John Lennon Essay

John Lennon Essay

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John Lennon

Lennon was born in 1940 during the Nazi bombing of Britain and given the middle name Winston, after Prime Minister Churchill. Knowing firsthand the horror of a world at war and living through the era of Vietnam's senseless carnage as well, Lennon came to embrace and embody pacifism via such classics of the Beatles era as "All You Need Is Love" and "Strawberry Fields Forever." Yet he also had a countervailing dark side that found expression in pained outcries that dated as far back as "Help." This unvarnished aspect of the Lennon persona reached a fevered pitch with the drug-withdrawal blues of "Cold Turkey," a 1969 single released under the name Plastic Ono Band.


Although Lennon was a complicated man, he chose at this juncture to simplify his art in order to figure out his life, erasing the boundaries between the two. As he explained it, he started trying "to shave off all imagery, pretensions of poetry, illusions of grandeur...Just say what it is, simple English, make it rhyme and put a backbeat on it, and express yourself as simply [and] straightforwardly as possible." His most fully realized statement, as a solo artist was 1970's John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. Lennon's first solo album, it followed several avant-garde sound collages recorded toward the end of the Beatles era with his wife and collaborator, Yoko Ono. The raw, confessional nature of Plastic Ono Band reflected the primal-scream therapy that Len...

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