Some kids had favourite hockey teams. I had The Beatles.
I guess you could say I was born a fan, which is ironic, because they were in the middle of breaking up when I was born. And when I was 10, I heard the news (oh, boy!) that one of my heroes had been killed.
Now here I am — the same age John was when his life ended 30 years ago today. And coincidentally, I'm on a work trip that took me to the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, site of one of Lennon's most famous moments as a PR Man for Peace: the recording of "Give Peace a Chance".
The recording session was the crescendo of the second of John and Yoko's two week-long bed-ins for peace. At the time, people thought Lennon was off his nut — not only could fans not see why he was so obsessed with an older Japanese artist, but many were alienated by his increasing radicalism.
Today, we're used to rock stars totally cashing in their celebrity for a cause. In the late 60s, John and Yoko turning their honeymoon into an extended anti-war PSA was new, weird, and scary territory.
The media circus is gone now, and only the chambermaids were in attendance when I snuck up there on the elevator. They didn't seem to mind that I stopped by for a pic (as scruffy as I was, waking up after a 12-hour TV shoot). But it felt right, somehow, to be here in a place where something that inspired me actually happened so long ago.
I'm not the only one who felt this way. In Liverpool and New York, site's of his birth and death, fans are attending vigils to remember the difficult man who wrote so many of the songs we love.
One of the biggest fellow fans I've met is Michael Zavacky, an artist who works at another Ottawa ad agency, McMillan. When I put out a request to Facebook friends asking for content to add to this post, he was the only one who responded. But what he sent will impress you.
Mike has been here, to the QE, to John's former NYC residence, and to his memorial in Strawberry Fields with his art.
Check it out:
Mike wrote to me, "I was living in Montreal at the time of John and Yoko's famous bed in for peace at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel and remember the excitement and buzz around the city during the time they were there. I made a pilgrimage back to the famous scene a few years back and brought some John and Yoko artwork I had made and left it outside of the door of the room they stayed in. I remember the profound shock and sadness I felt on that awful day 30 years ago when I heard on the radio that he had been murdered . I sat in my room for 2 days in a state of depression. Recently, I have made a few trips to New York to leave a little bit behind to show my appreciation for the man and his music."
We make PSAs. John was one.