Does a great songwriter make a great man? I was thinking this just this morning as I sat smoking cigarettes and listening to my copy of Lennon and Ono’s ‘Double Fantasy’ album on the day when he would have celebrated his 60th birthday. If you’ve got a finger hovering over the skip button on your remote and can manage to get through the album without having to listen to a single Yoko Ono travesty, it really is a supreme recording. But does the fact that Lennon wrote tunes like ‘Watching The Wheels’, ‘I’m Losing You’, ‘Beautiful Boy’ (all included on ‘Double Fantasy’) and tunes like ‘Imagine’, ‘Mind Games’ and ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ make him a truly great man?
I personally don’t think it does. I have to admit that I’m no real expert on John Lennon – I’ve read the odd book but I’m certainly no Beatles obsessive – but I’m not taken in by all this Lennon-was-a-great-man propaganda. His music is legendary but he strikes me as a bit of a c**t.
As a very young child, he was given a straight choice of living with his mother or his father when they split up – a terrible decision to force on any child – and he chose his dad. Then, when his mother turned around and walked off, he burst into tears and ran over to his mum. He didn’t see his dad again for 20 years. Now, I don’t care how strong a person you are and I don’t think Lennon was very strong at all, that has got to hurt. So, for John Lennon to walk out on his son Julian while he was only a child disgusts me. You would have thought that of all people, John Lennon would have understood just how much something like that would have hurt Julian and yet he still went and did it.
In fact, the leaving of his first wife Cynthia for Yoko was no more dignified. According to a recent Lennon documentary, he simply shacked up with Yoko without a care in the world. Cynthia was on television saying that she returned home from a holiday to find a half-dressed Yoko and Lennon together in their home. And that was that. John had chosen Yoko and to hell with his first wife and their son Lennon.
If walking out on the pair of them wasn’t bad enough, John fell so under the spell of Yoko that he deemed it perfectly acceptable for the new woman in his life to telephone Cynthia and inform her that is she wanted to speak to John about Julian, she had to come through Yoko first. This led to Julian not seeing his father John for four years. Now, I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t exactly paint me a picture of some great revolutionary figure. That simply says to me that John Lennon was a weak man who allowed a manipulative woman to steam into his life and tear apart any relationship he had with his son. What a prick.
I’ll continue listening to his records – some of the greatest ever recorded – but on what would have been his 60th birthday, I won’t be shedding a tear for a supposedly great man. Paul McCartney was never as talented as Lennon but he appears to have been a far greater man. His relationship with Linda sounds like possibly one of the greatest love stories of all time and he certainly never walked out on his kids. Maybe Mark Chapman did get the right man after all.