Rolling Stone magazine has long emphasized that you are a rock and roll legend. Though I have never been a rock and roll legend, I can “imagine” (as you yourself “imagined”) that it is difficult when one’s star fades after burning so brightly. Though I do not take a position in the “Who’s the best Beatle, Paul or John?” debate, I must admit that, “in my life” (as you yourself might say), I have found your songs moving and well-constructed. I have often marveled at the architecture of, for example, “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown).” Who is the mysterious woman who rejects her suitor and forces the spurned young man to “sleep in the bath?” And why is this tale of a failed tryst so short? After all, you are the effusive composer of “Revolution No. 9,” a tedious, eight minute-plus “music concrete” tape piece. The sublime “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” clocks in at barely two minutes! I might have tacked on another verse or a chorus to get the song up to three minutes—-even though, in retrospect, this composition’s brevity may be the key to its success. But, however successful “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” may be and despite the fact that Liverpool paid aeronautical tribute to you, neither your name nor the names of Paul, George, Ringo, George Martin, Billy Preston, Yoko, Julian, or Sean were mentioned during my stay in your birthplace beside the Mersey.
I hope that my letter does not belittle your legacy. While in Liverpool, I did wonder whether the show I played would have been possible without your influence. Consider this timeline:
1960 Beatles move to Hamburg and hone their “chops” in endless nightclub performances 1962 Beatlemania begins 1967 Beatles release Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band—-enter overproduced, “mature” phase 1975 Led Zeppelin release Physical Graffiti, the most overproduced, “mature” record in the history of rock 1976 The Ramones release The Ramones, a minimalist, punk response to rock “maturity” 2007 My minimalist punk band plays a art gallery in Liverpool to a small, but enthusiastic crowd.
I think this timeline proves that, though I may not discuss you, The Beatles, The Plastic Ono Band, Fluxus, or Mark David Chapman specifically while I am in Liverpool, the very fact that I played a show in Liverpool at all makes me part of the “Lennon/Beatles diaspora,” of which every musician working in any genre today is a member.
In closing, I wish to inform you that Liverpool has been named European Capital of Culture 2008. Though the European Union’s economic blessing will bring much-needed development to your hometown, Liverpool’s re-imagining is not directly related to skiffle, Pete Best, bed-ins, Shaved Fish, or Albert Goldman. Still, this should not trouble you much. No matter how much Liverpool will change, people will still wander around downtown wondering where the Cavern is.
Yours in struggle,
Justin Moyer President/CEO of the WeBlog “Iceland”