Happy Birthday, John Lennon.

In the wake of the passing of one visionary, we commemorate the passing of another: John Lennon, who would have turned 71 today.

I consider John Lennon to be one of Rock’s two most important figures, along with Frank Zappa. Not only was he a founding member of the most legendary group ever assembled, but his paradoxical manner of being outspoken yet aloof birthed an image which has since ingrained itself in the collective spirit of Rock and Roll.

John was an intensely personal songwriter. From the earliest Beatles material on, each of his songs gave us a peek into his private life. Again, ever the archetypal celebrity, he shunned attention while inviting scrutiny. His masterwork, Plastic Ono Band, opens with a track that places the listener into a quite uncomfortable position, that of overhearing a highly emotional confrontation:

The world is a less interesting place without this man. He was taken away from us when I was only eight years old; but the more I learn of his work, the more I miss him as if I knew him. This is the mark of a great artist.

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