By Sal Maccarone
The word “art” is sometimes used as a general synonym for the much broader meaning of “fine art.” Fine art includes what is known as the “five greater arts,” including painting, sculpture, architecture, music, and poetry. Fine art is created primarily for aesthetic or conceptual reasons, and is judged solely for its meaningfulness or beauty. Sometimes meaningful art, and the genius behind it, can even lead to historic social changes.
Early in the 1950s, there was a revival in Britain of a musical genre called “Skiffle.” This musical form had actually originated in the United States and was popular during the 1920s and early 1930s. Originally enjoyed by jazz musicians, the craze later took hold in a different way. For one thing, it created a flurry of young musicians forming groups to perform their own versions of this musical style. Because this new form did not require expensive equipment, or a great deal of musical talent, bands were popping up everywhere in England.
In 1956, “The Ouarrymen,” a skiffle and rock ‘n’ roll group, was formed in Liverpool. The founding members extracted this name from a lyric in their school song at Quarry Bank High School. The Quarrymen played at parties, dances, and amateur skiffle contests. After a four-year evolution of players, and a few name changes such as “Johnny and The Moondogs” and “The Blackjacks,” the group eventually evolved into the beloved Beatles. Still rooted in skiffle, this group also incorporated many other genres which included ballads, psychedelic rock, and even classical interpretations. The Beatles are the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed rock band in world history.
John Winston Lennon (1940-1980) was a singer/songwriter/poet whose work would change the world. First as the founding member of the Beatles, and then as a solo artist devoted to peace. After the Beatles, John’s songs, such as “Give Peace a Chance,” were used as anthems during the anti-war movement. Among other credits, John was recently ranked as the fifth-greatest singer of all times. Together with Paul McCartney they formed one of the most successful songwriting partnerships of all times. Just think of the incredible social changes that occurred during those years!
In short, John Lennon developed a wit in his music, writing, drawings, and in film that captivated the world for a few short years. Sadly, on December 8, 1980, the incredible life of John Lennon was cut short; he would be turning seventy-nine this October 9th. Regarding his music, just hours before his death he was quoted as saying, “Right now I am very happy; as if I am starting over.” Imagine the art that he could have shared with us during these last thirty-nine years.