LENNON BOUGHT HIS WAY OUT OF DEPORTATION FROM U.S. ONLY TO BECOME ASSASSINATION TARGET IN NEW YORK
To say that John Lennon was a rebel would be an understatement. He picked up causes like a woolen suit picks up lint. Many of them were noble. Some were for pure “shock and awe” effect. Like the “Two Virgins” nude album cover. Or the mock U.S. flag used for an anti-war poster. But he did not survive another mocking…
Yesterday, December 8, was the 35th anniversary of the day the famous Beatle died, felled by four bullets fired by former fan-turned assassin. Why? Because Lennon mocked Jesus.
JOHN LENNON SHOT: WORDS THAT KILL
Lennon died because he claimed the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus”
ALTZAR: I remember the day like it was yesterday. Yet it was 35 years ago. December 8, 1980. John Lennon. Dead. Shot by a supposed fan.
I had no idea at the time. I just felt overwhelming sadness, like millions of other Beatles fans around the world.
But now, in hindsight, maybe Lennon had it coming. Because of the things he said 14 years earlier…
Of course, Jesus would have never approved of Paul Chapman’s actions. But most people are not like him. Forgiving, compassionate, loving…
Which is why we need to be VERY CAREFUL about the things we say. Especially in public.
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John Lennon, a former member of the Beatles, the rock group that transformed popular music in the 1960s, was shot and killed by a disillusioned former fan in New York City.
The 40-year-old artist was entering his luxury Manhattan apartment building when Mark David Chapman shot him four times at close range with a .38-caliber revolver. Lennon, bleeding profusely, was rushed to the hospital but died en route.
Like millions of others, Chapman had been a big Beatles fan, idolizing Lennon, and played guitar himself. But he turned against him after he was angered by Lennon’s comment that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus.”
In the South, there were demonstrations, album burnings, boycotts, and projectiles thrown over that Lennon comment. Some members of Chapman’s prayer group made a joke, “imagine, imagine if John Lennon was dead,” playing off the popular Lennon hit song “Imagine.”
Because offending Jesus was no joke to Chapman. Jan Reeves, sister of one of Chapman’s best friends, reported that Chapman “seemed really angry toward John Lennon, and he kept saying he could not understand why John Lennon had said it” [that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus].
“According to Mark (the Bible), there should be nobody more popular than the Lord Jesus Christ. Mark said it was blasphemy.”
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ALTZAR: And Chapman took it literally and acted upon it. Words that kill… that would be my title to this tragedy. Tonight, I played “Imagine”, the Lennon song, on my Clavinova. I don’t think I ever actually recorded it. I think I may… tomorrow.
Actually, John Lennon may have dug his own grave 14 years before Chapman shot him. Here’s an excerpt from his interview with Maureen Cleave, a good friend of John Lennon’s, who wrote a personality article about him that would be published in the March 4th 1966 edition of the London Evening Standard.
“Cleave’s piece was intended to present a portrait of the behind-the-scenes Lennon, and was entitled ‘How Does A Beatle Live? John Lennon Lives Like This.’ The article contained a number of Lennon musings, remarks and random thoughts from a recent conversation she had with him at his home in Weybridge, including John’s personal view of the current state of religion:
“Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that; I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now. I don’t know which will go first, rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.”
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LENNON, NOW WIDELY REVERED, WAS CONVICTED FOR DRUG POSSESSION
But this rebel with a cause, now widely revered, also had weaknesses. Like many musical artists, Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono used drugs extensively. Eventually, this was to be their undoing. And in Lennon’s case, contributed to his early death.
When Elizabeth and I were in London in October 2010, we visited several of the homes where various Beatles had resided during the late 1960, at the top of their fame. The basement flat at 34 Montagu Square was where they were arrested on Oct 18, 1968 – (see http://www.beatlesbible.com/1968/10/18/john-lennon-and-yoko-ono-are-arrested-for-drugs-possession/).
