Friday, March 16, 2012

Influences #4 (John Lennon)

October 9th, 1940 - December 8th, 1980

(He wanted to be a sailor like his father)

I know this is going to sound crazy, but I didn’t discover John Lennon until I was 13 years old. Seriously! Now, don’t get me wrong, I have heard of the Beatles by this time, I just didn’t KNOW the Beatles, you know? I was into Elvis and Rick Springfield and the hair bands by then. Ozzy and the like. I was a closet “pop” listener, thanks to my parents. And on occasion, when they would be playing their cassettes and oldies of the 70’s, I would ask, “Who is that?” from time to time.

I also knew the song, “So this is Christmas” but I just didn’t know that Lennon sang it.

However, I was in a pizza place one Friday night after watching a high school football game, chillin with my peeps when the jukebox kicked on and a song rang in my ears. It hit me like a brick. I slowly got to my feet and walked to it and looked at the number playing and checked it with the menu. “Mind Games” by John Lennon.


As it turned out, my parents had the album, “Double Fantasy” and soon, it was mine! My precious. You also have to understand that at this time in my life, I still had no musical ambition or writing period for that matter. I was into sports, girls and stuck on the idea of being a cop just like my real father, who died a few months before I was born in the line of duty. (My current father is my 2nd step-father but I don’t call him step, I just call him dad.)

My first step-father was …. Moving on ….

Next thing I know, I start paying just a little more attention to the Beatles and also took note of Paul McCartney. His songs, “Band on the run” and “Jet” (Just to name a couple) really spoke to me. This is also when I started paying more attention to the 70’s music.

However, that Double Fantasy album just blew me away.

From that point on, music would never be the same. Sure, I listened to it all the time. I even sang in a few talent shows like my idol, Elvis did. But that was about it. It wasn’t until my 18th birthday did I realize I wanted to be a songwriter and from that, writing novels.

Late bloomer.

I think what stood out for me was more so, how John recorded that album. As I learned more about him and his life, I came to really be inspired by his message of peace and love. A true innovator in every sense of the word. And in so many ways. I have to say, his influence was very powerful to me during my teen years. I still say to this day that subconsciously, he may have been why I wrote my first song. It’s hard to tell. But many of his works still put me in a trance sometimes when I hear one of his songs. And “Mind Games” still has the same effect on me as it did that night in that pizza joint.

He may have also been a subconscious inspiration for me to come up with my quotes.

Like all the great ones. (The truly great ones) He was taken away from us way before the world was ready to let him go.

He may have only been on this earth for a short time, but the impact of that life was incredible. He made his life count for something. You can’t ask much more than that from anyone.

Thanks John.

This is a tribute poem I wrote for him on what would have been his 50th birthday.

We keep playing those mind games forever
John, we didn’t listen to your words
‘Cause we’re still playing those mind games together
All that you told us John, we just haven’t learned
And we’ll keep playing those mind games forever
The more of the riches, the more it gets worse
‘Cause we’re still playing those mind games together
Too busy to work for …. Peace on earth

Love is a flower … we got to let it grow
Love is the answer … you told us that for sure

But still we’re playing those mind games together
Look what we did John, to your magic words
And we’ll be playing those mind games forever
Because maybe we listened John, but we haven’t heard

Love is the answer … and we know that’s for sure
Love is a flower … but we can’t get it to grow

And so we’re playing those mind games together
The young and the beautiful, the old and the strong
We’ll be playing those mind games forever
Words from a dreamer
A dreamer named John

Love is the answer … and you told us that for sure
Love is the answer … and we know that’s for sure

But still we’re playing those mind games … 

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