Beatlemania lives on?

“LennonNYC” is a first-class PBS broadcast that reminds me of many things.

It reminds me of when I was a goofy teenager growing up in suburban Portland, Ore., who was one of the many millions of people my age who had gone ga-ga over four young British musicians. One of them was a guy named John Lennon, who is the subject of the PBS show that re-aired Tuesday night on KACV-TV.

“LennonNYC” also reminds me of this musician’s social conscience, which he held up for all the world to see mostly after he and his bandmates broke up in 1970. John Lennon was unquestionably the most political of the Beatles. He argued against the Vietnam War. In fact, he became such an ardent opponent of that — or any — war that the Nixon administration sought to deport Lennon simply for speaking his mind. President Nixon didn’t think a non-U.S. citizen had the right to speak publicly against government policy. Lennon fought to stay in this country, where he lived after the Beatles broke apart. He eventually won that fight, earning his permanent visitor card.

The program “LennonNYC” also brings back the pain of losing John Lennon on that December night in 1980. He was gunned down at the age of 40 in front of his New York apartment. He’d be 72 now and I keep wondering how he might have aged. Would he have remained the creative genius he was? How would an old John Lennon look? It intrigues me to think of how he might have guided the musical careers of his sons, Julian (his older son from his first marriage) and Sean (the son he had with Yoko Ono).

I have some Beatles t-shirts that I like wearing when I’m slumming around town. People occasionally will comment on them. “Hey, nice shirt, man,” they might say. My answer usually is the same: “Thanks. These guys helped raise me.”

My mom and dad would agree.

“LennonNYC” — even as it recounts the tragic end to a music icon’s life — brings back many happy memories of that long-ago time.


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