Wednesday, June 29, 2011

John Lennon - From Hippie Pinko To Closet Reagan Republican

This is an interesting footnote to the former Beetle's life (LA Times).
John Lennon, the long-haired British peacenik who was investigated by the FBI in 1972 after he allegedly contributed $75,000 to a group suspected of planning to disrupt the Republican National Convention later was a closet conservative.

Imagine that.

Fred Seaman, who was Lennon's personal assistant from 1979 until the singer's assassination in 1980, claims the former Beatle and anti-war activist favored Ronald Reagan over Jimmy Carter and would have voted for the Gipper if he could have.

"John, basically, made it very clear that if he were an American he would vote for Reagan because he was really sour on Jimmy Carter," Seaman told Seth Swirsky, who is making a film about the Fab Four.

Seaman said the guitarist "met Reagan back, I think, in the '70s at some sporting event."

"Reagan was the guy who had ordered the National Guard, I believe, to go after the young [peace] demonstrators in Berkeley, so I think that John maybe forgot about that," Seaman told Swirsky in excerpts published in the Toronto Sun. "He did express support for Reagan, which shocked me."

Reagan and Lennon did meet up for a professional football game in Los Angeles, ironically held almost six years to the day before Lennon was gunned down by a nut named Mark David Chapman (Historical Meet-Ups).

The outgoing former Mop Top met the outgoing California governor on December 9, 1974 during halftime of a Monday Night Football game between the Washington Redskins and the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Lennon was in town to promote his recently released album, Walls and Bridges, while Reagan was about to turn over the keys to the mansion to Governor-elect Jerry Brown after eight years in Sacramento. Play-by-play man Frank Gifford invited Reagan—an old friend from his movie days—to drop by the Monday Night Football booth, and was pleasantly surprised when Lennon accepted an invitation for the same night. Both men were slated for halftime interviews. “Gifford, you take the governor and I’ll take the Beatle,” acerbic commentator Howard Cosell informed Gifford shortly before the end of the second quarter. While the two guests waited to go on the air, Reagan put an arm around Lennon and attempted to explain the rules of American football. Lennon must have been a quick study, because in the ensuing on-air exchange with Cosell he showed a keen grasp of the differences between the U.S. game and English rugby.

Here's video of Lennon's interview that night (where he mentions "Gipper", along with Frank Gifford's reminiscence:

I have to say, even one of his songs off his last record "Double Fantasy" (always liked this song, listening to it on AM Top 40 radio in early 1981) called "Watching The Wheels" sounds like someone who looks people who expect him to continue being who he was in the late 60's and admits he "had to let it go."

If John Lennon was really sincere about his misgivings of his past, it's a shame he could not publicly make amends for misleading an entire generation with his hippie "Give Peace A Chance" and "Imagine (Communism)" crap.

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