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John Lennon
'The Day The Music Died!' - The Time magazine cover headline screamed when John Lennon was shot dead by Mark Chapman. A tragic, unwarranted and definitely most improper end to a man who actually meant what the magazine cover proclaimed. He, for many, meant music. He was the music. And to think that the end came after a decade-long musical crusade for world peace and brotherly love made it more shockingly rude.

Oh! Is there anything possibly left to be written about the Beatles or about the man who has had perhaps the biggest hand in making the Fab Four what they were, and still are? No one can deny Lennon's role in the Beatles' fame. As a matter of fact, he more than once made sure the world realized that his role was the most prominent among the four. Well, that's John Lennon for you. Singer par excellence, songwriter par excellence, performer par excellence and hornet's nest stirrer par excellence.

There was ample share of infamy through the various modes adopted by the music stars then: be it drugs, on and off stage antics, differences blowing out of proportion, making over-the-top statements, womanizing... you name it. Lennon was there and did that... and much more.

Let's start with his virtually leading the group. There was no denying, even in those days, as to who their frontman was. Even though he and McCartney had been at loggerheads over the songs written by them after their split, it is clear that Lennon remained the principle singer and songwriter for the band. The pair agreed early on to share songwriting credits, though they directly collaborated on only a few of the Beatles' hits. Lennon, for his part, contributed more experimental and mystical music during the band's later years, while McCartney was more pop-oriented.

Lennon made most of the non-music decisions. It was also Lennon who is said to have actually led the group into drug use during the mid '60s. McCartney, even though himself embroiled in his share of drug taking and possessing in his later years, was more controlled. It was again Lennon who got the mystical urges and encouraged the other three to follow his guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a phase that also helped them grab more headlines.

There was no denying that Lennon loved to scandalize. And it has been so since the time the group was in its infancy in Hamburg and Liverpool. Lennon was loud-mouthed and brash, and with a greasy hairdo and old black leathers he had all the intention of attracting the populace with high shock value. At Hamburg's Star Club he would walk on stage naked except for a lavatory seat round his neck. On Sundays, he would stand on a balcony and taunt passing churchgoers, including at times even downright obscenities. At one time he tied a water-filled contraceptive sheath to a figure of Christ and put it out for churchgoers to see. Sacrilege seemed part of his very persona.

As if that wasn't enough to infuriate people, he had more such pranks, and dirtier ones to that, up his sleeve. On one instance our man, standing on the balcony, urinated over the heads of three nuns. Lennon seems to have had this love-hate relation with religion in general and Christ in particular. Why else would he then, during their heyday in the mid sixties, proclaim to the world that the Beatles 'are more popular than Jesus Christ' resulting in a worldwide hostility towards them, with many people destroying Beatles records in retaliation. There might be many who would have taken a step back with such reaction. Not our man John. He seemed to revel in the notoriety.




You can read the rest of our feature on John Lennon in the April 2005 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.
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Bruce Springsteen
Mariah Carey
Ajay Devgan
Juggy D
The Young Ones
Natasha Bedingfield
The Killers
Il Divo
Super Singer Ravindra
DJ Union
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