I, like many others who have loved you and followed your words and music for years and years, do not claim to know you. But having made that proviso, I will go with what you have been to me, and since I have known you and loved you since I was 8, you know you have meant the world to me.
While you were still with the Beatles, I grew up with you. You guys were more present than my own parents, and despite a modern analysis of the lyrics and a deeper knowledge of some of your private lives showing some darker truths, you spoke to me of joy, of reassurance, of true love. Not the love of a couple, no, the love for fellow human beings, that is what I consider true love.
The world had to be a good place because the Beatles sang beautifully, their music was beautiful, and I knew all the words to all the songs of every album.
Then a little later I found out there was Paul, alone, and George, alone, and yes Ringo, and You. And you spoke to my adolescent self even more. Everything you said, resonated. It rang loud and true. Then I found out you were born the same day as me. Or rather, I was born the same day as you. Clearly that meant something to you too as you made sure your son Sean was born on the same day. In any case, “The 9th of October, like John Lennon”, became my standard answer whenever anybody asked me when my birthday was.
You said it all. All your songs. Watching the Wheels, my favourite for so long. And of course the obvious one, Imagine. A song that has been heard so many, many times but how often have I seen it really taken for it is, for what is says? It says NO BORDERS. No Religion. Nothing that creates division.
It seems that people feel safer in division. It makes them feel cosy and protected. Did you still feel like a Brit, like you were from Liverpool, when you were as big as big can get? Did it mean anything?
Today I have decided to work on embracing one of those distinctions, divisions. I don’t know how long it will last or whether I’ll even manage it. But I’m not betraying that spirit I hope.
I am nothing like you. You did, achieved, created so much. You were committed and a professional. My enormous achievement is staying alive and trying not to adversely affect people around me too much.
I salute you, John, I like to think you’re having a swell time having fun with music somewhere cool with cool people. Thanks for being there for me.