When I was a baby, my father didn’t know any lullabies so he would croon “Hey Jude” to me at night in a (usually fruitless) effort to get me to sleep. By the time I was two years old, my favourite part was the “Ju-judy, Judy, Judy, Judy, Judy -OW!” My bathtub songs cassette tape had “Octopus’s Garden” and “Yellow Submarine” on it. When my sister and I were two and five respectively, my father would put on “Lady Madonna” for us, which my sister thought was “Lady Banana.” At the line “See how they run!” he would shout “RUN!” as we would tear through the downstairs of our house, shrieking as he chased us.
So it just makes sense that, as a member of a generation who prides themselves on loving the old more than the new, I grew up to be a Beatles fan. A huge Beatles fan. My brain is full of random Beatles trivia (Bob Dylan introduced the group to marijuana after thinking the lyric “I can’t hide” was “I get high”; John Lennon was the first Beatle to be married with a child but had to keep it a secret so that they wouldn’t upset fans). Every year for Christmas, I receive the special edition Beatles cover of Rolling Stone magazine – usually if it’s John Lennon. When I saw Across the Universe at sixteen, I was amazed – I hadn’t listened to the Beatles for years, but somehow these words were flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup.
And of course, I had a favourite member of the band. John Lennon’s crusade for peace spoke to my inner hippie. His sweet, albeit nasal in a fantastic way, Liverpudlian croon was the first voice I could identify on a record. The songs he wrote became my favourites; his whimsical sketching charmed me and the flavour of Ben & Jerry’s inspired by him, “Imagine Whirled Peace” was instantly the best ice cream flavour in the world. It had chocolate chunks shaped like peace signs. How great is that?
So today, I’m keeping this short and sweet – it would have been this revolutionary thinker’s 75th birthday. 75 years old. And we are living the exact opposite life that he called us to dream of in his hit song post-breakup, Imagine. I spend more time imagining a world where tea came out of the tap than I do imagining no possessions. As I am about to embark on a 3 hour drive, I’m going to take this time to play his greatest hits and think about exactly what I can to do make a piece of my world the world that John Lennon Imagined.
Because at the end of the day, we all shine on – like the moon, and the stars, and the sun. I think John would be proud to see how much of his legacy has actually lasted.