Let’s take a minute to stop and celebrate the Best Rock Musician of All Time, John Lennon sometime this week. His birthday, Saturday October 9, is being commemorated with various commercial releases, radio programs, concerts, custom guitars, social media campaigns, songwriting contests, books… possibly the only forms of business that haven’t been touched by this juggernaut that was John Ono Winston Lennon might be cooking/cuisine… where’s Rachael Ray’s tribute? And that’s how it should be! Has there ever been anyone bigger/more meaningful in music? You’d be left with a scant few if you actually tried to come up with any. Bob Marley? Bob Dylan?
One of the best aspects of this year’s birthday activities is that Sean Lennon and Yoko Ono have turned their promotional activities into a tour for the reunited Plastic Ono Band, and are gleaning some spotlight themselves. Sean Lennon’s own group Ghost of a Sabertooth Tiger appeared at SXSW as part of the hitRecord.com presentation and have been taking good shots since (like WNYC). It’s as if last year was for Rock Band, the final/definitive cd reissues for EMI and to bring closure or separation between Beatles campaigns and Lennon-Ono promotion. I’m looking forward to hearing the Double Fantasy stripped down version (which I used to like until Richard Meltzer pointed out how horrible the band is on that album), the American Masters special “LENNONNYC” and other media to focus us on John and Yoko’s post-Beatles years. Certainly, Lennon himself didn’t view (or admit to) the Beatles as being his creative peak. There are some megas from his solo years, and many album cuts that are among the best rock songs ever written.
Here are my picks for media events celebrating John Lennon 70:
1. The lighting of the Icelandic tower that my pal Jody Denberg is attending as guest of Yoko Ono!! Yoko and her crew added a social media component, asking for one million tweets, so you don’t have to feel left out of the Iceland Peace Tower Lighting!
2. Your own private commemoration of what John Lennon, The Beatles or music in general means to you.
3. Braving the bedbugs to see “Nowhere Boy,” the prequel to Hard Day’s Night that is opening in various theaters.
4. Checking out EMI’s radio hosted by the aforementioned Jody Denberg. He says all the info (and a ton more) can be found here.
5. And finally, hit the Google Doodle including John Lennon’s self portrait (above) for a great glimpse at what Google Music might be – a multi-level search result for music. In one page, you’ll see legal streams of his songs, videos from YouTube, a few odd blog posts about the FBI, Apple Records and Yoko/Sean’s official pages, IMDB, news results, and even an analytic reference at the bottom to John Lennon Birthday being #25 highest search in Google as we speak.
You could never run out of things to look at this way! FASCINATING stuff and a great day/artist to turn the world on to some incredible content. John Lennon is the best rock star and apparently Google knows it too. How about a street view of the Dakota or Menlove Avenue? There are a few more layers yet to add and yet this is just the beginning!!!!
To see Google’s John Lennon doodle search results, click here.
To see the animated version of the Google Doodle and Ozzy Osbourne’s John Lennon tribute, and a list of Lennon birthday links.
There are some great cover versions flowing, for example, “How” by John “Ozzy” Osbourne.
Ozzy Osbourne’s version of “How” for Amnesty International
And it’s also Peter Tosh and Sean Lennon’s birthday too.
NPR’s birthday tribute lists a few others here.
Michael Epstein, producer of LennonNYC tv special, spoke to WNYC about the film.
WNYC’s coverage of “Nowhere Boy” includes various interviews discussing the new pre-fame story of John Lennon’s life that was just released.
The world will be celebrating his 700th birthday someday.