Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Lennon FBI files...

Happened to glance through the latest issue of the weekly college newspaper and found that there was a seminar this evening by Dr. Jon Wiener. Dr. Wiener is a professor of history here at UCI, and I had read about him recently, and his efforts at getting the FBI files on John Lennon released to the public under the Freedom of Information Act.
It was an interesting evening, filled with a lot of amusement (and Beatles music). Some of the things the FBI considered classified (and Dr. Wiener had to go thru court to get them released to the public) was quite amusing. The classic case being:

"John Lennon is a British citizen and ____ of the Beatles singing group"

It was interesting to learn so much more about Lennon. I didnt know that he split with Yoko for a year in the mid-70s and came down to LA and lived the life of an "over-the-hill singer" (in Dr. Wiener's own words). Thankfully he got back with Yoko within a year and released some of his best music. But then the music died on December 8th 1980!

Which brings me to the my love-hate relationship with Lennon. The Beatles are among my favorite bands (the others being Dire Straits, U2, Floyd, Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles). I just feel sorry that they split up in the early 70s, with so much of music still unwritten. I would probably lay the blame squarely on Ms. Ono, but then I guess everyone was equally responsible, as I guess each one needed a little space. Maybe it's just that I thought McCartney was a better, and happier dude compared to Lennon. Musicwise I'd say Lennon was aeons ahead of McCartney, but have realized this only in the last few years having Lennon's solo stuff a good spin in my CD player! Overall, the sheer class of every Beatle shines through in their solo stuff - Ringo Starr included! I saw the "Concert for George" a year ago on DVD, and it was one of the most amazing concerts I have seen - the way they started out "While my guitar gently weeps" still echoes in my head and I can envision Clapton and George's son Dhani playing the leads.

(Pink) Floyd was basically Waters and Gilmour. As always, I always supported Gilmour, coz Waters was the dude who broke the band....but then having listened to Waters' solo stuff, I would tend to say he was/is light years ahead of Gilmour talent-wise and otherwise. But then, "Division Bell" was one of the best (Pink) Floyd CDs I have heard.

I guess the debate will never really end...probably even after they move on to elysian fields!

So that's that!


Sunil said...

There's more about the fab 4. I thought Harrison was a better guitarist than either paul or (definitely) John, and felt he got a bit of the short end of the stick in most concerts.

And oftentimes, duo's have one who is really streets ahead of the other. You mentioned Floyd. Then there's Simon and Garfunkel (Simon was the 'talent'), and Ian Anderson couldn't get anyone to keep up with him. But sometimes you have Page and Plant.....and i won't dare to choose.

Soultan of Swing said...

George was streets ahead as a guitarist undoubtedly, but the brains behind the Fab4 were undoubtedly John and Paul. It irritates me that the pervert in Neverland has the rights to the Beatles collection!
Yeah hadnt thought of S&G....and who can forget that unforgettable combo of George Michael and Andrew (Who the hell is he!?!?!) Ridgley!