After 26 years, rebel with a cause (John Lennon) still fascinates us





PRESIDENT Nixon was terrified of him. Secret police followed his every move. And he could gather the world's press simply by deciding to stay in bed.

Yesterday, after a 25-year freedom of information battle, an American historian has secured the release of the final surveillance documents held by the FBI on John Lennon.

What we learn from them is what we knew all along - that Lennon was a concerned, left-leaning musician who had ties to leftist and anti-war groups in the early 1970s. He was not a revolutionary. And he was only a threat to the world order insofar as he dared to imagine a world at peace.

So this is a story about the power and efficacy of art. About how those in power will lock their vaults and black out their documents in the face of a lone, visionary voice. The FBI was so worried about keeping Lennon's secrets they overlooked the fact that he didn't have any.

It also testifies to the devotion of an audience - for a quarter of a century a historian refused to relent until all of the secrets were laid bare. Millions more were eager to find out what the files might contain. Lennon was an artist who posed naked for the world. There should be nothing to hide.


comments powered by Disqus
History News Network