John Lennon - Book Beatle - 1965

John Lennon - The subject was books.

John Lennon - Book Beatle - 1965
John Lennon – The subject was books. (photo: Getty Images)

John Lennon: Book Beatle – with Wilfred De’Ath – July 3, 1965 – BBC

John Lennon – those of us of a certain age who thought turning 30 was a distant, almost unfathomable milestone, now look at one of our icons, who would have turned 80, this October 9th.

Hard to imagine, yet there are places where time stands still. And listening to this interview, recorded by the BBC on July 3, 1965 and originally broadcast as part of the World of Books series, and also issued internationally on a BBC Transcription Disc as John Lennon: Book Beatle, you snap right back to the place and the time when it was all new, it was all vital and it was all very-very important.

We hung on every word, every movement, every note. It was the single most important thing in our world at the time – we were not quite at that age where a faraway conflict like Vietnam would meet us face-to-face. We were still figuring things out, going through the motions, trying on different personas, getting our collective acts together. We were formed but we weren’t detailed. We were looking for guidance and examples. The Beatles fit the bill perfectly – the British invasion was the perfect storm; the right place at the right time.

They said it was okay – okay to have an open mind – okay to like things not everybody else did – okay to be who you were. That was something new and it was exiting and freeing all at the same time. We were still forming yet we were formed and looking for guidance. And maybe at times it was too much responsibility, being the arbiter of your generation – John, Paul, George and Ringo were in fact, people like the rest of us- with all the quirks and imperfections and failures that come with being human in a world of absolutes.

But we needed someone and John Lennon was picked, not so much for him as for what he represented. His was one face of many who blazed those new trails, but perhaps of his tragic end and the unanswered questions, he’s been singled out – singled out too, because he is frozen in time – he’ll always be in his twenties – we cannot imagine him at 80, just as we can’t imagine our own milestones, despite having mirrors to remind us we’re human and we’re trudging.

It’s not a long interview, a little over 8 minutes – just long enough to glance back and remember the infinite possibilities.

So glad he was born.


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