Music Features

Remembering John Lennon 40 Years After His Death

The world lost a legend on December 8, 1980

John Lennon released the song Imagine in May of 1971.

I was born less than six months later in that same year, the third child of a couple hippies who had no business having kids. But they had truth - and so did John.

He had love and truth and he was the BEATLES, same as Mick Jagger is The Rolling Stones, and Shane MacGowan is The Pogues. And Chuck Berry is... Chuck fg Berry.

And then consider these inventors of all that we listen to, those who create the sountrack for our lives: Buddy Bolden, Robert Johnson, Professor Longhair, David Bowie, Fats Domino, Kendrick Lamar, and Van Morrison.

In an alternate universe they would be seen as Joyce, Shakespeare, Fitzgerald and Hemingway. Frederick Douglas, James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Walter Mosley, Seamus Heaney - the beacons of truth through the dark and dimly-lit tunnel of sociological change and evolution.

IMAGINE. (Ultimate Mix, 2020) - John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band (with the Flux Fiddlers) HD www.youtube.com

Read More: 11 Musicians Who Predicted the Future

Instead, Lennon was feared by parents for being a "rock-n-roll" musician, for playing "black" music. Imagine that. Wow.

"People have always been trying to stamp out rock 'n' roll since it started, I always thought that it's because it came from black music and the words had a lot of double entendre in the early days. It was all this 'our nice white kids are gonna go crazy moving their bodies', y'now the music got to your body and The Beatles just carried it a bit further, made it a bit more white, even more than Elvis did because we were English." - John Lennon.

We miss you, John, and thank you for inspiring people to learn to love truth and for honoring the invention of our African American brothers and sisters. You stayed true. You will be missed.

WORKING CLASS HERO. (Ultimate Mix, 2020) - John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (official music video HD) www.youtube.com

Read More: Paul McCartney Buries Lennon Rivalry and Settles the Beatles vs. Stones Debate

Below I lay some flowers at your grave - the track my brother Joey wrote - inspired in large part by your style and sound, your truth.

Joey was part of a Dublin band that charted in the UK, trying to model your mojo. He wrote this song when he got back to the States, but continues to busk in front of the Dakota with his band mate, Nigel Williams, on the date of your birth - whenever possible.

You are missed and remembered, John. Slainte.

by Kevin Fortuna

MUSIC

Paul McCartney Buries Lennon Rivalry and Settles the Beatles vs. Stones Debate

McCartney discussed a variety of topics with Howard Stern, from Chinese wet markets to Peter Jackson's new documentary

Earlier this week Paul McCartney called into The Howard Stern Show to settle some old beefs and discuss Peter Jackson's upcoming documentary, The Beatles: Get Back.

Keep Reading Show less
TV News

Kristen Wiig, Will Ferrell, and Jimmy Fallon Just Made Something Even Dumber Than the "Imagine" Video

It's called The Longest Days of Our Lives, and it's amazing

Youtube

When Gal Gadot posted a collaborative version of John Lennon's "Imagine" last month, it seemed like the dumbest thing that any of the celebrities involved had ever done.

But now, Kristen Wiig, Will Ferrell, and Jimmy Fallon—who all contributed to Gadot's video—have teamed up to make something even dumber, and it is glorious.

The Longest Days of Our Lives is a social distancing soap opera that took over The Tonight Show on Wednesday, with all the mainstays of daytime television drama reimagined for a group video chat. With Fallon playing the protagonist, Winston—who suffers from on-again off-again amnesia as a result of "a mysterious canoeing accident"—Ferrell and Wiig each took on multiple characters who revealed various shocking secrets to a recurrent chorus of gasping.

The Longest Days of Our Lives with Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig www.youtube.com

Ferrell's range is particularly impressive, ducking out of frame to don or doff a fake mustache, a cowboy hat, and a scarf to represent each of Winston's identical triplet brothers in turn—with varyingly offensive accents. As Ferrell's cowboy character succinctly puts it: "I'm Fontaine, your other other brother. We have the same mother. We're evil twins of each other, and I'm your lover's lover."

