the still-surprising John Lennon

The anniversary of John Lennon’s assassination forty years ago has brought forth a rich crop of rediscovered valedictions from 1980, one notably by Robert Christgau, the dean of rock critics, written on rush deadline for the Village Voice. Read this (as I have for the first time this week) and you understand exactly why theyContinue reading “the still-surprising John Lennon”

How Yoko turned on John’s imagination

A charming piece via the BBC, drawn from a new book, reveals how Yoko’s idealism turned on John’s imagination and — pretty directly it seems — inspired the creation of his most iconic song: Imagine. Specifically, Yoko’s book Grapefruit. Lennon said: “There’s a lot of pieces in it saying like ‘imagine this’ or ‘imagine that’,”Continue reading “How Yoko turned on John’s imagination”

Bob Dylan: He’s back and he’s electric — again

Once upon a time in rock and roll, a great rock star, set off by something called Johnny Rotten. wondered out loud in song if rock and roll demanded a fiery, perhaps suicidal finale. Neil Young set off a storm with the idea, on Rust Never Sleeps, one of his greatest albums, and among hisContinue reading “Bob Dylan: He’s back and he’s electric — again”

The art of John Lennon

For this day, a marvelous Tom Ashbrook interview with the warm and thoughtful Tom Riley, who has written this year's definite biography of John. Riley notes:  Beyond his music, Lennon’s talent as a cartoonist, illustrator, lithographer, and collage artist influenced every aspect of his work. His songs carve out richly textured spaces of sound, whichContinue reading “The art of John Lennon”

David Brower sees a UFO

Gotta love an autobiography in which a man will confess to everything he's ever seen, even if it makes him sound a little crazy. Here's David Brower, in his delightful autobiography For Earth's Sake (l990): When I was eight, walking home one day [in Berkeley], I happened to look up at the sky and sawContinue reading “David Brower sees a UFO”

The tea maker, thirty years later…and Yoko

About ten years ago, astonishingly, I got a call from Yoko Ono. I happened to have written a magazine story about the time she spent with John Lennon in the little town of Ojai, in the mid-70's, after he and Yoko were driven out of Greenwich Village by FBI and NYPD surveillance and harassment. They bought a stationContinue reading “The tea maker, thirty years later…and Yoko”

Does daydreaming make you smarter?

This is the provocative suggestion from a couple of studies cited by Jonah Lehrer, author of Proust was a Neuroscientist, and a man who has written at least one good article in praise of daydreaming. On The Frontal Cortex, he writes:  …in the latest edition of Mind Matters, Susan Whitfield-Gabrieli and John Gabrieli of MITContinue reading “Does daydreaming make you smarter?”

John Lennon on your Dreams

A couple of months ago the interesting LA Times book blog Jacket Copy for some inexplicable (but wonderful) reason put up the late great rock critic Lester Bangs' thoughts on the death of John Lennon. Bangs was, of all critics, the truest of believers in rock and roll and, for that reason, the man mostContinue reading “John Lennon on your Dreams”

A Few Good Posts

The Sad Guardian of the Carrizo Plain (8/20/05) Sorry, Mr. Sullivan. Sorry, Mr. Kennedy (8/30/05) Land of a Billion Bonus Points (10/4/05) If John Lennon Were Still Here…  (12/9/05) Bush A "Dissenter" on Global Warming (2/19/06) The Future Taps Us on the Shoulder (3/16/06) "My Life is My Message" (4/29/06) Global Warming: #2 on theContinue reading “A Few Good Posts”