Can you imagine?

Mike Crissman

Lennon was the founding member of the Beatles — a band that many (including myself) regard as the greatest musical group of all time. His murder in 1980 tragically brought an end to a truly exceptional musical career. His legacy, however, is alive and well to this day.

It’s hard to envision a deceased influential musician like Elvis or Jimi Hendrix living in today’s world. When it comes to John Lennon, it’s much harder. He’s more of a myth than he is a man. The music he wrote transcended race, class, religion, age and gender. There isn’t one person alive right now who doesn’t enjoy at least one Beatles song. If they say otherwise, they’re lying. While young whippersnappers like me might have Jay-Z or OutKast in their iTunes library, there’s still a healthy dose of John, Paul, George and Ringo. If that isn’t a testament to how magical the Beatles’ music is, then I don’t know what is.

Much of the Beatles’ success can be attributed to John Lennon. While he may be a close second to Paul McCartney when it comes to ranking members of the Fab Four, there’s no doubt that without John, the Beatles wouldn’t have attained the fame and critical acclaim that they did. John and Paul may have been enemies by the time the Beatles broke up, however, especially during their early years, they formed the best songwriting duo in music history. Paul brought his pop sensibilities to the table, while John brought the weird. They played off each other’s strengths to make such masterpieces as “A Day in the Life,” “Help!,” “Hey Jude” and “Eleanor Rigby.”

Sadly, the dream couldn’t last forever. Lennon met the now infamous Yoko Ono, and the two became joined at the hip. There were many factors that played into the Beatles’ breakup. Yoko was certainly the biggest.

The solo career that ensued allowed Lennon to fully focus his music on the issue he cared most about: peace. “Give Peace a Chance” became an anti-war anthem. Lennon was the voice of a generation that passionately opposed the Vietnam War. He had a much bigger impact on society than any of the other Beatles after the breakup.

His murder on the streets outside his New York City apartment by a crazed fan was a sad ending to a great life. Fortunately, Lennon lives on through the songs he sang and the words he spoke.

But what if John Lennon didn’t die and he was still alive? What would he make of today’s world?

First off, I think he’d still be as prolific a musician as he once was during his time with the Beatles. He’d have an extensive catalog of solo music that would rival the still busy McCartney. He would have rekindled his relationship with McCartney to record some excellent songs. He’d definitely be more relevant than the other Beatles, doing what he does best: commenting on the hot-button issues of the day. He wouldn’t have been a big George W. Bush fan, probably the opposite for Obama. He’d have 10 million followers on Twitter. He’d still be with Yoko. He’d still be living in NYC; he would have played a big concert honoring 9/11 victims. He would have gotten Lasik eye surgery, but he’d still rock his iconic circle frames. He’d despise MTV’s “Jersey Shore.” He’d boo LeBron James when the Heat played the Knicks. And he’d have a really kickass 70th birthday.

Imagine that.

Mike Crissman is a sophomore newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].