike Paul, not at all. Actually, Brian's tastes leaned more toward Paul's style of music. The problem was that he just was unable to manipulate Paul, was unable to get Paul to play "The John and Brian Power Control Alcohol, Drugs and Sexual Seesaw Game" (although, from studying Brian + Paul during the "All You Need Is Love" week I'm not quite sure something didn't happen there for a very short time due primarily to LSD).
Yoko Ono is Bad.....................................
...Yoko Ono is Good
Balances. She WAS all the bad things people say.
She was also all the GOOD things.
John needed her much akin to the way he needed Brian (albeit psychologically unorthodox), which is why he couldn't help but be stuck on Yoko.
She took the Brian/John game and, "thanks" to Mr Epstein's convenient exit, was able to morph it into the Yoko/John game. It may have been good for Lennon in some ways that she took Brian's place, but I shudder to think of how it would have been for John/Yoko had Brian lived ... Brian, himself, would have been okay with it because, by his own admission, he was not "jealous" of other women. To Brian's way of thinking, women had their own loving separate yet necessary place in men's lives that had nothing to do with men/men (remember that Brian yearned for a wife who would understand his homosexuality; also remember that Brian had great regard for Cyn) (yes, he thoroughly liked Cynthia. Ask her, or should I say, read what she says about Brian if you doubt it). Other men carrying on a serious relationship with someone Brian loved, however ... in a controlling manner, that is ... may have been a different story. And Yoko? She would have been like another man (I don't say that in a bad way).
Yoko has always been highly possessive of John -- examples: her mistreatment of Cyn and Julian, forbidding John to return to Liverpool or renew his friendship with Paul, etc. (She did not expect May Pang to have the effect she did, and when it happened, she cleverly manipulated John back.) So if John had insisted on seeing Brian, Yoko would have tried to do something about that. John would have bounced between them ... such as he did with May Pang, and god knows who else ... keeping Brian in his closet, for Yoko's sake.
It would have been nothing new for Brian. Always in the closet, his whole life. Nothing new. He was used to it. Feh.
I've noticed my "serious" posts always sort of evolve the same way ... I start with a subject, then it starts to reference Brian, then it ends up being about Brian. That's funny. What a goose I am.