What was John Lennon's favorite song
John Lennon on the 30th anniversary of his death : About fathers, sons, John Lennon and a song
He's a real Nowhere Man,
Sitting in his Nowhere Land,
Making all his Nowhere Plans for nobody.
"Nowhere Man" was the first song my son heard in his life. When I held him in my arms shortly after his birth and carried him through the delivery room while his mom was still receiving medical attention, I sang it to him and looked at him:
Doesn't have a point of view,
Knows not where he's going to,
Isn't he a bit like you and me?
The song just came by itself. I haven't thought about it, haven't thought about it. But it worked. About the situation, about the newborn, about him, about me. Suddenly he was there: "He's a real Nowhere Man". Everything had gone like a trance that day. The time at home, the trip to the hospital, and how they sent us away again:
"Go for another hour's walk first!"
How we went for a walk until it was no longer possible because of the heavy labor, and we preferred to sit on a park bench in the sun. How they then sent us home again. The afternoon, the evening, the late return trip to the hospital. Contraception writer. Birth. Everything like in a trance.
Knows not where he's going to.
Suddenly this child was there: Johann Georg Paul, no, not Ringo. You couldn't call a child Ringo either. Or is it? Why not Ringo? No: Johann Georg Paul Luca. Suddenly this child was there, two minutes past ten. Johann like John. John Lennon. And suddenly this song was in my head, I sang a song to this child, my child Johann: "Nowhere Man" by John Lennon.
Nowhere Man please listen,
You don't know what you're missing,
Nowhere Man the world is at your command!
No, the world is not at your feet, my little Johann. You still have to get to know her, it will be difficult enough. But here's a song for you!
Doesn't have a point of view
Knows not where he's going to
Isn't he a bit like you and me.
At the last line my voice fails, I have to swallow: "Isn't he a bit like you and me?" Did John Lennon sing this to his son Julian when he was a baby and John was still a Beatle? John Charles Julian Lennon, John Lennon's first son, was born in Liverpool on April 8, 1963. "He didn't have time to be a father," Cynthia Lennon, John's first wife and Julian's mother, told me during a summer conversation. "John was mostly on tour. When he was at home, he almost only slept, he was completely exhausted. Sometimes he got upset about Julian ... because he didn't eat properly with a knife and fork. Then I went to see John said: If you were there more often, you would know that three-year-olds still don't eat with a knife and fork! " John Lennon, the rebel, complained about his son's bad table manners! He said it was proper for a good father to be strict when he was at home.
When John Lennon wrote "Nowhere Man" in the fall of 1965, his son Julian was not yet three years old. Paul McCartney says that the Beatles were under heavy pressure back then to get enough songs together for their new album "Rubber Soul". When Lennon had almost given up hope, "Nowhere Man" occurred to him. The song fell to him. Was suddenly there. The song was about himself, he had said to Paul. "He's a real Nowhere Man". No, John never sang songs to sleep for his son Julian, says Cynthia Lennon. "He didn't do that until later with Sean, the son he had with Yoko."
Sean Tara Ono Lennon, Julian's half-brother, son of John and his second wife Yoko Ono, was born on October 9, 1975 in New York. For Sean - or so it is said - his father John completely withdrew from the public and the music business for five years from 1975 to 1980. During that time he only dealt with the child. Wrapped, fed, cooked, played, sung, baked bread - while Yoko Ono took care of the business. John Lennon, who - as Cynthia said - was a typical northern English macho at the time of their marriage, now wanted to make up for his second son as a "househusband" for what he had neglected with the first. In "Beautiful Boy" he sang about Sean in 1980 on "Double Fantasy", his and Yoko's first album after a five-year baby and family break. In "Beautiful Boy" there is the beautiful line of text: "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." ("Life is what happens to you while you are busy making completely different plans for yourself.") A bit of the "Nowhere Man" shimmers through the lines again.
Three weeks after "Double Fantasy" was released, John Lennon was dead. His son Sean was barely five years old. Julian, his older son, was seventeen. John Lennon was dead. I couldn't believe it when my English friend Robin woke me up with his phone call: "Lennon is dead!" At first I thought it was one of his macabre jokes, but no, it wasn't a joke: "Lennon is dead!" He had just heard it on the BBC: John Lennon was shot in New York. I didn't want to believe it. But then I heard it on the news, read it in the newspaper.
On the evening of December 8, 1980, while John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono were on their way home to their apartment in New York's Dakota Building, Mark David Chapman shot the ex-Beatle four times in front of the building's entrance. He collapsed and was taken to the emergency room at Roosevelt Hospital, where he was found dead shortly afterwards. On the night of the murder of John Lennon, several thousand Beatles and Lennon fans gathered in Central Park in front of the Dakota Building to mourn his death and sing his songs. "Give Peace A Chance" was the most common song sung together. I sang alone: "Nowhere Man".
Nowhere man don't worry,
Take your time don't hurry,
Leave it all till somebody else
Lends you a hand!
The first song my son heard in his life seems to be his favorite too. I sing "Nowhere Man" for him at least once a day. Then he smiles. And in a couple of years I'll tell him what the song is about. And with the Beatles. And John Lennon.
On Wednesday evening (December 8th) a John Lennon Memorial concert will take place in the Kreuzberg private club on Pücklerstraße (under the market hall). H.P. Daniels will take part as a guest, read and sing. Further information at:
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