Imagine was the first song I ever played for Jack. I have a video of it around here somewhere. I just plopped him on the rug on his back (he still couldn’t roll over yet) and put the song on and then just filmed him listening to the entire thing. I wish I could say he showed interest. But at 2 months or so, he did what he always did: look around, move his arms and legs, and, well, just sit there. But it was a moment I still cherish because it was the first song I played for him in full. We always had music on but it was background to what was happening. This was the first time I’d just turned on the stereo and had him listen to something with no other distractions.
I was at a rehearsal for A Christmas Carol (I was Bob Cratchitt) at The Loft in Bronxville and everyone was depressed and upset. I found out that someone named John Lennon had been killed but I was 12 and didn’t know who he was until someone told me he was that guy from the Beatles. Over the next few days I read every article I could find in the newspaper and Time and Newsweek magazines and grew incredibly sad. Sad for his death and sad that I wasn’t aware of him independent of the Beatles until it was too late. Not long after, I had to make a diorama for a school art project and I made a montage of mourners in Central Park clipped from those magazines.
I went on a John Lennon and Beatles binge and listened to everything and learned what I could about the man. The song Imagine became something personal for me. Not a theme song per se, but just something that was, at its simplest, an expression of my feelings towards the world.
It’s 30 years later and his death still stings when I think about it. I have always been sad on this date and probably always will be. John would have been 70 today. I can only imagine the music he would have made in the last three decades.