John Lennon was born during the bombing of Liverpool in WWII. He came into this world in the middle of some of the worst violence of the last century and he left through violence.
The CW—conspiratorial wisdom—is that John Lennon was murdered by agents of the Reagan Administration who knew what their plans were for Central America in the early 80s when Lennon emerged from reclusion and did not want Lennon interfering with their anti-communist crusade as he had with Nixon’s in Vietnam.
Jon Weiner wrote “Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI Files” to explore the FBI’s surveillance of the ex-Beatle during his era of radical politics in the early 70s. The documentary “The US vs. John Lennon” explores the same.
It does not matter why Lennon was killed because nothing will change that fact. However, had he lived, we may well be living in a different world now. The same could be imagined if Bob Marley, who died in May 1981, had lived.
A couple of months ago I wrote a post espousing my theory that we would not have a president Barack Obama today had Michael Jackson’s influence not been felt in America especially for the last three decades.
The same is true with Lennon. Had Lennon lived he would most likely have focused first on his music and being a father. He had a young son to raise and an older son to get to know.
If memory serves, Lennon said in the Playboy interview that he had plans to do new versions of “She Loves You” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand”. “Milk and Honey” would have had some new songs and he would surely have worked with a wide variety of musicians. He would have appeared on the 1981 Grammy’s to universal adulation.
The Beatles would have certainly re-united for the Anthology albums and, chances are, they may have re-united for new Lennon and McCartney collaborations and Harrison compositions from their matured perspective to help us look back at the 60s and project those values of peace and love throughout the 80s, 90s and now on an album or two or more and perhaps even a handful of performances—especially in Liverpool and maybe Hamburg—almost always for a worthy cause.
Perhaps Lennon would have teamed with his son Julian. Perhaps Julian would not have even pursued a career had his father lived.
He may have worked with Oliver Stone on a film project or two. He almost certainly would have performed at the big anti-nuclear rally in Central Park in June 1982 that Dennis and I attended.
Had Lennon lived, he and McCartney would have been able to snatch their songs away from Michael Jackson and we’d be spared the abuse of Beatles’ songs by Target and whatever credit card/bank that commercial is for.
But Lennon’s greatest effect may have been politically. If Lennon had avoided politics, America’s involvement with the Contras would have ignited his awakening. A benefit concert for CISPES seems appropriate, where Lennon may have sung and recorded a new version of “Give Peace a Chance”. Maybe a solo album titled “The Savior”, the English translation of El Salvador, or “The Agency”.
As Iran Contra developed, that scandal’s political embarrassment for Reagan, North, et al would have whetted Lennon’s appetite for political blood and revenge against conservative American presidents and their self-serving egos.
He may have made some critical remarks in interviews or at rallies about Reagan, North et al which would have caused a stir. He may have re-united with Abbie Hoffman who had re-emerged by 1980 as well, and may have inspired Jerry Rubin to put aside his success in business long enough to get radical about Central America.
Having survived the Strom Thurmond-inspired plot to have the INS deny his Green Card and deport him, Lennon may have felt inspired and emboldened to take on Reagan and the CIA. He would certainly have inspired many to take on Reagan, North et al, which is the reason for his death that the conspiracy theory mentioned at the top of this post is based on.
Had Lennon lived perhaps Reagan, North et al would have imploded harder and Bush would have lost to Dukakis, who, if he won, would have lost to Bush in ’92—or Clinton—primarily because of the economy.
Had Lennon lived it may have been harder for the Christian Right to become as powerful as they had because Lennon would have skewered the right-wing Christian hypocrisy in Central America—and right here in the U.S.
“Imagine” may have been followed by another anthem, “Realize”. He would have performed in Berlin right after the fall of the wall since they performed several times in Hamburg before and after its construction. The wall’s fall was certainly in keeping with the world vision he expressed in “Imagine”.
He and Yoko may have introduced America to some form of self-help psychology on Oprah. And just for the hell of it, for a week, he and Yoko may have taken the center square on the New Hollywood Squares, hosted by John Davidson from 1986 to 1989.
The Internet would have been the perfect tool for Lennon’s peace movement. But the big question is: How would Lennon have reacted to September 11th?
I think he would have reacted by reaching out to Muslim activists and musicians, which means he would most definitely have worked with Salman Ahmad and Junoon. After all, Lennon was a major inspiration to Junoon founder Ahmad.
Through Ahmad, Lennon would have reached out his message of peace and “Imagine” throughout the Muslim world to any of those who would listen. And he would have succeeded.
I wrote about Junoon in two posts, one of the 52nd anniversary of Lennon meeting McCartney and another post three days later about Junoon.
The American government feared Lennon in the 70s because of his influence over America’s youth. As Lennon got older and there were new generations of youth, Lennon’s influence would have naturally grown much bigger.
The changes he could have helped bring about are left to all of our imaginations. And isn’t that what he said. I think what is most important to be remembered about Lennon is he used his imagination as a tool.
We must all do the same.
Lennon was a Libra—the most powerful star sign in the whole zodiac. Librans understand what I mean.
Sorry, just a little astrological elitism.
Here’s one of my favorite Lennon songs: