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The All Pervasive Toxic Atmosphere of Religious Intolerance and Bigotry Experienced by John Lennon

THE ALL PERVASIVE TOXIC ATMOSPHERE OF RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE AND BIGOTRY EXPERIENCED BY JOHN LENNON AS HE GREW UP IN LIVERPOOL WAS PROBABLY THE CORNER-STONE OF IMAGINE

John Lennon, the founder of the Beatles, is probably its most charismatic and iconic member, due in no small part to his political activity and assassination. This year we celebrate the 70th anniversary of his birth and remember the 30th of his death.

Imagine, which has become an international anthem of the secular generation, is probably his most popular and lasting composition. It touched millions while he was alive, and billions after his death. George Martin, the Beatles’ producer considered it to be Lennon’s best post-Beatles work.

The song has been performed by a wide rang of musicians and has even been adapted for the bells of Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral, so by happy chance, John’s music peals out over the neighbouring Liverpool Art College, where he was a student Given the content of the lyrics the sublime irony would have been greatly savoured by John.

Liverpool was a cess-pit of religious intolerance and bigotry in the 1950s and 60s when John was growing up. Although he left the city he never forgot it. In a very recent interview, Yoko Ono observed that John talked about Liverpool every day. He would appear to have carried the place with him to the fore of his mind. Possibly because in the oft-quoted words of Alun Owen, the author of A hard Day’s Night: ‘Liverpool scars its children for life’.

The torrent of published material on John Lennon and the Beatles seems to flow with little sign of abating, authors using finer and finer nets as they trawl for the smallest snippets of novel information: the law of diminishing returns writ large. Thus, we know the names of John’s aunty Mimi’s three cats, the number-plate of the car which killed John’s mother, and the name of the barber who cut his hair in a Penny Lane shop: trivia aplenty.

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TAGGED: COMMENTARY, RELIGION


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