Elvis would have been 76, and John Lennon would have been 71. All these years later, we still listen, we still care.
While both were hugely successful commercially, I don’t know that either of them was especially happy. We went to Graceland for Elvis Week last year, and while we marveled at his awards and his costumes and his palace, I walked away with only a feeling of loneliness, of isolation, of a sad man-child lost in or hiding behind a caricature of the what people thought of him.
|Obviously not John Lennon, but Kevin Mantegna playing |
the Beatle with Liverpool Legends in Branson, Missouri.
Lennon, on the other hand, spent much of his last ten years trashing the work he had done with that little band of his. The party line is that he was a happy house husband for the five years following his second son’s birth, but many accounts describe his day-to-day existence as grim and lonely, tortured by dark fame, drugs and loss of self-esteem.
It is hard to believe that either man enjoyed his celebrity, and the money didn’t seem to buy anything but more distance from who they really were.
Both Elvis and John Lennon appear on the annual lists of top-earning dead celebrities, but I suspect they both would resent it.
I wonder if they would have pursued their paths had they known where they would end. I wonder if they would have preferred a life of contentment in anonymity, like most of us. Like me.
What do you think? What would you do?