Thinking about John Lennon who died 40 years ago today.

One of the greatest and certainly one of the most succesful songwriters of my time. A huge influence when I was starting out and a more or less constant presence since, when it comes to quality control.This is a programme for an exhibition of Beatles photos that I attended. I couldn’t afford any of the prints on sale but I got chatting to the photographer, Dezo Hoffmann, who graciously signed this. I remember the day Lennon was shot so well; the brutality, the tragedy and the sheer wastefulness of that act. I remember exactly where I was and who broke the news and I can still imagine that sense of innocence destroyed. Last November I was in New York, and from my hotel I could see, across Central Park to the distinctive towers of The Dakota. One morning I decided to go and look. I approached from the area of the park opposite the building called Strawberry Fields, with the word ‘Imagine’ laid into the walkway. I was surprised to see a sign there saying ‘No Musicians Allowed’. I got a coffee and sat on a bench and watched the gateway for a while. I tried to imagine John leaving and arriving, up in his rooms making bread, playing with his child, working on the songs for his new album, happy at where he found himself in his life; just turned 40, so many more creative times ahead. And I saw a man being comforted by a woman as he broke down in tears, and others stopping to take selfies and do that weird victory salute thing to their friends’ cameras. I walked back through Strawberry Fields and I saw a Mexican selling badges and stickers. He had that look of someone who’d seen it all, done it all, been everywhere and survived with a quiet joy in his heart and a wry smile on his lips. I bought a couple of his badges and I asked him if he was a fan of John’s music. “Lennon had the soul” he said. “But you won’t find it here”. I think I know what he meant.

Reg Meuross Singer Songwriter Storyteller