You know you're famous when the papers keep wishing you happy birthday after you die.
The Weekend Australian of October 9 carried a panel on its front page below the masthead that read: John Lennon Turns 70. Turns? I thought he died in 1980. The article was OK and they said he was a genius and they ran lists of his five best songs but they run it every ten years, sometimes every five. They just change the age.
One day last January, while I was painting the house, I had ABC radio on to pass the time. They were talking about the 75th anniversary of Elvis Presley's birth. His music was all over the airwaves and a panel discussion decided he could not, after all, be bestowed with the mantle of 'genius' because he didn't write his own songs as did John Lennon, who seemed to be the benchmark or high water mark for pop genius in the eyes of those who know.
I don't know. Did Beniamino Gigli write any songs?
Look out, here's another birthday: Chuck Berry. He's still with us and performing.
Sure as she bore me, she bought me a silk suit, put luggage in my hands,
And I woke up high over Albuquerque
On a jet to the promised land.
Workin' on a T-bone steak a la carte,
Flying over to the Golden State;
When the pilot told us in thirteen minutes
We'd be headin' in the terminal gate.
Swing low sweet chariot, come down easy
Taxi to the terminal zone;
Cut your engines, cool your wings,
And let me make it to the telephone.
Los Angeles give me Norfolk Virginia,
Tidewater four ten on nine
Tell the folks back home this is the promised land callin'
And the poor boy's on the line.
Some of those lines are impossible, but he did it. Is that genius?