Imagine….If Lennon Were Alive TodayDecember 3, 2010 - 2:33 AM | by: Adam Housley
Some might argue that John Lennon is indeed still alive, his spirit thriving in much of pop culture and musical influence. Imagine though that the life we know of Lennon today was not just an energy, but the man himself? What would John Lennon be in his 70’s? Would the Beatles have reunited? Would he still influence music, culture, politics and peace? If Paul is any indication, and for that matter what George and Ringo became, Lennon would still be very much a part of not only American culture, but you can bet he would find a way to infuse society with his take on the current terror/war gripping so much of this globe.
As we approach the 30th anniversary of Lennon’s murder by Mark David Chapman, we have come to Las Vegas. Yes, even the Beatles played here way back when, but now they are actually carried-on with a very popular Cirque show at the Mirage seen by more than 4-million people. When it opened more than 4 years ago, Paul, Ringo, Yoko and Olivia Harrison all came and are expected to return next year for the five year anniversary…so what better place stateside to give the Lennon life a perspective?
Our look coincides with a Fox Special airing tonight (Friday) and hosted by my friend Bill Hemmer and as I write this story, I have Beatles blaring in my room…I mean not a bad way to find inspiration. For our reports we had a great variety of folks to give us some perspective. From President of the Mirage Felix Rappaport, to big time Brit Matt Goss, to musician John Colby and jack of all trades Terry Fator…as ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ echo in the background….More on the special in a bit.
“The reality is that when you have been such a prolific song writer and such a wonderful musician as John Lennon, the beauty is that we now are able to have his memory live on in a very positive way through his music,” says Mirage President Felix Rappaport.
As the strings on ‘Penny Lane’ stick in my mind, the words from Matt Goss are appropriate here. Matt mentioned the song to me and the fantastic arrangement that he has enjoyed since a kid across the pond. It was a perspective I hadn’t thought about much…we know about the “British Invasion” here, but what is/was it like for our friends and their countrymen?
As Matt explains, the Beatles could be the UK’s greatest export. Even to this day their style, purpose and of course success, drive many Brits to strive in other parts of the globe and especially here in America and you can count Matt as one of those. In most parts of the world in the late 80’s and early 90’s he and his group ‘Bros’ had reached the pinnacle, but not stateside…so now he builds on his success and career in Las Vegas one performance at a time and as a part of his show….John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’…Imagine that?
As Matt says, “The Beatles really are a part of society on every level, fashion, music, sensibility, the Beatles represent us continuously all over the world and we’re very, very proud of the Beatles.”
As for Felix and John, they both grew up with the Beatles as did so many. Felix tells me the shows here at the Mirage bring people 8 to 80 and he makes a great point about how Lennon and the Beatles are now influencing a third generation. John says pretty much the same thing, but also adds that what they witnessed can be compared to people watching Mozart or Beethoven in their time….these are classics that will be enjoyed 400 years from now.
“For me John Lennon represented a voice more than a musician he was a voice and is words and philosophy carried… Like the music was a messenger, sort of speak, for what he was trying to do,” says composer John Colby.
Fator may seem like an odd add, but not when you consider that the ventriloquist, impressionist has a puppet in his show called “hyphen”…also known as the “fifth Beatle”. He too talks of the influence in so many ways and we agree that the death of Lennon really was the end as I hear ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’. What began with the British Invasion and included Ed Sullivan, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Bed-Ins, the break-up, Yoko and the solo careers…ended with the murder of John. It was a sad reality to millions that the Beatles would indeed never reunite in full and a powerful voice in so many ways was tragically silenced way too young.
As for tonights big one-hour special…expect guests like Elliot Mintz, John Lennon’s publicist and close friend.
Then there’s Dave Sholin, a San Francisco DJ conducted last interview with Lennon on day he was murdered.
On the law enforcement side, Steve Spiro and Peter Cullen were the first police officers on the scene and arrested Chapman and also James Moran, the police officer who drove Lennon to hospital. These people and many more will give an incredible insight to the man, his work and his amazing legacy…whether you think that legacy was positive or not.
Of course controversy can also be associated with Lennon and the Beatles in a number of ways. Some call him a socialist, he was known to take LSD at times and his relationship with Yoko and the rest of the Beatles had its ups and downs. However, there is no denying the influence and the fact that Lennon either wrote, co-wrote or performed on 27 number one singles.
So what do think and what are your memories?