Saint or so-last-century? Imagine Lennon at 80 ... it’s really hard to do
His murder made him a modern-day saint. Had he survived, what might he have been today?
You know the Beatles story: 1960s Liverpool, the Cavern, Beatlemania, “more popular than Jesus”, Sgt Pepper, India, squabbles, Yoko, rooftop gig and, in 1970, a bad-tempered split ... But it was the murder of John Lennon in December 1980 that not only put a sad full stop on the greatest band of all time, but also gave their arc special resonance, turning it into a 20th-century fable.
In the public imagination at least, Lennon is one half of an epochal creative marriage, the man who wrote Imagine. After he was shot four times in the back outside his New York home, he instantly became a modern-day saint. Had he survived, however, how might we have perceived Lennon, who would have turned 80 on October 9? Here, we imagine.
On the day he was killed, Lennon was photographed by Annie Leibovitz, curled naked next to a clothed Yoko Ono. Following the success of Double Fantasy, his comeback album with Ono after five years spent as a “house husband” raising their son, what would he have done next?..