Friday, April 10, 2009

Paul is Dead? John Lennon Continues to Be Dead

Interesting web site to check out if your into myths about rock stars: Patterson said the other night on America: Coast to Coast that a mathematician told him rock stars are twice as likely to die at age 27 then any other age. There is a rock myth about the age of 27.

Normally, I don't share this story, but I wanted to talk about John Lennon's death.

I attended a large high school in the mid-west. When I was in high school, I used to write my name of the inside pages of my books to mark them.  Once, when asked about it, I pointed out I didn't have to use my name, I could write anything different.  So, at that moment I wrote several titles of Beatle songs instead inside of the book.

The book? The Cather in the Rye.

The year? 1980.

During my senior year, I got sick and was off a number of weeks. During this time, I did a lot of thinking.  It was increasingly obvious that with Jeff and I going away to separate colleges and Mike and Tony attending locally, the band and my friendships were likely in trouble.  In the fall, I wrote a song about this problem called I'm Loosing You.

Someone told me a station would be playing the new John Lennon album, Double Fantasy, late that night and he offered to tape it for me as I had to sleep. With the exception of some of the chords and a few lyrics, the record contained a similar song also called I'm Loosing You. One of my dorm mates thought it was "good" I wrote a song like Lennon's. But, I explained no one would believe the coincidence I wrote a song similar to John Lennon's and the world didn't need two such similar songs.

Lennon seemed uneasy about the record and what might happen next despite the great popular will surrounding him and the confidence of producer Jack Douglas.

While away at college, I started having a series of dreams. Not about the album covers on the dorm walls, college sex, exams, or my drunken professors, but of being shot while walking into a large old near by building.

On December 8, 1980, I was listening to a popular local FM station when they announced John Lennon had been shot. Mark David Chapman, who had asked for Lennon to autograph an album earlier in the evening, who was holding a copy of The Cather in the Rye, and thought John Lennon was a fake for living far different than his imagery, had shot John Lennon dead.

At the time, Chapman seemed to want to be the person who would stop or reverse what he saw as the increasingly cynical Lennon. Perhaps, in the mind of a crazy person, he would somehow replace John Lennon as someone more authentic. Later, Chapman would say it was like he was possessed.

I had no more dreams of being shot.

When I returned to the dorm, the halls were filled with the sounds of Lennon's music. I wanted no part of it suggesting they should allow him a moment.

Mom later bought me a copy of People magazine with Lennon on the cover. Mom told several people, "It was like Chapman shot (me) too."

Playboy ran an interview with John Lennon where he frequently joked about readers bypassing him for "page 196." As I recall, 196 is one of the pages I marked in my copy of Cather in the Rye.

On McCartney, my memory is he got mad in the studio one night and raced off on a motor bike similar to one in HELP! and hit a car. This does not necessarily kill a person, but it tends to mess up their bits. Eventually, if all goes well, it can lead to band humor...and myth making and record sales.

By the way, John and Yoko were almost killed in a car accident later.

Jim Morrison though the government was out to get them all. This is why he went to France. Well, if they were out to get them, then it would be while they were doing the most dangerous thing they regularly enjoyed as it makes for a more believable story.

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