In the field of music, musicians frequently seek comfort in solitude and withdraw from the public spotlight for lengthy periods of time. As diverse as the musicians themselves are the motivations behind these choices.
Consider Vito Bratta, the former White Lion guitarist, who spent fifteen years living in solitude owing to health problems that affected him and his family. Similar to how the mysterious John Lennon, one of history’s most important musicians, disappeared for five years. His disappearance was a mystery, as was what caused it.
John Lennon became famous thanks to the Beatles, who became a worldwide sensation. Their ground-breaking music, avant-garde lyricism, and endearing personality won them adoring followers all over the world. They were the picture of fame and success, breaking through musical barriers to become a major cultural force.
However, the band’s quick ascent to stardom wasn’t without its own share of difficulties. The members’ personal life suffered as a result of being subject to continual media and fan scrutiny. They hardly had time to breathe, much less take pleasure in the results of their labor, due to their rigorous schedules and never-ending demands.
In the end, the pressure was too great, and The Beatles split up in 1970. Each band member afterward pursued a solo career, but in 1975, John Lennon’s life took an enigmatic turn. He vanished from the public eye for five long years, leaving fans and other musicians perplexed by his abrupt departure.
There have been several explanations for his solitude, including one from Paul McCartney, a former bandmate. The singer conjectured that his ex-bandmates absence was a planned action, a means of escaping the demands of stardom and finding himself again. Lennon would respond to this hypothesis, though, years later, in an interview with Newsweek from 1980.
He was told McCartney’s theory during the conversation, and his response was disdainful. He acknowledged that they weren’t very close. He said that they didn’t know anything about one another and hadn’t even spoken properly in a decade, so the former Beatles member was just as in the dark as everyone else.
He responded to the theory as follows:
“What the hell does that mean? Paul didn’t know what I was doing – he was as curious as everyone else. It’s [been] ten years since I really communicated with him. I know as much about him as he does about me, which is zilch. About two years ago, he turned up at the door. I said, ‘Look, do you mind ringin’ first? I’ve just had a hard day with the baby. I’m worn out, and you’re walkin’ in with a damn guitar!”
In the same interview, Lennon also disclosed the real rationale behind his choice to withdraw from public view. It was a decision to be totally there for his kid, Sean, rather than an effort to avoid celebrity. He said he wished to be more present with his kids and regretted missing his eldest son Julian’s upbringing.
He said the following to make his point:
“If you know your history, it took us a long time to have a live baby. And I wanted to give five solid years to Sean. I hadn’t seen Julian, my first son [by ex-wife Cynthia], grow up at all. And now there’s a 17-year-old man on the phone talkin’ about motorbikes.
I’m an avid reader, mainly history, archeology, and anthropology. In other cultures, children don’t leave the mother’s back until 2. I think most schools are prisons. A child’s [brain] is wide open, and to narrow it down and make him compete in the classroom is a joke.
I sent Sean to kindergarten. When I realized I was sending him there to get rid of him, I let him come home… If I don’t give him attention at 5, then I’m going to have to give him double doses of it in his teenage years. It’s owed.”
In the end, John Lennon’s decision to remain out of the public glare for five years was intensely personal and human. He made the decision to put his family first and devote more time to his kid than he had to his firstborn. The musician’s decision was an attempt to strike a balance and find some independence in a world where fame frequently overshadows the need of fostering personal relationships.