I have only now realized that we were standing on the doorstep of that house on Oct 19, one day past the 42nd anniversary since that fateful day, and the day when the couple actually appeared in court. I also realized today, Dec 9, 2015, that four days after our visit, Yoko Ono was also back unveil a British Heritage plaque which now graces its walls (on Oct 23, 2010, http://www.nme.com/news/nme/53551).
Here’s an excerpt from my Oct 2010 London travelogue…
“Moving on a few blocks farther, we stopped outside the house in whose basement apartment John Lennon and Yoko Ono first used to shack up (middle right). It was here that the infamous nearly nude photo of John and Yoko was taken which shocked the puritan world. Lennon wanted it on the cover of a new album. But it became widely known after being published in a magazine (Richard is holding it in his hands).
Jimmy Hendrix also lived in that flat for a while. The place was a hangout for rockers and always full of drugs. Lennon was once tipped off about a police raid, so he cleaned up the place in advance of it. But the police found some drugs anyway, possibly left over from an earlier binge by someone else. So they arrested the famous couple. In order to save Ono from deportation, Lennon negotiated a plea agreement. He plead guilty to a simple count of possession as log as the prosecutor kept Ono out of it. Boy, was he ever to regret that plea a few years later.” (see http://yinyangbob.com/Europe2010/London%203.htm).
Here’s an excerpt from a story about their arrest. Lennon and Ono had been tipped off about the upcoming police raid. According to Lennon, they had swept the house top-to-bottom removing any traces of drugs. But apparently, they did not do a very good job.
Because police sniffer dogs, Yogi and Booboo, found the cannabis in various places, including the binoculars case, a film can and a cigarette roller. The following evidence was found:
- 27.3 grains of hashish in an unsealed brown envelope in a blue trunk in the bedroom
- A cigarette case containing traces of hashish on the bedroom floor
- A cigarette rolling machine with traces of cannabis, on top of a mirror in the bedroom
- 191.8 grains of hashish in a binocular case in the living room
Lennon and Ono were marched through the crowds of photographers outside and were taken by police car to Paddington Green. The couple were charged and ordered to appear in court the following day.” (see http://www.beatlesbible.com/1968/10/18/john-lennon-and-yoko-ono-are-arrested-for-drugs-possession/).
LENNON ALSO EXHIBIT VIOLENCE IN HIS RELATIONSHIPS, HITTING HIS FIRST WIFE
John Lennon met Yoko Ono in 1966, while still married to Cynthia, his wife of four years. The couple had a three-year old son by the time Ono had swept Lennon off his feet. John and Cynthia started their relationship in 1958 in Liverpool. Lennon was insanely jealous and at time violent. Here’s what Cynthia wrote about one such incident:
“He saw me dancing with his best friend Stuart, my best friend Stuart. That made him see red at that time. But it wasn’t until the following day and he’d been thinking about it all night and he caught me outside the ladies loos in the college basement, and just smacked me one. And I hit my head on the back of the pipes and he just walked off. “ (see http://www.beatlesbible.com/people/cynthia-lennon/).
In other words, this was not just a case of temper tantru,. It was premeditated violence against a woman who had done nothing wrong.
John and Cynthia’s relationship ended in 1968, by which point Lennon was already living with Ono, as we now know,
Fast-forwarding to 1970s…
“When Lennon and Ono moved to New York in the early 1970s, they became politically active in the anti-Nixon election campaign. Guess they did not know just how dirty politics is in America. The Nixon people wanted to dredge up some dirt on the couple so as to neutralize their influence on the campaign. Eventually, they sniffed out Lennon’s drug conviction in London. After that, the U.S. prosecutors and immigration officials put the couple through a ringer. Since money seems to buy nearly everything in America, Lennon was able to negotiate his way out of deportation. But the deal put a sock in their political mouths. So activist posters, such as the one on the left depicting a mock American flag, became a thing of the past.”
And now, with this as a preamble, here’s my latest recording of Lennon’s hit song “Imagine.”
JOHN LENNON’S “IMAGINE” RECORDED BY ALTZAR on Dec 9, 2015 at the Rainbow Shower in Maui, Hawaii
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Also, here’s my first recording on my old antique baby grand piano made in Scottsdale, Arizona in April 2008:
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