It is more than 30 years since John Lennon was murdered yet his name continues to make the headlines. During August a Canadian dentist claimed he is to clone the former Beatle using one of Lennon's teeth. And echoing John Lennon's quote that the Beatles were as big as Jesus, it is reported boy band One Direction claim they will be as big as the Beatles. In the Midlands one of Lennon's Nehru jackets was sold for £7,000 and a rare photo of John Lennon, taken by Andy Warhol, has gone on sale.
So why is Lennon still making the news? As someone who had the privilege to interview John Lennon I believe the answer is simple; it is because there will never be another Beatles and there will never be another John Lennon.
The hype surrounding the release of One Direction's film This Is Us: One Direction included claims singer Harry Styles stated the band could become as big as the Beatles.
Apart from Harry lacking the acerbic wit and musical innovation possessed by Lennon he has also misunderstood the difference between the music industry in the 1960s and today. To reach the charts in the '60s bands needed to sell hundreds of thousands of singles; today just a few thousand will secure a place in the top 40.
When the Beatles jetted between Britain and the States they were greeted at airports by approximately five to 10 thousand fans, a feat that was not stage-managed by their manager Brian Epstein. Compare that to Simon Cowell's slick PR prowess which is allegedly applied to manufacture pop acts. One Direction have a great following, but I believe they're not fit to tie the Beatles' shoelaces.
Starting off their career the Beatles learnt their craft by appearing on stage in cramped bars in Germany playing their set three to four times a day. In 2013 youngsters get lucky by winning TV talent shows without having to work their way up, resulting in a lack of ambition and very short music careers. Singers such as Leona Lewis have their 15 minutes of fame and often find their time is over. Elton John, Rod Stewart and Mark Knopfler have demonstrated this point. The three stars may not create music to everyone's taste but all of them have long-term music careers.
Regarding John Lennon's enduring newsworthiness I believe it can be attributed to people finding him fascinating. He once told an interviewer that the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus now". The statement caused uproar. Compare that to One Direction's unimaginative alleged comparison with the Beatles and decide who would have made the most captivating interviewee.
In 1980 I interviewed John Lennon and Yoko One two days before John was murdered outside his home by Mark Chapman. At the end of the interview I asked Lennon whether he felt safe in New York. He gave the reply "I can go right out this door now and go in a restaurant...people come and ask for autographs or say, Hi, but they don't bug you..." Today his closing words remain fascinating and - unfortunately - profoundly poignant.
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