Listserve has published such a great article it deserves to be shared on the hallowed pages of SMB. There is no need to elaborate, the author has done a wonderful job here.
A few choice quotes:
As his critics sometimes point out, all you have to do is go straight to his songs. The man who sang “imagine no possessions” lived a millionaire’s life in a posh New York hotel. The man who sang “imagine no religion” was obsessed with every spiritual and New Age fad that came his way, including Hindu meditation, the I-Ching, and astrology of all kinds. The man who sang “all you need is love” was a bitter, violent, and angry man who abused his family and friends. The man who praised having “nothing to kill or die for” helped finance and publicize radical groups who extolled the use of violence.
Lennon was remarkably under-talented. First, he was at best an average guitar player, mostly confined to basic rhythm parts, and his piano playing wasn’t much better. As for his songwriting, yes he did write a handful of truly inspired songs, but as time passes and the nostalgic hype surrounding the Beatles begins to fade, a lot of his works comes off as silly and dated.
Even in the early days when the Beatles were a struggling bar band, he used to extol them by saying they would go “to the topper most of the popper most.” He happily went along with the Beatles’ haircuts, suits, and calculated image; as well as the band’s innumerable media appearances; only denouncing it all as shallow and empty later in life, when he was cultivating an avant-garde reputation.
Kudos Edward Benjamin!