"Life begins at 40."
That's a quote from John Lennon in Oct. of 1980, after he had just turned 40 years old. Of course, he had no way of knowing that in 2 short months, he would be dead despite it.
The real question in my mind is wondering what John Lennon would've amounted to in his life after 40 years old, so today I am going to chime in and give you my 2 cents.
I've loved The Beatles ever since I heard the Album "Something New". John Lennon was always my favourite because he was much more open, and outspoken than the rest of The Beatles. -He always seemed more charismatic and full of life. I read as much as I could about him growing up, and I began to realize what a conflicted man he really was...
I can only imagine what kind of hard life he had growing up in a slum of Liverpool, the dreary port city he grew up in at the start of the Second World War on the west coast of England. Not having had a father present in his life, and his mother shipping him off to live with his Aunt Mimi probably gave him feelings of abandonment for his whole life.
Fast forward to the height of your career when you have reached global stardom and you are only 26 years old. By the time the world's most successful band finally breaks up, you are 30 years old and just starting your second marriage with your "soul mate" and still, you are a very conflicted man. Add drug abuse, and years of pressure to the mix, and you can see that John Lennon lived a life of never wanting for anything. Money, Fame, Notoriety, he had it all, but he was still a very conflicted man.
Something that most people don't realize is that he had a young son Julian Lennon, who was born at the onset of Beatlemania. While most fathers go to work and come home to see their son, Lennon had to chose to be a father to his son, or be on the Ed Sullivan Show and work on his now infamous career. Touring the United States and the World meant being an absent father to Julian, and he wouldn't really start to begin having a relationship with him until Julian was in his teenage years.
Deportation issues threatened Lennon living in the States for much of the early 70's, and with trouble between him and Yoko, his life became a downward spiral of pissing bigwigs in Washington off with his Anti-War rants in the public eye. John Lennon was a very outspoken man, and I think it was fair to say that he didn't care about picking battles when he "went off"
It wasn't until Sean was born in 1975, on his own birthday, that John Lennon became to "find himself" He spent the next 5 years with Sean as a stay at home dad, and put his career on the back burner. He became very visible in NYC, and if you knew John Lennon's routine, you knew exactly where to find him at any point in the day. He made it perfectly clear that NYC was his home, and he felt really comfortable there.
So by the time 1980 comes around, his son Sean is 5, and Julian is starting to build a relationship with his very absent and famous father. Double Fantasy, his last album has been released, and it is some of his best work in many, many years. He seems to be finding peace with himself at age 40, and with those around him.
Enter Mark David Chapman, his assailant. A very pathetic and mentally unstable man who guns Lennon down outside the Dakota building on Dec. 8, 1980. Ending the life and legacy of John Lennon.
And what do I think would've happened had Lennon lived? I think he would've become the father he wanted to be to both his sons. I think his career would've flourished after the sales of Double Fantasy and given him the confidence to get back into the music industry. Technology in recording was just starting to evolve in the 80's and I think Lennon would've been very much involved with that in his rock and roll music.
I think you would've seen him at Live Aid, and also singing in "We are the World", being very involved in humanitarian causes. I think you would've seen him involved with the AIDS epidemic, and become very vocal about these causes.
And finally, I think you would've seen a very bitter John Lennon finally put his demons aside, and realized that a Beatles reunion is something that the entire world wanted to see. I think John Lennon in the 1980's would've given that gift to the world. And what a gift it would've been. It would've launched every reunion tour in the world for every band that ever broke up and got back together. Who knows, maybe the Beatles would've put out more music and reunited just like The Eagles did after so many years of break-up.
Sadly, this is something we will never know. It exists on a different time line continuum that was deviated from reality on Dec. 8, 1980, the day John Lennon was gunned down by Mark Chapman.
And the rest, as they say, is history...