Why Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” Is The Ultimate Thanksgiving Song (You’ll Be Amazed By Its Meaning!)

Leonard Cohen, the hugely influential singer and songwriter died on November 2, 2016 at the age of 82.

Leonard Cohen, the hugely influential singer and songwriter died on November 2, 2016 at the age of 82. Cohen’s “Hallelujah” was voted “the most perfect song ever.”

Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks for the many blessings we have in our lives. Among the many things I am personally grateful for, I give a huge “Thank You!” to the late Leonard Cohen for all of the incredible songs he gave the world, but most especially for the song Hallelujah.

In Hallelujah, songwriter Cohen takes thankfulness to another level, suggesting that we should be grateful not only for our blessings, but for ALL of our experiences in life (good, bad, happy, and sad).

I first fell in love with the song when I watched k.d. lang sing it during the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. I was captivated by the sheer beauty and majesty of her performance and the lyrics.  And, I felt compelled to learn more about what the song was actually about.

In short, here’s what songwriter Cohen said of the song’s meaning:

“It explains that many kinds of hallelujahs do exist, and all the perfect and broken hallelujahs have equal value.”

Cohen further elaborates on the meaning of the song:

Finally there’s no conflict between things, finally everything is reconciled but not where we live. This world is full of conflicts and full of things that cannot be reconciled but there are moments when we can transcend the dualistic system and reconcile and embrace the whole mess and that’s what I mean by Hallelujah. That regardless of what the impossibility of the situation is, there is a moment when you open your mouth and you throw open your arms and you embrace the thing and you just say ‘Hallelujah! Blessed is the name.’  And you can’t reconcile it in any other way except in that position of total surrender, total affirmation. That’s what it’s all about.

The Most Perfect Song Ever Took Five Years to Write

In 2008, Q Magazine held a poll in which Hallelujah was voted “the most perfect song ever.”  According to Cohen, it took him at least five years to write the song:

“Hallelujah was at least five years. I have about 80 verses. I just took verses out of the many that established some sort of coherence. The trouble that I find is that I have to finish the verse before I can discard it. So that lengthens the process considerably. I filled two notebooks with the song, and I remember being on the floor of the Royalton Hotel, on the carpet in my underwear, banging my head on the floor and saying, ‘I can’t finish this song.’”

Cohen trimmed the number of verses and released the song in 1984 on his album titled “Various Positions.”   But, the song did not receive popular acclaim until 1991 when John Cale, a Welsh singer-songwriter, recorded a cover version of the song.

Since 1991, more than 200 versions of Hallelujah have been recorded in various languages.  A version performed by the late Jeff Buckley attained  #1 on Billboard’s Hot Digital Songs in March 2008.  Singer k.d. lang’s performance of fellow Canadian Cohen’s song was for many (including myself) the highlight of the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The Meaning of Lyrics to Hallelujah

In the Bible, the word hallelujah is found primarily in the book of Psalms. The word hallel in Hebrew means a joyous praise in song. The second part, Yah, is a shortened form of YHWH, the name for the Creator.  The word hallelujah can therefore be translated as “Praise God.” Hallelujah is frequently spoken to express happiness that a thing hoped or waited for has happened.

Below are the lyrics to Hallelujah and one of the many interpretations of the lyrics from lyricinterpretations.com, this one by Francis O’Brien:

For the first part:

Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

This relates to the story of King David who was had an intimate relation with God and was also a great harp player (secret cord/pleased the lord). The hallelujah at the end of this verse is a happy and spiritual one.

Second part:

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

In this part Cohen relates to the story of David and Bathsheba when David was walking on the roofs he saw her bathing and seduced her. He ended up committing adultery and lost a lot of influence and weakened his link with God (broken throne). Then we move to the story of Samson who gets his hair cut and loses all his powers, once again, a broken throne. In this verse, the hallelujah is a very sad and desperate one.

Third Part:

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

In this part Cohen talks about the ambivalence of love and its effect on your faith. It can be glorious like a flag on a marble arch or it can be cold and broken. And when in heart break you may lose or strengthen your faith, in this case it is strengthened because he still praises the lord in the end. In this case, the hallelujah is (obviously) cold and broken.

Fourth Part:

There was a time you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

This is an obvious reference to sexuality… In this verse the hallelujah can be interpreted as an “orgasmic” one.

