March 21, 2023

By Ahmet Abdulaziz ….

Way back in 1967, when the Beatles were reigning the music world everywhere, John Lennon came up with the idea of buying an island, where “no one could tell you not to smoke” (he meant marijuana). Ultimately they all went to Greece and looked for an island to buy for themselves. Unfortunately , the idea was soon dropped, as other issues gained priority.

This particular event was mentioned by Paul McCartney in his autobiography, as reported at various places recently. This usually ignored adventure had taken place in the month of July 1967. They had planned to live there along with their families, and to carry out their activities from that island. They had planned to have their network at the centre of the compound, and there would be four vast separate living units. They had also planned to arrange for residences for their close friends.

As mentioned by Paul, it was the idea of John, who had thought of having a place to live with no rules. It was just the idea to turn that island into a hippie community.

In those days, over half a century ago, the hippies had made their mark among the young folks, mostly in Europe and America. As mentioned in Britannica “Hippies advocated non-violence and love, a popular phrase being “Make love, not war”, for which they were sometimes called ‘flower children’.  They promoted openness and tolerance as alternatives to the restrictions and regimentation they saw in middle-class society.”

John Lennon appeared to be the one most attached to the hippy philosophy. His famous song “Give Peace a Chance”, spoke of his inner feelings, and his association with the hippies and their beliefs. However, being a superstar, he could never be a part of the hippy movement. His political views were the same that the hippies of that era had. He too was against restrictions, imposed rules and wars. He spent his life preaching for these basic principles of the hippies.

However, returning back to the Greek island that the Beatles wanted to buy, I think the idea that John Lennon had in his mind then was to lead him to write “Imagine”, a couple of years later. When we look at the lyrics of “Imagine”, he speaks of a world with no restrictions, no war, no religion, but having peace, love, and brotherhood. I believe that this is what John had thought of bringing to life in that particular island. It could be he had thought of starting a distinct way of living for other people to follow. He may have thought of buying other island/places where hippies could live according to their own rules and regulations.

Unfortunately, as we know from the published media, the idea of buying the island was dropped mostly because of involvement of too many bureaucratic hurdles. In fact at one stage they had managed to have the required finances, but by that time they had been involved in some new ventures, and the idea of buying the Greek island disappeared.

Though the idea was dropped, I am sure that was the “heaven” that John Lennon had in his mind and was the “heaven” that he explained in the song “Imagine”.

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