The Words of John Lennon
It just seems impossible that it's been thirty-two years since John Lennon celebrated his last living birthday.
His words spoke (and still speak) as loud as his actions.
His Beatles days were spent writing songs with, of course, the great Paul McCartney. As most Beatles fans know, whichever Beatle (including George and Ringo) sang lead on a song usually was the one who wrote the majority of that song's lyrics.
If John would hit a snag, Paul would offer a line or two or even many more to help the composition along; John would do the same for Paul.
So, a "John song" could also partly be a "Paul song."
But after the Fabs split, John, Paul, and George's solo works were theirs and theirs alone. Ringo would pen some original tunes, but he would also gladly accept the help of some friends along the way.
So I want to praise John's solo words on this blog commemorating what would have been Dr. Winston O'Boogie's seventy-second birthday.
I've chosen lines of songs that may not be as widely known to the general public as some of his better known. The song titles may ring a bell, but some of the lines may not.
Of course, if you're a bonafide Beatlemaniac like yours truly (and I say that with great pride!), these words will look familiar.
Familiar or not, the words only magnify the genius that is Rev. Fred Ghurkin (one of John's many pseudonyms).
And it's amazing how relevant they remain more than three decades after John's murder...
I've had enough of neurotic, psychotic pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth
-Gimme Some Truth
Why in the world are we here?
Surely not to live in pain and fear
Millions of mind guerillas
Putting their soul power
To the karmic wheel
Everybody's hustlin' for a buck and a dime
I'll scratch your back, and you knife mine
-Nobody Loves You (When You're Down and Out)
Hatred and jealousy is gonna be the death of me
I guess I knew it right from the start
Bless you wherever you are
Windswept child on a shooting star
Trying to shovel smoke with a pitchfork
In the wind
-Old Dirt Road
Now I am older
The more that I see the less I know
More song lyrics in just a bit. But let's take a quick look at some of the wit and wisdom of the Literary Lennon, OK?
The Honorable John St. John Johnson wrote three books in his lifetime.
Two of them -- In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works -- were written during his Beatles years. And just to make sure we didn't forget Johnny was a Beatle, the cover of his first book reminded us!
Yup, that's right-- John's the Writing Beatle! (The reissue has a pretty neat new intro by Yoko).
To the uninitiated, all you need to do is turn to the back cover to get a sample of John's inspired lunacy:
ABOUT THE AWFUL
I was bored on the 9th of October 1940 when, I believe,
the Nasties were still booming us led by Madalf Heathlump
(who only had one). Anyway they didn't get me. I attended
to varicous schools in Liddypool. And still didn't pass --
much to my Aunties supplies. As a member of the most
publified Beatles my and (P, G, and R's) records might seem
funnier to some of you than this book, but as far as I'm
conceived this correction of short writty is the most wonderfoul
larf I've ever ready.
God help and breed you all.
Get the idea?
His second book. A Spaniard in the Works, is more of the same, except, in John's words, "It won't cost as much."
His final book, Skywriting By Word of Mouth, is a collection of writings and drawings by John after the Beatles. It's much more literal than his first two (although word play still runs rampant), yet in many ways it's even zanier.
At the end of one of the lines in the book, John writes parenthetically,
(discontinued on page 94).
Bend over and look at me while I'm talking.
Yet Skywriting does have its sobering moments:
It's amazing how low you go to get high.
Still, most of us know John through his songs. Let's get back to some more...
There's room at the top they are telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
-Working Class Hero
Children, don't do what I have done
I couldn't walk, and I tried to run
Paranoia is everywhere
We can shake it with love
When we're scared
-Bring on the Lucie (Freeda Peeple)
Come Monday. mama
And I just gonna run away
You know it's such a drag
To face another day
You don't know what you got
Until you lose it
-What You Got
You're looking for oblivion
With one eye on the Hall of Fame
-I Don't Wanna Face It
Snake doctors shakin'
Like there's no tomorrow
Meat City Shookdown, USA
Something precious and rare
Disappears in thin air
And it seems so unfair
Nothin' doin' nowhere
-Goin' Down On Love
You can live a lie till you die
One thing you can't hide
Is when you're crippled inside
I didn't mean to hurt you
I'm sorry that I made you cry
I didn't want to hurt you
I'm just a jealous guy
But if I'm going to celebrate the lyrics of Booker T and the Maitre D's or Kaptain Kundalini or Dwarf MacDougal or Mel Torment or Dr. Dream (or any of the other cool monikers JL used),
I simply can't leave out a few of his most famous, and endearing, messages.
I'll leave you with these final classic Lennon thoughts...
All we are saying is
Give Peace a Chance
War is over
If you want it
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one
Life is what happens to you
While you're busy making other plans...
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