Fifth Part:

You say I took the name in vain
I don’t even know the name
But if I did, well really, what’s it to you?
There’s a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

This is a reference to one of the ten commandments and through this Cohen is trying to make the listener understand that religion and faith is not etched in stone and that everyone should interpret the holy texts and religion in his own way and that there is no “Right Way” to believe. This is an uncertain hallelujah, meaning that he is not sure what to believe but he believes anyway.

Sixth Part:

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

In this part, he has found what to believe in and realizes his past errors but he is ready to face the lord because he now has complete faith. This hallelujah is one of total faith and love for “the Lord”.

For more great lyrics, see wagon wheel chords on CowBoyLyrics.com.

Hallelujah Performed by Pentatonix, k.d. lang, the late Jeff Buckley, and the late Leonard Cohen

Which version do you like best?




11/11 SPECIAL: 1111Hz Angels Love and Blessings | Receive Help & Protection | Angel Number Frequency

Source: Inner Lotus Music

Message from Pierre Ynad (the composer of this heavenly music):

The frequency of 1111Hz – also called “Angel Number frequency” or “frequency of angels” – helps to tune into the present moment and the spiritual Love, help, and protection that is available to you at any time, wherever you are and wherever you go.

If you enjoy my music and would like to support me, please subscribe to my channel 💖
and hit the ((🔔)) to turn on notifications and receive the latest Inner Lotus Music!

According to numerology, the number 11 is a “Master Number”. It signifies intuition, insight, and enlightenment, while 1 itself stands for creation, leadership, and manifestation. When paired together, 11 11 is perceived as a message from the Universe to become conscious and aware. The Angel Number 1111 encourages us to step out of our comfort zone and grow spiritually, mentally and emotionally, while providing us with all the love, help and protection we need.

Seeing 11 11 may signify that your spirit guides are attempting to contact you. 11 11 is also said to be the number of spiritual awakening, meaning that you are on the right path and your actions are aligned with your soul’s purpose. In other words: Seeing 11 11 is a good sign! 😊 An energetic gate is being opened in which you can experience spiritual awakening and growth.

If you keep seeing 11 11, you are probably undergoing a process of spiritual awakening. You are on the right path and you’re being assisted by your spirit guides and the Universe to consciously grow and expand. Pay attention, be aware, and remember to stay grounded in the present moment!

Each angelic number (or: “AN” for Angel Number) is linked to its corresponding angelic frequency. Each frequency exists with a purpose and can help you in different stages of your life. Whether you are feeling weak, uncertain or in need of strength to carry on with your current plans and projects, there is a different frequency that can help you. Angel Number frequencies also help to engage more deeply in the mystery and wonder of existence. Understanding, that there is an “Intelligence” much greater than ours at play and there is much more around us, than we are able to perceive and/or even imagine.

If you enjoy this video, you might also resonate with my Spiritual Love and Healing Playlist:

For this meditation and/or sleep music, all instruments have been specifically and carefully tuned to 1111 Hz. Therefore, the meditation music in this video is an original 1111Hz composition and has not been artificially tuned to 1111 Hz after completion. I am convinced that composing music in the original frequency will lead to better results when it comes to deploying the positive energy and benefits of this particular Angel Number frequency.

Feel free to listen to this originally composed 1111 Hz Angels Love and Blessings | Receive Help & Protection | Healing Angel Number Frequency Meditation and/or Sleep Music with headphones at a moderate level or – if you prefer – just let it flow through open space. As long as it is positive for your body and soul, it will be positive for you.

Love and gratitude 💖🙏🏼

Note: Do not listen to music emphasizing particular frequencies if you suffer from epilepsy! If you have any concerns or other health issues you are uncertain of, please check with your medical practitioner prior to listening. Please do not listen to the music on this channel whilst driving or operating machinery of any kind! Although this music can help you to relax, meditate and sleep, it is not taking the place of professional medical and/or therapeutic advice and/or treatment.

Music composed and produced by Pierre Ynad
Copyright ⓒ 2021 Inner Lotus Music ™. All rights reserved.

WATCH This Incredibly Heartwarming Performance of “Imagine” with Coldplay and Featuring Emmanuel Kelly

Video Source: EK

Article Source: InnerStrength.zone

It’s hard to imagine the degree of selflessness a person has to have or develop within their souls to forgo all personal ambition and desires to instead serve a higher purpose in life, such as being a humanitarian. Moira Therese Kelly is an esteemed Australian humanitarian worker who, in 2001, was awarded the Order of Australia in recognition of her outstanding humanitarian service both in her home country and abroad. Over the years, Moria has adopted several children from impoverished countries with challenging physical conditions. In 2009, she became the legal guardian of Trishna and Krishna, two cranially conjoined twins from Bangladesh.

