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The Real John Lennon: Artist or Entertainer?

Today is the anniversary of John Lennon's death. Lennon lived most of his adult life in the public eye (as did the rest of the Beatles).

Death of John LennonOne could argue that it was his fame that caused his death. (He was murdered by a deranged fan.)

Just before his death, Lennon did a final interview about his life, music, and struggles with fame. The following video features an excerpt from that interview, in which he confessed:

"I like to be liked; I don't like to offend people… I don't want to sell my soul again, as it were, to sell a hit record."

It's just a brief sound bite, but it betrays the pressure that Lennon faced as one of the world's most famous songwriters. It's a pressure that we place on most artists.

It's unfortunate that Lennon's untimely death cost the world an opportunity to see what an artist who refused to sell his soul would really look like.

But now with the social web (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), everyone has a chance to be famous. Everyone gets a platform. And with that fame, comes the pressure to sell out. To give in to the whims of your fans. To merely entertain.

How do you deal with the attraction of popularity and the seduction of fame?

How do you keep yourself from drifting from artist to entertainer?

If you're a blogger, photographer, musician, social media guru, or some other kind of artist with a platform, I would love to hear your thoughts. Also, if you liked this article, you might enjoy this post: God and John Lennon.

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