I was having a conversation with an older friend of mine that I work with. She's in her 50's, so she was around during the whole Beatle thing and so on. Anyway, we were on the subject of Bono and his political work, and I brought up JOhn in comparison. Well, she sort of went off on how little JOhn did and how she remembers people thinking they were so self absorbed and kind of a joke. NOt that she was saying it in a mean way, but how she saw it. ...
My point is, are we as Beatles fans, making JOhn out to be more of an icon than he really is? I know he is iconic, but I get the feeling I think more people think of him the way we do than there actually is. I don't know. Anyway, if anyone has any thoughts countering hers, that I can use in our next 'discussion', I'd appreciate it! I can't stand the whole, I was there so I know and you don't think. I mean, who can argue with that?
Next thing, what are your opinions about his humor? I love it, but I've read things where people he knew thought he was mean and over did it. Mick Jagger for one said he could only take so much of it. I think he probably gave certain people more of a hard time than others. Anyway, I have a few more things I would like opinions of concerning John, (Yoko obsession) but I'll wait to see if anyone even answers these! Lately, I've been fascinated by what people think of the guy.
Getting back to the OP..
I'm around the same age as your friend. I would say that at the time, it seemed like John and Yoko's antics were a bit much. Today, they seem absurd but basically harmless.
I think there is a tendency to romanticize John because of the way he died. He was a great singer, songwriter and Beatle. His solo work doesn't do a whole lot for me, with the exception, of course, of Imagine and a couple of other songs.
I don't agree with his Yoko fixation...in fact, I can't stand the woman, and I think her influence on him is more negative than positive. I think overall, he was a very flawed human being. His mother dumping him to live with Twitchy had to have had a negative effect on him; then, her tragic death when he was getting closer to her, well, I think it had a huge impact on him, but it also provided him with an excuse for some truly rotten behavior toward others (Cynthia, Julian, Brian Epstein, for example).
It has been said that John's humor could range from whimsical to vicious. Little Richard has said that he couldn't stand John because he was so mean.
John gave us some great music. Can't take that away from him. As a person, I think he was difficult (I'm being nice here) and the Yoko stuff is just mind-boggling to me.