Moira also adopted two brothers from Iraq named Ahmed and Emmanuel. Both brothers were born with extremely underdeveloped limbs caused by chemical warfare, which impacted them in their mother’s womb. Moira discovered the boys living in the Mother Teresa Orphanage in Bagdad, Iraq, after they were abandoned by their mother in a shoebox. The num decided to bring them home to Australia for medical treatment. Today, Ahmad is a quadruple amputee who’s also an expert swimmer and was an athlete in the 2012 Summer Paralympics. While her son Emannuel would go on to compete in the 2011 season of the X-Factor, sadly, his dream did not come true that year.

But in 2017 the band Coldplay decided to give Emmanuel’s mom a special surprise while performing live in Melbourne, Australia. Moira was in the crowd as lead singer, Chris Martin paid tribute to the humble humanitarian. He also brought her son Emannuel on stage for a very special performance of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

Below is Emmanuel Kelly’s performance on X Factor Australia that had the judges in tears:


“Imagine” Lyrics by John Lennon

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today… Aha-ah…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace… You…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world… You…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

This Most Beautiful Music Ever Celebrates the Earth and Sun

Source: keef1212

To celebrate the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the winter solstice in Southern Hemisphere, watch the great Sarah Brightman and Alessandro Safina sing “Canto Della Terra” (Song About the Earth) accompanied by a fabulous orchestra and choir. This masterpiece was recorded in 2008 at the St. Stephens Cathedral in Vienna, Austria. Below is the meaning of the song in English:

Canto della Terra (Song About the Earth)

Yes I know
My love, that you and I
Are together briefly
For just a few moments
In silence
As we look out of our windows
And listen
To the sky
And to a world
That’s awakening
And the night is already far away
Already, far away

Look at this world
Spinning with us
Even in the dark
Look at this world
Spinning for us
Giving us hope and some
Sun, sun sun

My love, you are you my love
I hear your voice,
And I listen to the sea.
It sounds just like your breathing
And all the love you want to give me
This love
That is there, hidden
Hidden among the waves
All the waves in the world
Just like a boat that….

Look at this world
Spinning with us
Even in the dark
Look at this world
Spinning for us
Giving us hope,
And some sun, sun, sun,
Some sun, sun, sun.

Look at this world
Spinning with us
Giving us some sun,
Mighty sun
Mighty sun
Mighty sun

Light-Encoded Music for Self-Healing & Meditation | Xi EarthStar

Source: Xi EarthStar Healer I The EarthStar Sanctuary

Listen to Xi EarthStar’s incredibly beautiful and angelic voice whenever you can use some self-soothing and/or healing sound vibrations. Also, be sure to check out her YouTube channel as she covers a multitude of important topics.

Xi EarthStar:

“As I waddled through a particularly dense and uncomfortable bubble of energy yesterday, I was at the same time self-soothing with creating these peaceful, beautiful and healing sound vibrations – I hope they bring you as much peace and comfort, as they did me :)”

Remove All Negative Blockages, Release Fear and Toxic Emotions, Inner Peace Music

Video Source: Jason Stephenson – Chakra Healing Music

Music to remove all negative blockages and release fear and toxic emotions.

Manifest Miracles, Angelic Healing Music For Miracles and Positive Transformation

Video Source: Jason Stephenson – Chakra Healing Music

Manifest miracles with this divine angelic healing music. For positive transformation, listen to this miracle music.

Remove Negative Blocks, Healing Music Waves, Transformation & Miracles, Piano Music with Harp

Video Source: Jason Stephenson – Chakra Healing Music

Let go of negative blocks with this healing salt lamp waves frequency music. For transformation and miracles, listen to this piano music (with harp) for 30 minutes each day for 21 days.

All You Need Is Love | The Beatles Live

Written by John Lennon, and credited to Lennon–McCartney. The Beatles performed “All You Need is Love” over a pre-recorded backing track as Britain’s contribution to Our World, the first live global television link. Watched by over 400 million in 25 countries in on June 25, 1967.

