If John Lennon Were Alive Today, Who Would Notice?

Originally posted on The Comet

I was in Central Park last weekend and wandered over to Strawberry Fields. There, I saw fans from all over the world, lay flowers, take photos and some even say silent prayers to their musical icon. From the Imagine monument you have a clear view of his former home and the spot of his slaying, The Dakota.

The past few weeks have shown endless celebration for Lennon - parties, concerts, and the digitally remastered release of his solo albums.

Until 9pmPT Oct 9 YouTube has launched the John Lennon Channel, a 24 hour spotlight featuring video testimonials from the star's famous friends and fans including Ringo Starr, Brian Wilson, Aerosmith, the Jonas Brothers, Jeff Bridges, Tony Hawk, Bret Michaels and DMC (Run-DMC) (an odd list if you ask me). Even regular folks can upload their own memories and homages.

I wonder who my generation will remember with such accolades, or the generations coming up behind me.

Kurt Cobain? Michael Jackson?

Will we celebrate Bob Dylan or Bono? Bruce Springsteen?

Justin Bieber?

Who are the greats who not only have given us divine melody, but also social consciousness? Does our society require that our heroes die tragically to martyr them?

I don't know the answers. Lennon was rebellious before it was cool to be rebellious. He made political choices because he truly imagined a better world.

I often think if Jesus, the man, (not the myth and I am not comparing Jesus to John Lennon), walked the earth today, we would not recognize him. We'd probably lock him up. He'd be a homeless man that society would spit on.

Somewhere out there is a John Lennon. A man or a woman who is writing songs that matter and no one hears them. Maybe they have a YouTube channel. Maybe a record label rejected them or told them their songs were crap. Maybe they didn't have a hit single on their album and got dropped.

If two free spirits staged a 'bed-in' today, it would be considered too stunty or stupid. Even Lady Gaga, who has pushed the envelope, has become a caricature of herself. (I still don't understand why she wore a dress made out of meat, but whatever.)

I simply ask: Are we too bombarded with information, too obsessed with pop culture, too quick to kill our heroes before they find their voice, to see the next John Lennon right in front of us?

Or maybe there is simply one John Lennon, and we were all blessed to have had him as long as we did, and thankful for the music and hope he left behind.

Happy Birthday John.

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