I was driving to an 8 AM class in my ancient Chevy Malibu, listening to AM radio (the only thing my mid-70's radio could get) when I learned that John Lennon had been shot and killed. The DJ played "Imagine" and I started to cry, knowing that one of the world's great artists and peace activists was no more. When I got to campus, I found I wasn't the only one in mourning. It was surreal, at least.
My fascination with The Beatles began with their absurdist 1965 film Help! Ridiculous, hilarious and full of the kind of existential nonsense the group was exploring at the time, I just thought it was funny. 45 years later, the film still holds up as a madcap comedy. Honestly, with characters named "Clang," "Foot," and "Lawnmower," how could it not? Three years later saw Yellow Submarine, an even more surreal animated film about the group's adventures in Pepperland*, where they must defeat the evil Blue Meanies and restore Pepperland to its former glory.
It wasn't until I actually got to college that I really learned to appreciate the genius of the Beatles, and particularly the combination of Lennon and McCartney. They wrote songs that will played, sung and reinterpreted until the end of days, and influenced literally countless song writers and musicians who came after.
Knowing that it has been 30 years since Lennon's assassination is making me feel particularly old and sad, today. I think I need a pick-me-up. Maybe this will help:
There... That's better. Two obsessions with one stone, as it were.
*The less said about the film Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the better.