Today is the 25th anniversary of John Lennon’s death. I grew up with Beatles music from a very early age because my two sisters (Azra and Sughra Raza) who were young teenagers at the time were diehard fans. (Apparently my first full sentence was some Beatles lyric.) There are all sorts of memorials being held tonight, not least the one at Strawberry Fields in Central Park, just across the street from the Dakota where JL lived and Yoko Ono still does, and where he was shot. It is not far from where I live, and I might stop by later. Here’s Steven Winn in the San Francisco Chronicle:
He was shot and killed, 25 years ago today, by a mad fan who thought he’d sold out and become a phony. On this Dec. 8, hundreds of biographies, broadsides, candlelight vigils, documentaries, reconsiderations and a Broadway musical later, John Lennon remains in the culture’s magnified crosshairs. And still we can’t quite get a fix on him.
Almost anyone of a certain age, now as then, has an opinion; a construct; a shadowy, imperfectly mapped place where Lennon lives and how his music — even if we only experienced it as a backdrop, as I did — helped place us in the world and simultaneously question that place. “Strawberry Fields Forever.” “Imagine.” “Beautiful Boy.” “I Am the Walrus.” “In My Life.” “Mother.” “Help!” The titles of the songs — everyone has his own private playlist — are enough. They summon things, take us back and remind us what we took forward and what we left behind. They stop time and expand it.