A year's end love-filled epiphany marking the 36th anniversary
of John Lennon's death"
John Lennon (October 9, 1940 -- December 8, 1980)
"There was love in him. He had love for everything. It was almost hurting him that he had so much love. He loved all the places that he went to. He would want to buy a house in every place that we'd been. He loved all the cities. He loved all the countries. He loved rooms. He loved clothes. People. Everything. He loved!" -- Yoko Ono Lennon
If there is one overriding theme that runs through the whole of John Lennon's career as a songwriter, it's love. As a member of the Beatles writing with Paul McCartney, and later as a solo artist, there's no question that throughout the entire body of Lennon's work the idea of love appears again and again as the prime mover of nearly every song.
But among all of these many beautiful love-driven songs there is one that stands out clearly from the rest, titled simply, "Love." In it Lennon speaks of love in an entirely new way that makes it a radical departure from all that came before and after. Unlike all the rest, in this love song it is love itself that is both lover and beloved, and here, marking the 36th anniversary of John Lennon's death, we dive deep into this profoundly moving and hauntingly beautiful song" a timeless, ageless song that is as fresh today as it was when it was written 46 years ago. Though written very early on in Lennon's solo career (1970), one might say that "Love" is Lennon's swan song... a most fitting tribute to the man, his life, and his work.
Love is real... Real is love,
Love is feeling... Feeling love,
Love is wanting to be loved.
Love is touch... Touch is love,
Love is reaching... Reaching love,
Love is asking to be loved.
Love is you... You and me,Love is free... Free is love,
Love is knowing we can be.
Love is living... Living love,
Love is needing to be loved.
The song opens with the words "Love is real... Real is love." To say that something is real is to say that it's genuine, that it's not contrived, that it's not a human construct or artifact, that it's not a derivative reality. Sure, even things that are obvious contrivances, constructions, and derivations of various kinds are in a certain sense real. Clouds are real. Trees are real. The chair you are sitting in is real. But not in the same sense that Lennon would have us understand love to be real. As Lennon's song would have it, love is inherently real, existing in and of itself in its own right.
Love is so many things in so many different contexts, and each of its many faces can be expressed in a myriad of ways. However, underlying this vast wealth of diversity is one singular reality out of which every expression of love emerges. It's love, pure and simple. Not love as "this" or love as "that," not love as it appears in the context of some particular time, place, and circumstance, but simply love as it is in and of itself. It is to this reality, to this common ground of love, that Lennon herein sings his praises.