A day in the life of John Lennon
March 25, 2004
Tim Piper started getting the “did anyone ever tell you that you look like John Lennon?” comments at an early age, and they made him think.
“As a kid, I thought wouldn’t it be great to be John Lennon,” Piper said, “but the more I learn about him and read about him, I know I couldn’t be John in my wildest dreams.”
First, there were the addictions. Lennon was always chain smoking, drinking or popping something. It was a way of running from his misery and trying to deal with life, Piper said.
“(Secondly), Lennon was a very acerbic person. He could slice people down. He did not suffer fools, but underneath he was very sensitive. I think it was a big faÃ§ade to hide his insecurity.”
Few people have thought as much about Lennon or analyzed him as deeply as Piper.
Both because of his uncanny resemblance to Lennon and his love of The Beatles’ music, Piper dedicated his life to playing Lennon on stage. He started by playing in Beatles tribute bands and then moved into his own solo dramatic performances. Piper has played the part of Lennon in movies and on stage since 1988.
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Recently, Piper took his performance a step further by writing the play, “A Day in his Life,” which he will perform tonight.
“I’m a bit of a historian on Lennon,” Piper said. “I have all the books and videos, and I decided to get more into his life with this play.”
“A Day in his Life” premiered in November 2003. In it, Lennon is the guest on a fictitious, Midwestern talk show. When his band and his wife get stuck at the airport, Lennon has to keep the show together by reminiscing about his life and playing music with the studio band.
The host, played by Dan Jordan, is “kind of a geek,” Piper said. “The last thing he wants is to be outdone by this has-been hippy freak, but he ends up losing control of his own show.”
On stage, the year is 1972. The Beatles formally broke up in 1970. Lennon and Yoko Ono released the “Plastic Ono Band” album in 1970 after his primal scream therapy, and “Imagine” came out a year later in 1971.
“(In the play,) Lennon looks back at The Beatle years,” Piper said. “The year he’s trying to get away from, but people are so fanatical to hear about.”
And he talks about the rest of his life. The Lennon that Piper knows went through life without a mother and a father.
“He had a chip on his shoulder,” Piper said. “He should have ended up in jail, but somehow through the meeting of (Paul) McCartney and The Beatles, he had success thrown upon him.”
And then he met Yoko.
“Cynthia (Lennon’s first wife) said, ‘When I saw them together, I knew I was finished,'” Piper said. “Yoko taught him how to drop the macho faÃ§ade. Lennon said, ‘If Yoko and I are clowns in this world, so be it.'”
“A Day in his Life” covers the Lennon-influenced Beatles’ songs such as “I Want You (She’s so Heavy),” “I am the Walrus” and “Help!”
Despite Piper’s knowledge of the darker side of Lennon’s life, his tribute stays on the lighter side.
“If people don’t know John, this will be a chance to pick up some facts about his life, have some good laughs and hear some great music,” Piper said.