If there had been no John Lennon, there would have been no Beatles. It's become obvious in the intervening years that he, along with George Harrison, was the foundational talent of the band.
Had there been no Lennon, there might be no Bono, convincing world leaders to forgive Third World debt. No Lennon, no Bob Geldof, organizing famine relief for Africa.
(I'm reminded of a series of quotes from these two on a PBS program called "Get Up Stand Up":
Bono on Geldof: "He has a righteous anger. He cannot stomach the repetition of history."
Geldof on Bono: "He loves the world. He wants to give it a big hug. I want to punch its lights out.")
Lennon was taken from us too soon. I am convinced that had he lived, and remained in the U.S., the past 25 years of American history would have unfolded very differently. Lord knows he would have plenty to say about the current mess, and we'd likely be better off for hearing it. But had he been here all along, we might not even be in it -- at least, not without his strident objections and galvanizing sense of justice.
As one woman put it on tonight's program (I paraphrase): "I think of John Lennon every time I go to do something that has to do with social justice. Not that he was a perfect man, I just... I think of him."
Troubled, caustic, untamed, highly intelligent, wickedly funny. It was very cool to be on Earth at the same time as John Lennon.
He did his part to make the world safe for musicians with a social conscience and dreamers everywhere, and helped define us with music. Quite a legacy, John.
We miss you.
Statue in John Lennon Park, Havana, Cuba
Time you enjoyed wasting wasn't wasted.
-- John Lennon
At some point, it wasn't enough just to sing about it.