17 December 2012
Obviously, physically, I know the answer.
I just wonder which version of John at the end people think is closest to the truth.
There is the Goldman/Seaman/etc version of John as a barely functioning human being, with lots of blame for that put on Yoko’s shoulders, or there are the demos and studio tapes, along with the interviews, that seem to me to show an excited and invigorated man glad to be no longer just Watching The Wheels .
Believe one version, he was a cripple put out of his misery, the other version is of a man putting his toe back in the water, but in complete control.
Myself, having heard so much from his last years, I don’t buy the story of “Howard Hughes” John, barely able to leave his bedroom. I think he had days, weeks, of depression, but don’t believe in the emotional cripple so often painted. I just don’t hear that in everything we have of his last years.
What do you think?
"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty
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The Beatles Bible 2020 non-Canon Poll Part One: 1958-1963 and Part Two: 1964-August 1966
4 February 2014
I think he was just starting to get everything together again. He was recording new material, still very in love with Yoko, etc. While there may have been issues, including depression, I also don’t buy the “barely functioning human being” story. Just because he wasn’t doing much that people could see for about five years prior doesn’t indicate that at all, when you’re that famous sometimes you need a break from everyone constantly bothering you, constantly being in the public eye.
1 November 2013
I think he was on the mend when he died
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1 May 2011
Somewhere in between.
I dont believe their relationship was as idyllic a picture as John and Yoko painted it, i’m of the opinion that they would have split very amicably in the early-to-mid 80’s and Double Fantasy was a record which got them back in the public eye before doing so – tho Milk And Honey (not the ’84 LP version) and another album (there was talk in interviews of a triple set of albums all being related) may have kept them together for a little bit longer before they parted. They did love each other however so they may well have gotten back together years down the road, they came across as one of those couples.
As for John himself i think he had come to terms with his past and was in a healthy place mentally, physically and emotionally. He was happy being active again, a father (taking the five years out being so important) and recording, no longer having the belief he was just a musician who had to make a record to function and exist. In the interviews John did give in 1980 you can tell he is happy and looking forward to the years ahead – which makes it so much harder knowing what happened in December 1980. Yes he had gone thru some deep lows in those 5 years but it was a healthy healing process (even if it wasn’t planned or wanted) where he went inside himself to exorcise a lot of demons.
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"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris)
23 April 2013
All John had ever wanted to do was play in a rock & roll band. That’s all he knew, that was all that he was. Maybe he’d begun to lose his inspiration or maybe he was just traumatized by all the things that happened to him as a Beatle, as a former Beatle, and as a member of Nixon’s Enemies List. But he was fortunate that Sean came along when he did and that Yoko gave him a safe place to keep still and just be John, because he needed the time to figure it all out–how to balance making music with having a real life.
Of everything that was tragic about John’s untimely death, to me the most heartbreaking was that he really seemed to have begun to figure it all out. He was in love with making music again and he was discovering how to do it on his own terms. He was nervous, but he was excited, optimistic, and re-energized. That’s my opinion of where he was in December 1980.
15 June 2014
I agree with @meanmistermustard and @Lennonista. To quote him from his last interview “Here I am now. How are you? How’s your relationship going? Did you get through it all? Wasn’t the seventies a drag, you know? Well, here we are, let’s make the eighties good, you know…” And if I remember correctly he also added “…as long as there is life, there is hope.” I think this sort of sums it up what has been discussed so far. IMO at that point in his life he had mustered enough confidence to ‘get out there again’. He may not have been absolutely sure of himself and of the response he would receive but by this time he had realized that music IS his life and was just about to discover for himself if he has still got it in him, the passion etc, by way of waiting and seeing how the outside world would respond him. In other words, he was looking for confirmation from the world what his inner voice told him, that he has come to terms with his past.