I think it’s almost obligatory for a peace blog that likes looking at different artists featuring peace in their work to do a post on John Lennon at some point (and I’m pretty sure that right there was a run-on sentence; my teachers would be horrified). I mean, this guy was one of the spearheads in the seventies’ counterculture movement, calling for an end to the Vietnam War, getting people to cry out “Give Peace a Chance!”
Now, in case you don’t know who John Lennon was, he was one of the founding members of quite possible the greatest rock group to ever exist, that being The Beatles. Yes, the Fab Four. Lennon played rhythm guitar and performed vocals with Paul McCartney, making probably one of the best songwriting duos ever to exist. The rock quartet, for nearly the entire decade of the sixties, releasing bubblegum pop songs like “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” and other, more complex works such as “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).” They released over 13 albums in their time, before breaking up not long after the recording sessions for Abbey Road (probably my favorite of all their works).
When Lennon went solo was when his activism really began to shine through. Many of his works, such as “Give Peace a Chance” stood as anti-war anthems, where songs like “Power to the People” were described as anthems that came ten years too late. Lennon, having been a troublemaker from childhood, used his music to attack the bourgeois social system of the time with songs such as “Working Class Hero” as well as showing his disdain for religion in the song “Imagine”. He and his wife, Yoko Ono, continued making music, whether together or separate, up until John Lennon’s murder in 1980.
Overall, Lennon’s work was inspirational to a very lost and tired generation trying to find direction, and his music continues to inspire today. When Amnesty International released a compilation of his works performed by other artists, I rushed out to buy it quick, and I’m glad I did. Our generation not only needs a good dose of John Lennon, but also its own John Lennons, working to bring the world to a better place through music. While, unlike Lennon, I have no issue with religion, and I believe only Jesus can bring true peace, I firmly believe he doesn’t do so without some good tunes to come with it. Music is one of those things that unites people, and Lennon knew that when he wrote people, his music could be used just as much like a broadsheet as a song. So let’s all give peace a chance, and shine on.
John Lennon, shine on.