Its difficult to choose your favourite Lennon songs, but how else should one celebrate his birthday?
I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go
If John Lennon had been alive today he would’ve turned 74. Maybe he and McCartney would be friends again, having made up sometime in the last thirty years for a comeback tour all over the world. Maybe he would have written another song that would have eclipsed the legacy of the saccharine Imagine. Maybe he and Yoko would have retreated from public life and made crazy obtuse art that turned them into a bit of a joke (but a beloved joke, nonetheless). Maybe he would be giving serious Ted Talks about Transcendental Meditation or some such.
Do you think he would have appeared as a guest judge on American Idol?
What would he have made of reality television on the whole?
Would he have turned into a curmudgeon like Morrissey or an avuncular presence loved by all musicians like Paul McCartney?
Would he have collaborated with Lady Gaga, and what would he make of One Direction (or for that matter Oasis)?
These are some of the questions we will never have answers to. We will however always have his music. And here are some of our favourites for a special birthday playlist, even though it must be said our favourite Beatle always remain George Harrison
Watching the Wheels
The ultimate slacker song for Sunday mornings, and even Monday afternoons.
Across the Universe
Our native Indian suspicion of eastern mysticism makes us mistrust the “Jai Guru Deva”, but the rest of the song is so , so achingly beautiful. And it is Lennon’s voice more than his lyrics that keep us returning to this melody.
She’s the kind of girl you love so much it makes you sorry
still you dont regret a single day
The Beatles invented the kind of mod 60 girls with a beehive hairdo and mysteries behind our eyeliner that we’ve all secretly tried to impersonate at one time. The best part of the song- the slow intake of Lennon’s breath every time he mentions the “girl”
You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away
Apparently written by Lennon during his ‘Dylan phase’ (doesn’t everyone have one?), this lovely simple melody continues to be played in college dorms by the lovelorn and the loveless
Happiness Is A Warm Gun
In all the hagiography, it is easy sometimes to forget how cheeky and playful Lennon was. The (semi) nonsensical lyrics of this song, the boys getting together to murmur “bang bang shoot shoot”, all stand in stark contrast to just how tense things were in the studio during the recording of The White Album. It doesn’t matter whether the “warm gun” being referenced is a heroin syringe or his desire for Yoko Ono, or a red herring;the song remains equal parts catchy and subversive like the best of Lennon’s oeuvre.