On John Lennon’s Death

Irina Pino

John Lennon remembered in Havana.

HAVANA TIMES — Dying at the age of forty, when the sap of experience leads to a new blossoming in our lives, is too unfair.

The death of John Lennon at age 40 isn’t a trivial or even logical incident. It was a devastating event that has always stayed with me. I recall hearing the news over the radio, late into the night, I believe.

I had been listening to a music show and they announced it over a break. I could hardly believe it – I was a daydreaming 15-year-old girl, after all. I only faced up to the fact when, the following day, I saw my sister and boyfriend crying. They were also fans of The Beatles.

My friend Salvador would throw parties at his house, where we would listen to the band’s marvelous vinyl records. He and some friends would even improvise a band with a guitar, bass and drums and perform the songs of the English musicians with near-ecstatic fervor. They would translate and study their lyrics with the help of English dictionaries and books. Those jam sessions were very funny, for they sounded nothing like the Boys from Liverpool.

Today, after seeing Chapter 27 and The United States vs. John Lennon for the second time, I thought of him especially. I also saw the film about Mark Chapman, Lennon’s killer, and the documentary dealing with his political activism in favor of peace.

The first lays bare the mind of the perpetrator of the crime and his morbid obsession with destroying the musician, revealing the impact J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye had on him and how Holden Caufield, the main character, became a point of reference for him.

I confess I felt both fear and pain on seeing that dissonant portrait, how coldly he was able to carry out his plan. The documentary includes valuable interviews with people who knew Lennon and the circumstances that had an impact on his life, such as the harassment he was subjected to during the 60s, a priceless document for those of us who love his music and his original personality.

My personal experience with his songs is rather peculiar. In addition to admiring his love songs, I also had a marked interest in his gradual transition towards surrealism, sarcastic humor and his more committed and revolutionary works.

Immediately after his death, I started writing a diary. I wanted to express my feelings about the tragedy, and I even titled the diary “Strawberry Fields Forever”, as a kind of tribute to Lennon.

The diary was a kind of multifaceted exploration of my impressions regarding certain things that made me dwell on “details.” I would delve into and explore the universes surrounding, try to understand the reasons that make us oscillate between good and evil, the opposite ends of a taut string.

I still write in this diary, which is already several volumes long.

Though Lennon remained true to his ideas and managed to rid himself of violence, this same violence ended up destroying him unexpectedly. He called for love, peace and understanding, luminous thoughts that could accompany us if we give the peace inside us a chance and manage to project it onto others.

15 thoughts on “On John Lennon’s Death

  • As I said peace… And no I did not get the lyrics wrong… And I Actually play this song… In a band… The song has nothing to do with Lenin, though about what John Lennon was trying to say about peace… And you fool on the hill…

  • I quoted the lyrics directly and accurately. I think John Lennon got them exactly right, and perhaps you got them wrong. What the lyrics actually state is that Lennon is all for working to make the world a better place, but that violent revolution is a path to destruction, which he opposes. He’s for political and social evolution, not revolution.

    Lennon is not Lenin.

  • My father was working the flight when the Beatles first came to Canada… He came home and told us of these long hair bums he had seen that day. And all the screaming girls. And me and my mom went crazy!!! Like DAD WHY DID YOU NOT GET AUTOGRAPHS!!!!

  • Man you got that song all wrong… He was singing about peace as the revolution…

  • In case anybody forgot: the Beatles’ music, along with all other rock & roll, was banned in Cuba during the 1960s and ’70s. Che particularly hated the Beatles. I’m not sure when the Cuban authorities decided to install that statue in Havana, but wasn’t during the man’s lifetime.

  • John Lennon was no revolutionary:


    You say you want a revolution
    Well you know
    We all want to change the world
    You tell me that it’s evolution
    Well you know
    We all want to change the world
    But when you talk about destruction
    Don’t you know you can count me out

    Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright
    Alright, alright

    You say you got a real solution
    Well you know
    We don’t love to see the plan
    You ask me for a contribution
    Well you know
    We’re doing what we can
    But if you want money for people with minds that hate
    All I can tell you is brother you have to wait

    Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright
    Alright, alright, al…

    You say you’ll change the constitution
    Well you know
    We all want to change your head
    You tell me it’s the institution
    Well you know
    You better free your mind instead
    But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
    You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow

    Don’t you know know it’s gonna be alright
    Alright, alright

    Alright, alright
    Alright, alright
    Alright, alright
    Alright, alright

  • I just did a search on this place and there were many you-tube videos of The Yellow Submarine… Looks like fun and I would love to go there next time I am in Cuba… Hopefully this August…

  • In my life , his music is part of the sound-track , I still can recall the “Ed Sullivan ”

    show and my first pair of beatle boots.Thanks for the reminder .

  • You know what they say about A-S-S-U-M-E. Actually, I lived down the street from the Dakota building just a few years after LENNON was murdered and by that proximity came to learn of and listen to his music. You also don’t want to assume anything about my education. What a cad!

  • I would assume that as a supporter of imperialism and most of the things John Lennon supported, that you would not care for his music, lyrics or lifestyle either.
    Also, I strongly suspect that given your limited historical education that you are still confusing Lennon with Lenin .

  • Where is it in Habana?

  • Thanks for
    your nice comment. I adore John and the Beatles, They are in my heart always
    .Have you heard about the Yellow Submarine?, It is a beautiful place in Habana where play many Cuban rock bands. Believe me its great!! You have to go

  • What an odd comment. I grew up less a Beatles fan and more of a fan of James Brown, the Supremes, and the Temptations. Lennon was not a big deal in my neighborhood.

  • I woke up that morning and read the news and I called in sick for my work, And me and my friend played all Beatles tunes all day long at real loud volume and got very very… well very… A sad day… JL was the best… And I would have loved to see your Cuban friends play that…Nice story Irina.

  • I think it was President Richard Nixon who was trying to ban Lennon from the United States and went through all sorts of legal tricks to do so .
    This was because Lennon opposed the Vietnam War which Nixon loved.
    At the time, very politically astute people like Moses and I.C. (our two communism and socialism experts) , wanted to keep Lennon out of the States because of what he did to the Soviet people all those years ago.

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