Memorials, merchandise for Lennon 70th anniversary

Wed Oct 6, 2010 4:30pm EDT
 
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - What would have been John Lennon's 70th birthday on Saturday will be marked around the world with memorials, music and plenty of merchandise.

Yoko Ono, Lennon's widow and the guardian of his commercial and musical legacy, will lead the tributes from Iceland, where she will light the Imagine Peace Tower in memory of Lennon and perform with their son Sean.

In the singer's birthplace Liverpool, Lennon's first wife Cynthia and their child Julian are expected to unveil a monument dedicated to the artist and funded by the Global Peace Initiative involving young artists.

"Nowhere Boy," a film about Lennon's early years before he found fame and fortune with the Beatles, hits U.S. theatres on Friday and on Saturday, the documentary "LennonNYC" will be screened in New York, where he was killed on December 8, 1980.

The 30th anniversary of his murder aged 40 is expected to launch a new wave of Lennon-mania in December.

"It's a strange phenomenon in a way, but probably the Beatles are more popular now than they ever were," said Jerry Goldman, managing director of the Beatles Story museum in Liverpool which will be custodian of the new $350,000 monument.

"Lennon is the most iconic of them. His activities for peace with Yoko, his 'bed-ins', perhaps don't count quite so much as the music," he added.

"'Imagine' is a world anthem, as is 'Give Peace a Chance'. Whenever people gather to protest ... you are probably going to hear them singing a Lennon song. More than anything else it's the music, and nobody has come close in recent years."   Continued...

 
<p>The "Imagine" circle in memory of John Lennon is seen in the Strawberry Fields section of New York's Central Park, October 6, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Segar</p>