Monday, October 11, 2010

Music Video Monday: Sean Lennon

For today's music video selection, I had to go with the 1991 remake of John Lennon's classic pro-peace song, "Give Peace a Chance." This video debuted on MTV in January 1991, on the eve of the Gulf War to liberate Kuwait from the clutches of Saddam Hussein's invasion army (supposedly the fourth largest army in the world, after the U.S., USSR, and China). This was the first time I had seen John Lennon and Yoko Ono's son Sean, who looks the perfect blend of both his father and mother (you can see them both in his facial features).

The remake had a USA for Africa-like quality to it, with the many famous performing artists of the time contributing a verse. The lyrics got a very 90s update as well, from a twenty-year old classic. I actually like this version better than the original version. I guess the collaboration and many different styles blended into one song really enhanced this simple protest song. I'm certain that John looked down from the spiritual realm with pride at what his younger son was able to accomplish.

Though Sean has pursued a singing career, I have not heard anything else from him since this song. His older, half-brother Julian (son of John's first wife Cynthia Lennon) had more success in the mid-1980s with "Valotte" and "Too Late for Goodbyes." Julian even looks a lot like his father, and while clearly talented in his own right, its probably a difficult task to be a son to a huge musical icon such as John Lennon. How could a child expect to live up to that?!? Its unfair of humans to expect children to surpass the achievements of their parents. If you happen to have famous, successful parents, does it make you any less successful if you would rather pursue your own interests rather than follow in their footsteps? Though I haven't heard any songs by Julian since the mid-1980s, singing synthesized 80s pop is not a bad career. Its wrong to expect him to be as deeply profound or interested in the kind of things his father did. After all, the times were very different.

Based on the music of today, though, we sorely need a John Lennon for our times. For me, South African singer Johnny Clegg fills that niche, even though he is rather unknown to most Americans. The good news, though, is that his latest album will actually be released in the U.S., the first one since 1993's Heat, Dust and Dreams! His last three albums (1997's Crocodile Love, 2002's New World Survivor, and 2006's One Life) had to be acquired through being in Europe at the right time (in 1997) or through my Scatterlings fan club mailing list. I'm stoked that is listing Clegg's Human for sale in two weeks. They even offer clips of the songs, which I listened to. This album has the potential to make my year. The years that Clegg have released albums have been pretty good years for me. Plus, I'm in need of a great CD to celebrate my newfound freedom as a human being! Once I get the album and give it a few listens, there will be an album review on my blog. Stay tuned!

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