A Working Class Hero

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A working class hero is something to be. When John Lennon sang these words on October 9, 1970, he was singing about our government, our religion, and our morals all together in an eight-word line. He was choosing to stand up against the world, to tell it like it is, and make a name for himself. John Lennon, the man, the musician, and the philosopher will always be a hero to me and many others, a hero that knew how the world worked, and knew its problems. He was a perfect example of how we all can stretch our minds and create our own views. To inspire creativity, define love, rebel against society, and change the world are all acts that any true hero should have.

John Lennon is most famous for, of course, being a founding member of The Beatles. Along with Paul, Ringo, and George, The Beatles defined pop and rock and roll music throughout the sixties, and are still defined today as the greatest band to exist across our universe. From classics like “All You Need Is Love,” to less known creations such as “Revolution 9,” The Beatles made music genius. However, after a rift between Paul and John, the band fell apart. But none of the “Fab Four” stopped there. They all went their separate ways, and this is truly where John became the defining poet he was. With timeless songs such as “Working Class Hero,” “Instant Karma,” and the legendary “Imagine,” Lennon’s music caused people young and old to begin to question their own society. All heroes have some sort of specialty; Achilles’ invincible body, Odysseus’ cunning, etcetera. John Lennon was a master of lyrics and music. He could embody his thoughts and feelings into his songs better than any other musician, bar none. This fantastic talent allowed him to get his ideas into the media, and distribute them through the masses.

Like all great heroes, Lennon had his true passion and love. Said to be the downfall of The Beatles, Yoko Ono was Lennon’s heart and soul. Anyone who knew the two would tell you that they were inseparable, and that was an understatement. John once said, “I just believe in me, Yoko and Me.” He truly felt that he and Yoko were the only people that truly understood him. I believe that Lennon’s devotion really shows how loyal he is to his true friends. Loyalty is another defining quality that Odysseus shows in The Odyssey, toward his real love. Yoko was Lennon’s true inspiration, the one that he did what he did for. Their relationship really embodies the meaning of love.

The biggest reason that I would call Lennon a hero is because he really possessed a free spirit. He had no connections to the conforming society, and this is one of the hardest things for anyone to do. He did not care if he was accepted, but preferred to show his, and only his beliefs through his art. In my mind, to claim not to believe in Elvis, Hitler, or Jesus in one sitting in front of half the world is quite a feat. One of his most famous quotes is, in my opinion, a perfect defining line for Lennon. It goes as follows, “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue with that; I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first - rock and roll or Christianity.” John faced so much ridicule and slander; it was enough to make anyone retreat. But he did not. Showing true loyalty and dedication to his beliefs, Lennon continued on. He was not influenced by the public, but was completely true to himself. I try to follow his example everyday in my own life.

Of course, every hero is known today because they have done something in the world to be remembered by. John Lennon and The Beatles’ music and life defined the sixties, and are still remembered today. He gave a message of peace, inspired love into his fellow man, and made the world an overall better place for everyone. To him, love and life were gifts, and he made the best of things, and tried to make things better for others. He changed the world, and changed it for the better.

Like Lennon, I try to keep an open mind. Therefore, to have a good overview of him, I have to give another’s opinion. My good friend, Sam Velazquez, provided me with his opinion of my hero. Sam is an extremely practical person, and one of the best people I know to “tell it like it is.” Also, he knows more than anyone I know about “decent” music (in our opinion, anything before those dreadful nineties). Sam is a man of philosophy, music, and politics, and a perfect candidate for interview.

On many subjects, we agreed. We both support the opinion that Lennon was a fantastic man, musician, and lyricist. Beyond that though, Sam gives an interesting take on things. We discussed Yoko, and he feels that no, she was not the entire reason the Beatles broke up, but played a key role, as well as being a complete something that I would assume is inappropriate for this paper. We both also found that Lennon’s early death (1980) does a lot to add to Lennon’s mystique. Although it is not necessarily a good thing, we believe that people appreciate him more because of it, and that a 60 year old version of him would cause people to forget his sixties golden days. An interesting topic we reached was how much political influence Lennon really had. In the presidential election of 1972, Lennon showed heavy support for liberal Senator George McGovern. However, Nixon won the election in a landslide. Compared with today’s media’s over-the-top power in politics, it raises the question of how seriously people took Lennon, or whether today’s public is just far more easily influenced. All-in-all, it was an enlightening discussion from someone who would come close being able to explain the workings of society.

So you may think he’s a dreamer, but he was not the only one. John Lennon led generations, and changed generations. His music and spirit will live on in the hearts of his fans and followers, as they pass his legacy on to their children and so forth. John represented the one thing that everyone wants: an individual free mind. He is a true modern day hero, something to be. Whether he’s the man, the musician, or the philosopher, Lennon was and still is an example for us all to follow. A mind like his comes around once every hundred years, and I believe we all should respect and follow some of his ways, to preserve the ideas of creativity, love, free-will, and expression. John Lennon only asked one thing from us: to imagine. I wonder if you can. Because I, as well as others, have discovered something. It really is easy if you try.





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