Thursday, December 08, 2005

December 8th, 1980


I was checking out a club with the singer songwriter of my band. We wanted to see if it was a good place for us to play.

We got in the car, and all the rock stations were playing The Beatles.

Announcer: “John Lennon has been shot outside of his home at the Dakota Building.”

Announcer: “… at least one bullet.”

Announcer: “… at least two bullets.”

Announcer: ”… at least three bullets

Announcer: “… four bullets.”

Announcer “… John Lennon is dead.”

Heard on the train the next day: “Good for his ass. He was a commie.”

Heard at my friend's house from his dad: “I don’t understand the big deal. This didn’t happen when Bing Crosby died.”

Heard at my office: “Don’t worry Al, there’ll be another John Lennon.”

***
The Late Great Johnny Ace
By Paul Simon

I was reading a magazine
And thinking of a rock and roll song
The year was 1954
And I hadn’t been playing that long
When a man came on the radio
And this is what he said
He said I hate to break it
To his fans
But Johnny Ace is dead

Well, I really wasn’t
Such a Johnny Ace fan
But I felt bad all the same
So I sent away for his photograph
And I waited till it came
It came all the way from Texas
With a sad and simple face
And they signed it on the bottom
From the Late Great Johnny Ace

It was the year of the Beatles
It was the year of the Stones
It was 1964
I was living in London
With the girl from the summer before
It was the year of the Beatles
It was the year of the Stones
A year after J.F.K.
We were staying up all night
And giving the days away
And the music was flowing
Amazing
And blowing my way

On a cold December evening
I was walking through the Christmas tide
When a stranger came up and asked me
If I’d heard John Lennon had died
And the two of us
Went to this bar
And we stayed to close the place
And every song we played
Was for the Late Great Johnny Ace


Empty Garden
By Elton John and Bernie Taupin

What happened here
As the New York sunset disappeared
I found an empty garden among the flagstones there
Who lived here
He must have been a gardener that cared a lot
Who weeded out the tears and grew a good crop
And now it all looks strange
It's funny how one insect can damage so much grain

And what's it for
This little empty garden by the brownstone door
And in the cracks along the sidewalk nothing grows no more
Who lived here
He must have been a gardener that cared a lot
Who weeded out the tears and grew a good crop
And we are so amazed we're crippled and we're dazed
A gardener like that one no one can replace

And I've been knocking but no one answers
And I've been knocking most all the day
Oh and I've been calling oh hey hey Johnny
Can't you come out to play

And through their tears
Some say he farmed his best in younger years
But he'd have said that roots grow stronger if only he could hear
Who lived there
He must have been a gardener that cared a lot
Who weeded out the tears and grew a good crop
Now we pray for rain, and with every drop that falls
We hear, we hear your name

Johnny can't you come out to play in your empty garden

Blaze of Glory
By Joe Jackson

Johnny was a young boy
with nothing much except a certain kind of look in his eye
He was discovered one day - you see he had a certain kind of appeal
for a certain kind of guy
Who gave him some advice on what to wear
and sent him out to make the young girls cry
And all the young boys who'd just been dumb and restless
now they could identify

So tell me who'll take the blame
for the way things turned out

Well six long months passed and Johnny was the biggest thing alive
And we loved Johnny and we owned Johnny
and no one knew how Johnny felt inside
And Johnny was so beautiful, he was like a god
and we all went along for the ride
And the ride started to go too fast
and Johnny just conveniently died

And he went up in flames
He did what he had to do

And they say it's a tragic story
he just wasn't there one day
but he went out in a Blaze of Glory
and you and I - you and I just fade away

Well nowadays there's a lot of guys like Johnny
they got it all worked out - like working 9 to 5
But they're all just cartoons - all think they're Superman
but they can't even fly
And they say that Johnny's ghost walks 'round in Memphis
when the moon is full and high
And I wonder if he sees these jokers
and I wonder if he laughs or if he cries

Now he's an angel in flames
But what about you and me

And they say it's a tragic story
he just wasn't there one day
but he went out in a Blaze of Glory
and you and I - you and I just fade away

***

"If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace."

"My role in society, or any artist's or poet's role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all. "

"Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That's what's insane about it. "

"Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted. "

"It's fear of the unknown. The unknown is what it is. And to be frightened of it is what sends everybody scurrying around chasing dreams, illusions, wars, peace, love, hate, all that--it's all illusion. Unknown is what it is. Accept that it's unknown and it's plain sailing. Everything is unknown--then you're ahead of the game. That's what it is. Right?"

"Listen, if anything happens to Yoko and me,
it was not an accident."

- John Lennon

***

25 Years, and I'm still angry and I'm still not over it...


7 Comments:

Blogger Kevin Wolf said...

The shock will never wear off, will it?

9:07 AM  
Blogger Neil Shakespeare said...

It's like Kennedy. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news.

9:59 AM  
Blogger jemison said...

Wow, Blaze of Glory. I need to pull that out and listen to it again. Yeah, I remember trying to console a high school friend that day. Lots of other students had no clue.

10:42 AM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

Blaze of Glory

I'm not 100% sure it is a direct reference to John, but I love the song and a lot of it seems to fit.

11:50 AM  
Anonymous blue girl said...

Hi Al, I knew I could depend on you for a post like this today.

Thanks for it.

My son's really into John Lennon right now -- he's just discovering him. Which is really cool.

He told me last night that his new favorite song is "Jealous Guy."

It's nice that he and I can share it.

12:05 PM  
Blogger jemison said...

I was playing "Working Class Hero" the other night with the boys. What a fun three chord song--quite the monkey nerve.

I also like Joe Jackson's redux of "Down to London/The In Crowd" which came out a few years ago.

2:47 PM  
Blogger cali said...

"On a cold December evening
I was walking through the Christmas tide
When a stranger came up and asked me
If I’d heard John Lennon had died
And the two of us
Went to this bar
And we stayed to close the place
And every song we played
Was for the Late Great Johnny Ace"
~ P. Simon

God, you're good. Thank you.

11:23 PM  

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