Wednesday, December 8, 2010

John Lennon "Watching the Wheels"

John Lennon
I have been enjoying some of the Lennon nostalgia surfacing recently, even if the reason for it, the 30th anniversary of his assassination, is somewhat macabre. I usually try to resist nostalgia, especially for something I was barely alive to feel in its heyday. I was only eight years old when Lennon was killed in 1980, and hadn't really warmed up to rock and roll yet. But there's something too powerful for me to resist in this music.

I'll admit that the part of the film 'Imagine' that shows a pair of Lennon-like specs falling to the ground always gets to me. It makes me angry. For some reason, I will often flash to Lennon singing "All You Need Is Love," and think about how he was killed, and what that message means in that context.

Hearing Frank Gifford insisting that Howard Cosell break the news of Lennon's death on Monday Night Football, in some newly released audio from that night's broadcast, also left an impression today. Something more than celebrity made Gifford say immediately that the news had to be told, no matter what was going on in the game. Lennon must have reached him somehow, too.

I have been going back through my Lennon CDs and found some songs that had not really sunk in before. But there are two that most often stick with me, those being "In My Life" and this one, "Watching the Wheels." There was no doubt a massive ego at work here, one big enough to believe one guy with a guitar could make people love each other. It doesn't get any more bittersweet than that.

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