I didn't notice that John Lennon's birthday was a few days ago (Oct. 9). He would have been 71 (!). I became aware of it only because I happened across this review of a new Lennon biography.
I've always been puzzled by those people who idolized the Beatles and Lennon in particular. The author of this review says
Tangled deep in the nervous system of every earthling over the age of 40, I would argue, is some fiber or filament of peak Beatlemania, some flicker of the old wild adoration. We want, we need — still — to love these men.
Sorry, dude, but you argue wrong. I'm well over 40, and an earthling (no, really, I am). I liked the music of the Beatles quite a lot in their time, and I still like it, though I don't listen to it very much. But I never felt anything remotely resembling "wild adoration." I never needed to, and never did, love them as people, or give them all that much thought, really. I mean, like any pop music fan, I knew who was who, and who was responsible for which aspects of their music--I could tell the difference between a Lennon song and a McCartney song. And of course one could hardly avoid knowing a bit about their personal lives. But they were gifted artists, not gurus or philosophers. I certainly never looked to them to tell me the meaning of life--or, to tell the truth, even shed any great light on it, as their work is, in relation to the masters, relatively light stuff for the most part.
A significant number of people seem to think Lennon was some sort of genius-prophet. I didn't understand that when he was alive and I still don't. I suppose "Imagine" has a lot to do with it, but those who think it's a magnificent statement mark themselves in my eyes as being at very best very naive, culpably so if they're over 30.
There was one figure in the music world whom I held in that sort of regard for a short time: Bob Dylan. But I got over that about the time Nashville Skyline came out.