Happy Birthday, John LennonToday would have been John Lennon's 73rd birthday and whether you grew up hearing John's music as he made it or are too young to remember the '60s and '70s (many who were there can't either), his birthday is always a comfort during this time of year, like a tap on the shoulder reminding us that John's wish for peace is alive and well, as if he too is somewhere still watching the wheels, "baking bread, feeding the cats, and sometimes ordering pizza" - as he described his life in an interview with the BBC in December, 1980.  John Lennon's birthday is also cause for celebration since his life and work is a powerful reminder that more than anyone before or since, John Lennon showed that rock and roll was the people's art.

Today, rock and roll transcends politics, language or anything else that gets in the way, and that's largely due to John Lennon. This fall, The Beatles' company Apple Records will release a second volume of BBC recordings hammering home once again (in case you didn't already know) that the Beatles were great stylists--clever, passionate, driven, and inspired. There were no rock and roll bands to speak of in the U.S. until The Beatles arrived and they most certainly would not have made it all the way without John as their inspiration.  "John had a lot of power. Sometimes they pick somebody to march behind on the way to war and John was certainly out front," George Harrison recalled in the documentary Living In the Material World and indeed, if one is going to make it to the top in pop music, that's just the kind of fellow you'd want out front.

Without John, would there be guitar stores in every city, all over the world? Today, you can hang an Epiphone Casino in the window of any music store and even people who don't play an instrument will recognize the Casino as the guitar John Lennon played when he sang "Revolution." So today, listen to the music, watch the many great clips of John and his wit in action, and listen to the fantastic body of work that still enriches our imagination. And while you're at it, say 'happy birthda'y to his son Sean who turns 38 today.