Lennon may not have been a ‘working class hero’ on paper. He was often too cross, too rude, too violent, too drunk and his own wife accused him of ‘getting phoney’ on their last LP. But that was why we loved him: it wasn’t as if Lennon kept that side of himself hidden. He lived out his ‘lost weekend’ in public (a time that was only boozy at night anyway – Lennon did a lot of good away from the cameras during the day). He had petty fights with other musicians including other Beatles. He wasn’t always kind and courteous and many people had run-ins with Lennon when he was in a devilish mood and came a cropper (including many of his musician peers). But Lennon never claimed to be any ‘better’ than any of us – he was indeed adamant that he was always one of us, stripping away the idea of cult or celebrity as early as  ‘God’ on his first solo album and teaching us, often and always, that he was ‘nothing special’ and that we could do what he did too. And yet he was special, for what other person that big and famous refused to believe their own publicity? And then used that publicity anyway to promote peace, love and any radical idea of the month. His most famous solo song  ‘Imagine’ really isn’t his best, but its popular because it sums Lennon up so well: he’s a dreamer who wants to be a better person and wants us all to be better people too. He thinks he’s found a way to make his idealist vision come true – but he falls short, never mind the people around him. Still, though, Lennon keeps dreaming. Despite his horrific background of loss, divorce and death (not just mother Julia but Uncle George and best pal Stuart Sutcliffe, a lot for any one human to contend with and all before he hit his twenties), despite the teachers who told him ‘no’, despite the background that could have made him like every other war-toting chauvinist, despite problems with drink and drugs that were there long before fame came a-calling, despite a marriage that most fans viewed with suspicion and a bunch of releases best described as ‘really really weird’, Lennon stayed true to himself and tried to better himself, while owning up to all the mistakes he made along the way. That surely makes him a working class hero in my eyes – and a braver and nobler figure than many people realise. Power to the Beatle indeed, who overcame more than anyone really gives him credit for, while staying as authentic as anyone with that much fame possibly could.
'Lennon/Plastic Ono Band' (1970) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/07/review-43-john-lennonplastic-ono-band.html
'Sometime In New York City' (1972) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/07/news-views-and-music-issue-35-john.html
'Mind Games'(1973) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/news-views-and-music-issue-77-john.html
'Walls and Bridges' (1974) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/07/review-63-john-lennon-walls-and-bridges.html
'Milk and Honey' (1982) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/news-views-and-music-issue-135-john.html