It’s Johnny’s Birthday

My earliest memory involves the Beatles.

I remember a babysitter (it may have been my cousin) singing I Want To Hold Your Hand to me when I was no more than three.

Since that early age, the Beatles were responsible for many significant milestones that occurred throughout my life. The first album I ever owned was Revolver  when I was nine. I vividly remember Lennon’s assassination just four months after I moved to California, as well as the pilgrimages I made to Manhattan to see Lennon’s memorial, “Strawberry Fields,” on my 30th and 40th birthdays.

John Lennon's "Strawberry Fields" memorial, in Manhattan's Central Park.

We have been reminded everywhere (and rightly so) that tomorrow should have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday. What may be lost in the sad remembrances over the weekend are the other Lennon anniversaries that will also be occurring.

At the time of his 30th birthday in 1970, John was finishing up his first solo album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, when his old Beatles bandmates, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, showed up to present him with a gift in the form of a song they had recorded. The song was called It’s Johnny’s Birthday, which later appeared on George’s All Things Must Pass album.

On this date in 1975, on what was John’s 35th birthday, John and Yoko’s son Sean was born. Ten years to the day later, Strawberry Fields was dedicated, which is located in Central Park, just across the street from the Dakota, where he lived and died.

In 1990, I got up early on his 50th birthday to be one of the estimated 50 million people around the world to hear Imagine broadcast simultaneously from 1,000 radio stations. (Speaking of Imagine, Lennon’s most famous solo recording turns 39 over the weekend.)

When John Lennon was born on October 9, 1940, few took notice. But tomorrow, thanks to the lasting legacy of his music, charisma, and personal philosophy, millions (perhaps billions) will be celebrating the day.


About deadwrite

Freelance writer, film historian, taphophile View all posts by deadwrite

One response to “It’s Johnny’s Birthday

  • Kim Stephens

    Beautiful picture of Lennon! The George Harrison version of “It’s Johnny’s Birthday” actually sounds kind of dark, like he might have written it after John’s passing. I wonder if he knew something the rest of the world didn’t…

    Wonderful piece Eddy. I always enjoy reading your articles. They are the perfect combination of a fascinating history lesson and the sense I’ve briefly traveled back in time.

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