It Was 40 Years Ago Today: John Lennon Remembered

I still remember where I was when I heard 
Cranked up the volume got caught up in the words
Cosell was saying
While the teams went on playin’
Tears fell from my eyes …   JS   3/81
Senseless killing in the street
Yoko screamin’, husband at her feet.
Killer was a fan who lost his head (yeah, yeah, yeah)
gunned down his hero – stood in the rain and read.
Johnny was a victim…    JS  12/82      
downloadToday marks the 40th anniversary of the tragic death of John Lennon.  The renowned musician was returning home from a New York recording studio where he and Yoko had been putting finishing touches on their new album “Double fantasy” his first new release in nearly five years. His death was a terrible loss. It’s hard to believe he’s been gone so long.
For me, Lennon’s death, like that of John Kennedy, was one of those moments in time where you remember exactly where you were when you heard the news.
I was at home that fateful Monday night, 12/8/1980, watching the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football, when Howard Cosell suddenly interrupted the play by play regular broadcast and somberly informed viewers of Lennon’s death. 
lennonnyclg-210x300I couldn’t believe it!  John couldn’t be dead! I frantically began flipping through channels and found a special report with live coverage from in front of the Dakota where Lennon lived. A large crowd had already gathered and was growing by the minute. Stunned fans stood in the chilly night air, some singing Lennon songs others simply huddled together, in disbelief, tears flowed freely. At home I, too, was stunned and crying as well. John Lennon was gone.
Lennon was and still is my favorite Beatle. I loved his irreverent attitude when being interviewed, always the wise guy, the grand cut-up. His music with the Beatles and in his solo career has had a profound influence on my life. Many of my beliefs about love and life were a result of the music. His final album, ‘Double Fantasy” was Lennon reborn, a work of art,  filled with songs about hope, truth, love and respect. I can’t help but wonder what direction his music would have taken had he been given the opportunity. Always a visionary Lennon appeared to be on a new life path. Sadly that life, cut short  by a crazed gunman, depriving the world of a much needed ray of light in a dark and dreary world.
                                                      “Favorite Lennon Story”
My son John was only two when Lennon was killed. By the time he was six he’d been inundated with Beatles and John Lennon music. He knew the Beatles.
 One afternoon in the summer of 84, while driving to my parent’s home I spotted a friend of mine Tim Ryan walking west on Arrow Highway. I quickly pulled over and offered him a ride. We drove him to a friend’s house in Azusa. The entire time my son sat in the backseat listening to us talk and didn’t say a word which was quite unusual for him, he just sat there staring at Tim.


After we dropped Tim off and were driving away, John Michael, in awe, said to me,” Dad I didn’t know John Lennon was your friend.” I thought about that for a moment and realized that Tim, with his long hair, round, wire rim glasses and hawk nose did sorta, kinda, bear a resemblance to John Lennon. And my son actually thought Tim was Lennon. I remember smiling and telling him “Yep, John Lennon and I are friends, good friends.”  

My buddy Tim

My buddy Tim

And I hadn’t lied to him. Although I never met Lennon I knew him just the same. Through his lyrics and all that I read about him ( and believe me I read a lot) I knew him well. Lennon was indeed a good friend and saw me through some very troubled times. For several years my son would tell the story about the time we gave my friend John Lennon a ride in my VW. It was priceless.       


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