Imagine: John Lennon’s 75th Birthday Concert occurs Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015 at Madison Square Garden and will air on Dec. 19 on AMC.
“When I’m Sixty-Four” … plus 11.
Artist, icon and cultural giant John Lennon would have been 75 in 2015. At the age of 27, along with his songwriting partner, the still-touring & recording Paul McCartney, the Beatles released their ubiquitous classic musing on aging. To celebrate his life, art and the impact Lennon had on countless popular artists, Imagine: John Lennon’s 75th Birthday Concert takes place tonight in New York City.
What could have been
What might Lennon have been thinking at age 27 about ever becoming 64?
Would he now be astonished by a laconic Bob Dylan or an untamable Mick Jagger –74 and 75 years old respectively, and still grossing multi-millions from world concert tours? Would he deign to join his old mate McCartney at one of his concerts or recording sessions? It “almost” happened on a few occasions before his death on December 8, 1980.
At Madison Square Garden this evening, Lennon will be acknowledged, honored and generally celebrated by a star-studded ensemble of musicians representing both a broad array of musical genres, cultures, and certainly a broad spectrum of distinct generations.
One might imagine exactly how John would have wanted it.
For the ages
One thing for sure, John Lennon is/was beyond incredibly talented, beyond incredibly prolific, beyond incredibly visionary, beyond incredibly famous— and on top of it all, beyond incredibly transcendent — his most notable attribute. The one attribute that secures his iconic status long after the tribute concert breaks down tonight.
Lennon anchored his artistry in timeless, limitless ideals that transcend gender, race, culture, politics and most definitely age: love, peace, imagination, revolution, taxes. loneliness, absurdity, vulnerability, light, darkness, interconnectedness — all are themes examined over and over again in his recordings.
And it was his unwavering commitment to stand up for these transcendent ideals — however radical doing so may have appeared — that made his indelible mark on most of us and for another, made him a marked man.
For those of us old enough to have witnessed his struggle, we are privileged. For those of us not yet exposed to his genius before he passed, well, we all benefit from his influence through the expressive hearts and talents of subsequent artists that follow in the path he was a part of forging. All of them so very mindful of their capacity to affect social change and their commitment to try: U2, Phish, Rage Against the Machine, John Legend, Lady Gaga, Macklemore and many more.
At WiseTribe, we are very grateful for all of these artist-influencers of the past and present, and depend on more of them in the future. Tonight we’ll raise a special glass to John Lennon, once a young lad from Liverpool who almost single-handedly shaped an impactful, social dialogue around the importance of transcendence in later years through his art, energy and sheer will. He walked his talk.
John’s actual 75th birthday was October 9th this year. On that day Yoko Ono — his widow — coordinated the world’s largest human peace sign in Central Park near their beloved Dakota residence and the ‘Imagine’ tribute marker created just after his death.
This ephemeral gesture honors him perfectly. No monument, no plaque, no museum, no run-on speeches — just people coming together, joining hands to create a conscious moment, a powerful symbol of transcendence.
Well we all shine on-
Like the moon
And the stars
And the sun
Yeah we all shine on
On and on and on and on and on….
Ann Odell is WiseTribe’s very own Creative Warrior and contributing writer, and has an extensive background in brand communications and strategic design for corporate and retail clients. Follow her on Twitter (@annologue) or connect with her on LinkedIn.