“All You Need is Love” Lyrics

Love, love, love
Love, love, love
Love, love, love
There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung
Nothing you can say, but you can learn how to play the game
It’s easy
Nothing you can make that can’t be made
No one you can save that can’t be saved
Nothing you can do, but you can learn how to be you in time
It’s easy
All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need
All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need
There’s nothing you can know that isn’t known
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown
There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be
It’s easy
All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need
All you need is love (all together now)
All you need is love (everybody)
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need
Love is all you need
(Love is all you need)
Love is all you need
(Love is all you need)
Love is all you need
(Love is all you need)
Love is all you need
(Love is all you need)
Love is all you need
(Love is all you need)
Love is all you need
(Love is all you need)
Love is all you need
(Love is all you need)
Love is all you need
(Love is all you need)
Love is all you need
(Love is all you need)
Love is all you need
(Love is all you need)
Love is all you need
(Love is all you need)
(Love is all you need)
(Love is all you need)
(Love is all you need)
(Love is all you need)
Love is all you need
Love is all you need
Oh yeah
Love is all you need
(She love you, yeah, yeah, yeah)
(She love you, yeah, yeah, yeah)
(Love is all you need)
(Love is all you need)

Redemption Songs: One Love, One Heart

Bob Marley performing at Dalymount Park, on 6 July 1980.

By Abby Zimet | Common Dreams

For a break from the madness, and to honor a much-missed voice these days, we celebrate the 76th birthday (on Feb 6) of the great Bob Marley – reggae legend, devout visionary, fighter for the rights of the oppressed and fervent believer that “righteousness someday prevail.” Marley’ died of cancer at 36, an incalculable loss the more you know of his life and work. Still, his music and message of resistance live on.

His birthday last year launched a year-long celebration of his legacy dubbed BobMarley75; as a first installment, his estate released a stirring, animated new video to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the emblematic “Redemption Song” from Marley’s final album Uprising, issued the year before he died. Created by French artists Octave Marsal and Theo De Gueltzl, the video features nearly 3,000 original drawings representing Marley’s message of the journey to emancipation: “None but ourselves can free our minds.”

Marley also sang the song in Pittsburgh in September 1980 in his last public appearance; given he’d newly learned he was dying, it was a more than brave” performance. May he rest in peace and power.

“My music will go on forever. Maybe it’s a fool say that, but when me know facts me can say facts. My music will go on forever.” – Bob Marley

One Love

Redemption Song

How long shall they kill our prophets
While we stand aside and look
Some say it’s just a part of it
We’ve got to fulfill the book

Won’t you help to sing,
These songs of freedom
‘Cause all I ever had, redemption songs
All I ever had, redemption songs
These songs of freedom

 Redemption Song

Pittsburgh 1980’s Redemption Song

Get Up, Stand Up

The new video:

Image Credit

Read more great articles at Common Dreams.

Can You Learn Playing Drums on Your Own?

Learning drums (like anything else) seems easy nowadays. Get yourself a set of training pads on stands, select your rock drum sticks, find a channel on YouTube with your favorite tracks – and go! Then analyze audios, separate drum sounds, imitate them. And finally, write your own!

But though it looks simple in theory, there are some problems to solve and questions to answer. Here I’ll cover the most important of them.


The easiest part of it is finding someone to learn from. You can, of course, just analyze drum parts of your favorite rock tracks. But we live in 2021, and everything can be found on YouTube. Just type in “drum lessons”, “drum school” or something like that, and you’ll see dozens of relevant videos.

Select those you find the clearest to see. Teachers are different; find yours. Though the basics are common, playing jazz, funk, or rock on an advanced level can be different, so choose things closest to your preferences.

May the Force Be with You

Unless you can afford a silenced room for your sessions, you’ll have to moderate the noise you make. There are different ways to achieve that: using training pads, silencers, electronic drums instead of acoustic ones (if you are ready to afford all that). A good training kit provides the bounce and the entire physical feel of a real drum kit.

Remember, though, that the way your extremities move and the way you hear the drum sounds may differ at the real kit. Despite all the perfect imitation, a real kit will be positioned a bit differently. The stage will probably shake a little if you’re at a gig. Home kits can help you with the basics, but for mastering the art, you’ll need to go out.

Prepare yourself that this sort of practice will take more time than getting behind a real drum kit. Each hour spent with real drums equals to about five hours at pads. This goes out to both body training (drumming requires that as well) and musical perfecting.

Get Electronic?

Well, in 2021, investing in an electronic drum kit sounds reasonable. It does not produce loud sounds unless you make it loud. You can exercise with your headphones on, almost silently for others. In addition, electronic drums are easy to record and then analyze your mistakes. Or to use in your electronic tracks if you’re recording them at home.

