John Lennon Tribute on Midnight Dread December 14th-15th, 1980

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In last Sunday night’s 33 years ahead Midnight Dread radio show blog John Lennon was described as being part of the Sabotaged Generation, that large body of babes born during & following World War II, the prime time of the Greatest Generation. A huge amount of sabotaging a gwan. It (print version) nah (radio listen) stop. I grew up in a nuclear garrison town where the recently revealed “being held hostage to annihilation” terrorize-your-own-citizens-so-they-have-a-direct-stake-in-it nuclear war strategy is no joke business. It’s the front line personification & localization of the 1950’s bred Mutual Assured Destruction theory driven Military Industrial Complex at its most effective. But on a deep personal level John Winston Lennon had it much worse.

Lennon’s life got real heavy when Detroit revolutionary activist John Sinclair got imprisoned for 9-10 years over a few grams of herb. The Beatle, who wrote such highly influential global anthems as “Revolution”, “Come Together”, “Give Peace A Chance”, “Power To The People”, “Working Class Hero” and “Imagine” released an injustice song about Sinclair to radio and within a couple days, due to the resulting instantly raised awareness about Sinclair’s plight, political pressure forced his immediate release from prison. J. Edgar Hoover of the FBI was really pissed. How could a stupid rock song have so much power when that was their domain! Their long ongoing operations now routinely conducted against all US citizens who dared exercise their rights to free speech in those tumultuous years turned a continual focus on John and Yoko. They were followed and harassed everywhere. All words they spoke, written or sung absurdly analyzed. Coordinated and trumped up immigration problems plagued them for years. It contributed to their separation and the muzzling of Lennon’s political song writing forever. John eventually dropped out of the music business entirely for half a decade only to be slain as soon as he emerged from his ‘sabbatical’.

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Despite my relatively calm demeanor displayed in this aircheck I was really hurting inside. One of the best artists and culturally significant heroes of my generation was gone. Bob Marley would soon follow. Many knew that as 1980 came to a close and a new era began where leaders such as Reagan and Thatcher began to percolate their reactionary brews, the 21st Century world still suffering the effects of such wrongly licensed selfishness posing as responsible fiscal policy. In Midnight Dread #49 Joe Higgs sets the stage with his own timeless anthem “The World Is Upside Down”. In this context when Bob Marley sings “Work” from his new album his lyrical listing of the days of the week comes off more like a countdown to John and his mortality. The Beatles large influence on Jamaican music is revealed in island samples from the ska, rock steady and reggae eras as well as The Beatles own hit records including an unreleased back-Beatles driven instrumental. One of John’s solo reggae records gets aired. In his last televised interview (at about the 1:43 mark) Lennon voices his deep respect and love for reggae and its history. In fact it could be argued the influence and feeling was mutual as songs of revolution, truth, rights, justice, peace and love run rampant in both camps (foot long fortyfive featured in this broadcast):

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Bob Marley and John Lennon. Two artists who continue to prove the unstoppable power of song, the power of one person strong enough to risk everything for their art and the betterment of humanity. Two musical and socially progressive geniuses strangely taken from the world nearly concurrently just as the slug of greed digs in again. Music hits you and you feel no pain. It crosses borders like air. One thing I can tell you is you got to be free. And once again, if only I and I could turn back time…

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John and Sean Lennon photo by Yoko Ono from the vital 1990 LENNON 4 cd box set

Last time’s 33 years ahead program. Dreadcasting over the air since 1979 & online since 1996 dreader 21st Century Midnight Dread programs air daily at 12am including replays often heard in his Best of All Worlds high noon slot and where one can also become conscious at 6am with the indigenous sounds of Native Son Rising, all curated by Doug everyday, all times Pacific. Many more Midnight Dread sights & sounds here and on this blog’s Midnight Dread page. Go deh. All of dem.

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