I’ve never worshipped John Lennon, and generally regarded The Beatles as overrated. I find Imagine dull and mawkish with horrible lyrics. I’ll give The Beatles their due as composers of a dozen or so truly great songs, though – and that’s taking into account my belief that their finest moments were “all in the production”. Certainly I Am The Walrus (about the Lewis Carroll poem, apparently) and Strawberry Fields Forever are triumphs of arrangement over mediocre songwriting. I’d generally rank them somewhere above the Everly Brothers and below The Kinks.
That said, I was sceptical when I saw Listverse’s fascinating article, Top 10 Unpleasant Facts About John Lennon, because I do think it would be easy to hop on a bandwagon of iconoclasm in the week when so many “national treasures” are being stripped of their crowns. Sir Jimmy Savile was a child molester who, according to his nephew, used to “borrow” kids from the local orphanage. I read that in a tabloid newspaper, so it’s easy to dismiss that as lurid nonsense, except that now police are investigating 120 allegations against the icon. Julie Burchill accused John Peel of exploiting under-aged girls, which would be too easy to ignore as the ramblings of an attention-seeking hack who lost her way a decade ago, but now news of his misconduct is everywhere. It’s not the same thing – the encounters were consensual – but it’s misconduct nonetheless. Whether or not we over-idolise them and hold them to impossible standards, it’s always upsetting when our heroes disappoint us, especially if they do so spectacularly. Perhaps that’s why we’re so eager to delve – to uncover those nightmarish secrets – before we become too attached to the people we admire.
As I said, I wasn’t much of a Lennon fan to start with, but I was appalled and intrigued by Listverse’s article, and before passing it on, I wanted to know one simple thing: was it true? Continue reading