All these advantages make e-drums a solid choice even for some experienced musicians. But here is the moment of choice. What sort of drums do you intend to play in the future? Electronic ones are great for studio production, for playing with DJ’s and keyboardists, in retrowave bands and electronic collaborations. They are great to record MIDI drum tracks and then edit them if something goes wrong, share with remote co-producers, try different sounds.

But it completely differs from how a rock gig feels, with acoustic power produced by your sticks. This is a different drumming, and skills at one do not apply at another.

No Drummer Is an Island

There is one thing you can never learn alone, and it’s called interaction. Playing in a band means you need to speak to other musicians, to argue on various issues, to solve everyday problems when on the road, and so on. Even the brightest moments, like sharing the same groove while playing, need you to be ready.

Communication is what you can never learn alone. Just accept that. One day you’ll need to venture outside and find a band to use your acquired skills. And you’ll discover there is a lot more to learn; but that’s a different story.

Marching to Different Drums Together

If you’re going to learn to play drums alone, it doesn’t mean you can’t communicate on that. What kit did you use? How do you deal with neighbors about that? What manner do you consider the best? What about e-drums? What YouTube channels would you recommend? Let’s talk in the comments. Or bring it to your friends on Facebook and Twitter to discuss there.

Meditate America: Graham Nash Beautifully Performs “Our House” with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus

Click the above image to watch the video on YouTube

Video Source: David Lynch Foundation

Graham Nash performs “Our House” (featuring the Brooklyn Youth Chorus) during the “Meditate America” virtual benefit concert and celebration. This event honored the “Peace On Earth Award” recipient, Dr. Tony Nader, and featured performances by Sting, Angelique Kidjo, Graham Nash, Elvis Costello, Kesha, Jim James, and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. Co-hosts included Hugh Jackman, Deborra-Lee Furness, Katy Perry, as well as ABC’s Good Morning America George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts, and Dr. Jennifer Ashton.

Meditate America is a national initiative led by the David Lynch Foundation to bring Transcendental Meditation® to millions of adults and children suffering from trauma and stress. Help us bring TM® to those who need it most. DONATE TODAY at https://guest.davidlynchfoundation.or….

Watch the full benefit celebration and concert here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgF-a…

417 Hz Remove All The Negative Energy In and Around You | 9 Hours

Video Source: Meditative Mind

417 Hz Music to REMOVE ALL THE NEGATIVE and BBAD ENERGY In and Around You. This is a special sleep music edition. The screen will turn to black slowly in 7-10 mins.

READ more about how to cleanse negative energy from your home here using 417 Hz solfeggio frequency:


Join ‘Peace Through Music’ December 10th | 200+ Musicians | Streaming on YouTube


Source: Playing For Change

In honor of the United Nations’ 75th Anniversary and #HumanRightsDay, Playing For Change and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) are proud to announce an encore presentation of ‘Peace Through Music: A Global Event for Social Justice,’ presented by Corning® Gorilla® Glass in partnership with Gibson and produced by Playing For Change and Blackbird Presents. The event will be released December 10th at 12pm PST/3pm EST/8pm GMT on the Playing For Change YouTube channel and be available until December 31st. #UN75 #LeavingNoOneBehind #PeaceThroughMusic

Featuring performances from more than 200 musicians including: Aloe Blacc, Angélique Kidjo, Becky G, Brandi Carlile with Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, Carlos Santana and Cindy Blackman Santana, Gabi Melim, Gary Clark Jr., Jack Johnson, Keith Richards, Mavis Staples, Nathaniel Rateliff, Peter Gabriel, Rhiannon Giddens, Ringo Starr, Robbie Robertson, Run The Jewels with Josh Homme, Sheila E., Skip Marley and Cedella Marley, The War and Treaty, Yo-Yo Ma and many more. Special Appearances include Billie Eilish, Danny Glover, Jamal Murray, Killer Mike, Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird, Norman Lear, Prince Ea and Sara Bareilles.

Contributions from partners and all donations will support the Playing For Change Foundation, the United Nations Population Fund, the United Nations Remember Slavery Programme, Sankofa, The Bob Marley Foundation, Silkroad, and The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation – organizations that strive to eradicate poverty, inequality, and systemic racial and gender discrimination around the world. Learn more at https://peacethroughmusic.live

John Lennon Still Lives Among Us

Former Beatle John Lennon and wife Yoko Ono in Amsterdam. (Photo: Eric Koch / Anefo | Wikimedia Commons)

By Joshua Meyrowitz | Common Dreams 

Forty years ago this week, headlines screamed, “John Lennon Gunned Down by Stranger.” Yet, for assassin Mark David Chapman, John Lennon was no stranger. Although he had never come within a hundred miles of the former Beatle until that winter, Chapman knew John Lennon very well; so well, in fact, he often believed that he was John Lennon.

