Snow pelting the windshield, ice on the road, it was a night of frozen hell as we crawled along I-80 at 30mph. We were already freezing from the heater not working. My biggest worry was that the Yamaha organ in the van wasn’t going to stay put if we went off the road. It wasn’t tied down, just held in place by wedges and big moving blankets. We were Sacramento-bound, and had to be there by morning.
I can still smell the musty, wet dog smell of the Uhaul blankets.
We didn’t have CD’s back then, cassettes were still brand new. 8tracks were something for the rich, and we just had the AM radio and an uninsulated Chevy van and that’s all right with me.
The radio had fallen into a series of Beatles songs to the point that it was becoming an annoyance. They played a Yoko Ono song and that inspired me to switch it off the noise when the announcer broke in and said that John Lennon’s death had been confirmed, he was gone. He’d been shot in front of the Dakota Arms apartments.
We sat in shock. And then I got sick. We had to pull over and I stood in the horizontal snow, vomiting. I couldn’t believe that one of the greatest musicians, a peace-proponent, and a bright light in my own musical journey had been murdered. It simply didn’t make sense.
Like most of those alive when Lennon died, we’ll always remember the shot heard round the world. The memory is as vivid as today’s blue sky. Twice now, I’ve visited that spot to steal a sense of his spirit, his soul. I’ve visited Strawberry Fields during many of my New York visits, simply to remember and be inspired.
His words will live on longer than most, and inspire generations yet unknown.
Lennon said “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” My band, my friends…we dreamed together and so many things became reality.
Lennon said “He didn’t come out of my belly, but my God, I’ve made his bones, because I’ve attended to every meal, and how he sleeps, and the fact that he swims like a fish because I took him to the ocean. I’m so proud of all those things. But he is my biggest pride.”
I cannot think of a better way to describe my children and the love I have for them.
Lennon said “If being an egomaniac means I believe in what I do and in my art or music, then in that respect you can call me that… I believe in what I do, and I’ll say it.”
Fu** the haters. This quote has served me well in my life, many times over.
Lennon said, “Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.”
Amen. I did a 4K motorcycle ride this summer, and the time spent is one of the most beautiful memories I’ll hold til I’m gone.
Lennon said, “We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.”
How much too late I understood this.
Lennon said, “Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.”
More powerful, more memorable, and more oft-repeated words shall never be spoken.
Tears are streaming from my eyes as I write, because although I never met the man, my life has been better for having listened to and hearing his music and words.
It led me to some magical places.
Thank you, John Lennon, for daring to dream and for sharing your schemes.