John Lennon of the Beatles was born this day, October 9th, 1940, in Liverpool, in the first year of the ‘Blitz,’ short for ‘Blitzkrieg’ (‘lightning war’), Germany’s attempt to bomb Britain into submission. London got the worst of it, but all the industrial cities of England took a fearsome pounding, and Liverpool was an important harbour.
Lennon’s middle name is ‘Winston,’ in honor of Winston Churchill, the wartime time Prime Minister, who had taken over the previous May.
Lennon had many faults, not least his sexism and occasional domestic violence toward his first wife Cynthia. After meeting his second wife Yoko Ono, he recognized his chauvinism and made a sincere effort to change.
He was assassinated at the entrance to his apartment on the upper West Side of New York City, at age 40. Had he lived he would be 80 today. His struggle to heal himself inspired many of that generation, and he is the most revered Beatle, living or dead. There’s a little shrine for him across the street in Central Park, called Strawberry Fields.
His death robbed us of his talents and idealism, which he would have used to try to help over the past 40 years. In the recent movie ‘Yesterday’ he appears as an 80-year-old who somehow survived and lives alone on an English seashore, brimming with wisdom and good cheer, as we would have hoped.