Lennon lives on
Dec 8 2005
Tony Barrow recalls the day a legend died and the legacy John left behind . . .
by Peter Grant, Liverpool Echo
http://icliverpool.icnetwork.co.uk/0800 ... _page.html
TONY Barrow wrote a review column for the Liverpool ECHO in the 1960s and later became the Beatles' press officer..
Trusted by Brian Epstein and all four of the Beatles he had access to their inner world.
The Crosby-born journalist was also the man who coined the phrase "Fab Four".
He now tells the ECHO exclusively how he felt the day John Lennon was murdered. There are many more revelations in his best-selling book John, Paul, George, Ringo and Me.
Tony, now based in Morecambe, recalls his range of emotions when he heard of John's tragic death in New York - a city Lennon loved as much as Liverpool.
The Beatles had split up ten years earlier but their legacy lived on. Like millions of stunned fans, Tony found it hard to take in.
He says: "I remember experiencing two separate waves of emotion when I heard that John had been murdered.
"The FIRST was a professional reaction - instant and instinctive.. "I felt resentment and anger that somebody had taken the life of such a uniquely talented artist."
Tony says it was even more hurtful because he believed there was every possibility that John had died before he could produce his best work.
"There was a wealth of tunes and lyrics left in him that the world would never get to hear because this crazy guy had gunned him down so pointlessly."
Tony recalls that away from his professional reaction there was a deeply personal second wave of grief.
"Quite a bit later a quite separate feeling came over me and this time it was grief on a more personal level. "I realised that a good old buddy, pal and mate had died.
"A friendship I had valued was dead and gone."
Tony hadn't seen John for some years, but of the four Beatles in the sixties he rated John his truest and most reliable friend.
He says: "That is once I had crashed through all the barriers of bravado he used to put up to protect himself. "He was the last of the Fab Four that I got through to, but once I was there I realised there was a lot more to Lennon than his blustering and cursing and cruel jokes."
Tony agrees that many Fab Four fans still can't believe that John is no longer around.
"When the Lord Mayor's office sent me an invitation for today to the City of Liverpool's service at the Parish Church to commemorate the 25th anniversary of John's passing, I realised that Lennon lives on in the hearts of a million Merseysiders who may never mourn his death but will always celebrate his life.
"It brought back something John said to me back in the sixties. He told me then: 'We don't die completely until the last person on earth who remembers us has also died.'
"If original, that was a pretty profound comment and if it wasn't it still demonstrated that there were philosophical and sentimental streaks in Lennon's wise and complex personality."