Today marks the thirtieth anniversary of the death of John Lennon. The former Beatle was slain by a deranged fan outside his home at the Dakota Apartments in New York City. Lennon, renowned musician, artist and peace activist, was returning home from a recording studio where he and Yoko had been putting finishing touches on a new album “Double fantasy” his first new release in nearly five years. His death was a tragic loss for us all.
Do you remember where you were when you heard about Lennon’s death? I was at home watching the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football when Howard Cosell made the announcement about Lennon’s death. Ironically on another Monday night six years before, Cosell had Lennon join him in the booth and did a brief but enjoyable interview, this time what Howard Cosell had to say on 12/8/1980 was tragic.
I remember turning up the volume on the TV caught up in what Cosell was saying, then turning the channel looking for more news on Lennon’s death. I quickly found a special report with live coverage from New York. Crowds were already gathering near the Dakota, Beatle music was playing, fans were crying and so was I. The next day was no better. There was coverage on every channel. I remember getting thoroughly disgusted when I saw a brief interview of Paul McCartney in London. When asked his reaction to Lennon’s death he off-handedly remarked to the reporter while chomping his gum, “It’s a drag isn’t it.” Sir Paul, what an ass!
John Lennon was and still is my favorite Beatle. His music touched my life. I can’t help but wonder what direction his music would have taken had his life not been cut short. 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 all about the Beatles.
One afternoon in the summer of 84, my son and I were driving in my VW to my parent’s home in Azusa when I spotted Tim Ryan, a friend of mine, walking along the highway. I quickly pulled over and offered him a ride. We drove him to a friend’s house in Azusa. The entire time John sat in the backseat and didn’t say a word, he just kept looking at Tim. After we dropped Tim off and were driving away John, in awe, said to me,” I didn’t know John Lennon was your friend.” I thought about it for a moment and realized that Tim, with his long hair, round, wire rim glasses and hawk nose did bear a striking resemblance to John Lennon. John thought he was really Lennon. I remember telling him “Yep, John Lennon and I are good friends.” For several years John would tell the story about the time we gave my friend John Lennon a ride.
It was priceless.
All You Need is Love