Since John Lennon’s tragic murder, both musicly and personally, he has been sainted, if not deified, by his fans and the media. The Lennon-McCartney songwriting team is the most successful duo in music history. Since John’s death, though, he has been the Mozart to Paul’s Salieri (Yoko Ono even said as much.)
Aside from the music, John has been seen as a visionary, a man of peace, a “working class hero.” Paul’s the writer of sappy love songs and of little or no mental substance or social consciousness. His years of reclusivity in the Dakota, after the birth of Sean, are affectionately known as his “house husband” years. He baked bread and raised his child. People with romantic notions about John point to these years as evidence of what a great human being he was.
It, then, surprised me to see this 1999 interview with his (famous) son, Julian. I assumed that his oldest son had mended fences with him and they were on good terms when he died. Apparently, he was not such a great father to Julian even after fatherhood and marriage to Yoko had seemingly softened him.
My point isn’t to bash John Lennon. If he were here, I think he would admit to being a flawed character. I just wish others would acknowledge that he was human and far from perfect. He didn’t walk on water. He was not a saint. He was not the author of world peace. Hell, he wasn’t even really a man of peace. The man who penned “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)” for Sean didn’t even give his ex-wife enough money to do more than clothe and feed him. Understanding him as a brilliant musical mind and a fascinating and important person seems more appropriate to me.