The teenage Chapman wore his hair like Lennon’s, learned to play guitar, and joined a rock group. He sang Lennon’s songs over and over. Like Lennon, Chapman married an older Japanese woman. As a security guard at a Honolulu condominium, he even taped Lennon’s name over his own on his ID tag. On the day he quit, Chapman signed out as “John Lennon,” crossing the name out with the final stroke of his pen. The murder he was about to commit was a partial suicide.

“Although decades have passed since Lennon was murdered, my emotions remain raw.”

John Lennon was killed by the sinister side of the same force that makes millions of people still mourn him and other dead media icons: a sense of personal connection to selected strangers fostered by media that simulate the sights and sounds of face-to-face interactions.

As with real-life friends, we feel bound to our “media friends,” not simply because of what they have accomplished and can do but based on a more personal set of feelings about who they are—how their very “presence” in our lives affects us. The natural mental space for a hero is at a distance on some pedestal. The imagined space for a media friend is at our sides—hanging out at home, walking down a street, riding in a car.

The more we see and hear them, the more musicians, actors, sports figures, newscasters, political figures, and talk-show hosts become part of our extended network of social ties. They provide a sense of intimacy, but one without any risk of embarrassment or physical harm. Some of them are there to say, “Good morning;” others to say, “Good night.” They sing in our ears as we jog. They hover near us even in the most private scenes of our lives.

We follow the personal and public dimensions of media friends, and their life stages often become key signposts we use to mark and recall periods in our own lives. Conversations among real-life friends often refer to shared media friends. Ironically, relationships with media friends often outlast our relationships with many of our actual friends, neighbors, co-workers, lovers, even spouses.

When a widely shared media friend dies unexpectedly and “before their time,” the unusual nature of the relationship explodes in the public sphere. To banish the demons of grief and helplessness, thousands of people spontaneously gather in streets or parks or hold vigils near the media friend’s home or place of death.

That’s what happened when John Lennon was gunned down. Strangers embraced and wept. Crowds stood in silent witness or chanted the dead hero’s words or songs. Such pain is paradoxical—it feels personal yet is strengthened by the extent to which it is shared with the crowd.

Ironically, but appropriately, the media that give birth to these relationships also provide the most ritualized settings for mourning a media friend’s death. Radio and television present specials, retrospectives, and commentaries. “Never before seen” photos and videos are a kind of cultural séance, extending the connection past the grave.

The final irony, then, is that in many ways, the media friend never dies. The only means through which most people came to know him or her—media images and sounds—remain available forever. When a media friend dies, the relationship is embalmed rather than destroyed. Nevertheless, the sense of loss is profound.

John Lennon was fearless in speaking about peace and justice and asking us to imagine a better world. You still can feel and hear both his presence and his painful absence at every antiwar rally, environmental action, and police brutality protest over the last forty years. Indeed, his songs are often part of the soundtracks for progressive political action.

Of course, ties to media friends are often commercially fabricated. And yet, these relationships are still very human, very caring. No analysis of these unreal, but real relationships can explain away or weaken their emotional power. We may never have seen them in the flesh, and they would never have taken note of our own deaths, but when our media friends die or are killed, we feel pain. We worry about their widowed spouses and fret over the children who have lost a parent. We dwell on ways the tragedy could have been avoided. Sometimes, we even feel partly responsible, as if we could have saved or warned them.

I understand the absurdity of many aspects of the relationships with media friends, yet I have also felt all these things. Although decades have passed since Lennon was murdered, my emotions remain raw. Yes, I never really knew him. Yes, he was not even aware of my existence. Yet I found my political voice with his help, and he has inspired millions around the world not to be silent in the face of militarism and injustice. The simple truth is, I still feel him marching beside me now—and I still miss him.

Joshua Meyrowitz

Joshua Meyrowitz is Professor Emeritus of Media Studies at the University of New Hampshire. The ideas here are drawn from his award-winning book, “No Sense of Place: The Impact of Electronic Media on Social Behavior” (1986). The author can be reached at Joshua.Meyrowitz [at] unh.edu.