Wiig, meanwhile, initially portrays Winston's lover Vanessa, who had a socially distant affair with Fontaine "through, like, Skype or something"—the revelation of which insights a vigorous video chat slapfight. But Vanessa is then transformed, through a wig and a wardrobe change, to become Melinda Charmin, who is simultaneously "the heiress to the Charmin toilet paper fortune," "Vanessa's estranged mother," and "the daughter of all of you."

Needless to say, the whole spectacle is so stupid that all three of the participants can barely keep straight faces, and neither can we. It's a refreshing bit of absurd comic relief that successfully takes the edge off the general sense of a global crisis, and much more the kind of stupidity that people need right now—as opposed to a (literally and figuratively) tone-deaf version of a classic song.

Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig are officially absolved—the other "Imagine" celebrities still have some work to do.

MUSIC

11 Musicians Who Predicted the Future

These songs predicted the future.

The future, they say, is dark—not dark as in bad, just dark as in uncertain. But sometimes, people find ways to see in the darkness. Music seems to be one of those ways, and popular music in particular tends to be a harbinger of times to come.

Music's foremost clairvoyants include Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, and Kanye West, all of whom predicted the apocalyptic ennui and digitized realities that would define the future (or, our present). But other artists have had uncanny bursts of foresight inside their songs, envisioning distant political events and even predicting their own deaths. Here are some of music's strangest accurate predictions.

Keep Reading Show less
@thederricklipschitz.jpg

Remember Slenderman, that nightmarish creature who originated on Creepypasta and then appeared between the trees every time you walked by the woods (and inspired a real murder)?

Now he's reappeared—in song. Nashville-based artist Notelle has released "Come For Me," a dark, witchy pop tune inspired by Slenderman and his lingering presence.

"I have always found the concept of 'shadows' fascinating, as they're quite literally a dark sided piece of you that is intangible, yet always present," Notelle said. "It reminded me a lot of the remnants of an old love. They're there still, but not really…it's a frightening concept. It's widely accepted, at this point, that all living things are made up of energy - and I've been reading more and more recently about how even after a living thing has left a space, it is possible that their residual energy can linger. You can feel it, even when you'd give anything to erase it. That's what this song is about…that shadow that haunts you, that memory that overstays its welcome, that person whose presence it's still there long after they're gone."

In terms of all living things being made up of energy, Notelle might be referring to the idea that everything in life is a vibration, a concept originally posited by Albert Einstein. That idea is also an important tenet of quantum physics, which proposes that everything is vibrating at a certain frequency, though we're all still part of the same ocean of sound. By this logic, when someone disappears, the vibrations they cast into our universe can continue to echo on and on.

A song about Slenderman probably isn't picking up the best vibrations, but "Come For Me" manages to sound beautiful anyway, despite the dark energy that seems to have inspired it. It draws inspiration from Billie Eilish's subterranean basslines and threadbare vocals, mixed with the industrial grittiness of Nine Inch Nails. Though sonically it grows frenzied, Notelle's voice stays hypnotic and soft, whispering like howling wind on a Halloween night. Altogether, it sounds like it could soundtrack a murder scene that takes place underneath a club or the climax of a Slenderman-themed movie when the star realizes that Slenderman was only in her head, but there's blood on her hands.

As an independent artist, Notelle's work as a featured vocalist on other artists' tracks has earned a combined 11 million streams on Spotify, but now she's launched a solo career of her own, leaving the hyperactive electricity of her EDM collaborations for frayed, haunted pop.

MUSIC

Casii Stephan Keeps Hope Alive on “Trapeze Artist”

"No one person can change the world," she says.

Casii Stephan

Logan Miller

Soul pop-rock singer-songwriter Casii Stephan felt "like a trapeze artist, swinging back and forth," while writing her new song.

With her lush voice, Stephan brings "Trapeze Artist" to life, allowing the song to grow from a gentle ballad to an anthem about finding one's place in the world. She was scrolling through her social feed, reading about everything from romance to racism, when she realized, "It's a growth process to know how to process all of this information and what to do with it and know what I can reasonably do in the community I'm in. No one person can change the world."


Follow Casii Stephan Instagram | Twitter | Facebook