You can hide your face behind a smile
Music for this post is provided by my favourite Beatle from his most poignant 5th album (2nd without Yoko) courtesy of YouTube, Universal Music and Apple Corps. Apologies if it doesn’t play where you are but I hope you enjoyed your Christmas holidays 2018 and here’s hoping we can catch up again soon.
I received a few presents for Christmas but those which mean the most are the ultimate edition of Imagine, Imagine John Yoko (the making of the album and film) and Gimme Some Truth on blu ray disc. I have read the book of the making of the album and film (and also the making of Fly) in 1971. Seems such a long time ago and yet it was only yesterday that I thought about how the world would have been if John Lennon had not been killed on that fateful December morning in 1980. He and Yoko were the most prominent speakers for world peace that it seems strange he died in such a violent manner.
Mark Chapman will be appealing for parole again next year but, as he has never apologised for his crime, I think he should remain locked up and told not to ask for parole again until he reaches 199 years of age. Shame we can’t have a people’s vote on that jail term being implemented. I don’t for a minute believe Yoko will be in danger but I fear for Sean and Julian as they both take after their dad in more than just looks. Because of that alone, he deserves to spend time in jail until they and their families are no longer at risk from him.
If you have a dream and don’t act on it then it is just a dream. If you have a dream and do something to bring it about then it becomes possible. John and Yoko were very much in love throughout their fourteen years together. Yoko is still keeping his memory alive today, while those of us who remember him still have his music, she has memories of their time together. It couldn’t have been easy for either of them in the beginning, she was accused of splitting the Beatles up (she didn’t that was all John), he was accused of being manipulated (he wasn’t he was in love).
The book makes it clear from the narrative (not just by Yoko but by others who were there when the album and film were being put together) how much John meant to Yoko and how much Yoko meant to John. They were madly in love and they completed each other. John was an artist before he became a musician, as a successful musician he had everything he thought he wanted but had to live his life locked into hotel rooms, a palace and a marriage he entered when Cynthia became pregnant to give his child a name. He felt trapped by his fame and his marriage to Cyn. This cost him to lose a lot of the artist he was, although in 1966 he found a way out of the prison when he met Yoko.
If people had understood how the fame was affecting all four of the Beatles from 1964 onwards, then the group announcement in 1970 would not have come as such a shock. Had the others wanted to continue as a group then they would have replaced John (Eric Clapton was in the frame for that gig) and not announced that they were all going their separate ways. Paul was not the first to release a solo album, that was George in 1968, he released 2 albums in the 1960’s and All Things Must Pass was his third album but his first rock album. John had already issued 3 albums with the Plastic Ono Band in the 1960’s before John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band came out in 1970. McCartney was the first album by Paul, and it was released the same day as Let It Be, although it shouldn’t have been.
The two albums only came out on the same day as the Let It Be album release was pushed back several times due to no one wanting to produce it until Phil Spector stepped into the picture. The album was released with none of the Beatles happy with the finished result. Had it been held back and polished up it would have ended up more like Let It Be Naked. Anyway, the point is, John wanted to spend time with Yoko, George was fed up being told what chords to play by Paul and Ringo was happy to go along with everyone and play what he was asked to.
When Paul and George announced they had albums in the pipeline and the Beatles were at an end, John was worried about what would happen to Richie, after all, he didn’t compose many songs, he was given songs by both John and Paul to sing. How would he be able to continue as a drummer without a group to play with? John was very pleased that not only did Richie continue making music and releasing albums and singles but he was also given opportunities to do other things, starring in films and directing others.
I think John might have been able to get the Beatles back together in 1985 for a one-off concert at Live Aid, he may have been the first one and put the group together around himself but he was the one the others respected and looked up to. Paul has said he was very glad that he and John had made up before John was shot and killed, it would have been horrible if they had still been arguing. Paul turned up to ask John if they could bury the hatchet and get the group back together in Los Angeles in 1974, but had been given a message from Yoko to relay to John which would probably mean the group wouldn’t get back together. Rather than ask John what he wanted he relayed the message from Yoko which led to John and Yoko getting back together later that year.
Who knows if John would have agreed to get the group together to see what would happen, as he himself put it to interviewers, there never seems to be a time when all 4 wanted to get back together at the same time. At various times George was interested, Paul was interested and John was interested but never all 3 at the same time and Ringo would have loved to have them all play together, after all he had all 3 play on his albums in the early 1970’s but never all on the same tracks. John had George at his sessions and would have loved to have Ringo on some of his albums. Truth be known he would probably have been happy to have Paul play as well.
I hope this has been fun for you to read as much as it was fun for me to write. Anyway, enjoy the remainder of the holidays and wishing you a very happy New Year and good health in 2019.