Today it is 32 years ago that John Lennon was killed
Our party is a small tribute to this legendary singer/songwriter.
John Lennon, one of the world's most beloved songwriters, would have turned 72 years old October 9th. But on
8, 1980, Mark Chapman shot John Lennon as he was walking from his limo into
Through his work with the Beatles, his collaborations with other artists and his own individual solo output, Lennon left a musical mark that continues to inspire each new generation as the years pass.
John Ono Lennon, born John Winston Lennon (9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980) was an English musician and singer-songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as a founder member of the Beatles, one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Together with Paul McCartney, he formed one of the most celebrated songwriting partnerships of the 20th century.
Born and raised in
Liverpool, Lennon became
involved as a teenager in the skiffle craze; his first band, the Quarrymen,
evolved into the Beatles in 1960. As the group disintegrated towards the end of
the decade, Lennon embarked on a solo career that produced the critically
acclaimed albums John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, and iconic songs
such as "Give Peace a Chance" and "Imagine". After his
marriage to Yoko Ono in 1969, he changed his name to John Ono Lennon. Lennon
disengaged himself from the music business in 1975 to devote time to raising
his infant son Sean, but re-emerged with Ono in 1980 with the new album Double
Fantasy. He was murdered three weeks after its release.
Death of John Lennon
The morning of December 8, 1980 Annie Leibovitz visited the New York apartment of John Lennon and Yoko Ono to do a photo shoot for the Rolling Stones. Annie Leibovitz originally tried to just get a shot of Lennon without Yoko but Lennon insisted that she be on the cover to. Annie would recall that, "nobody wanted her on the cover". She then thought of trying to recreate the kissing scene from his album cover, Double Fantasy an image that moved Annie Leibovitz very much.
"What is interesting is she said she'd take her top off and I said, 'Leave everything on' -- not really preconceiving the picture at all. Then he curled up next to her and it was very, very strong. You couldn't help but feel that she was cold and he looked like he was clinging on to her. I shot some test Polaroids first," Leibovitz wrote a month later in Rolling Stone, "and when I showed them to John and Yoko, John said, 'You've captured our relationship exactly'. I looked him in the eye and we shook on it."
After taking the pictures, Leibovitz left their apartment at 3:30pm. After the photo shoot, Lennon gave what would be his last interview, to San Francisco DJ Dave Sholin, for a music show to be broadcast on the RKO Radio Network. At , Lennon and Ono left their apartment to mix the song "Walking on Thin Ice" (an Ono song featuring Lennon on lead guitar), at the Record Plant Studio.
Mark David Chapman
As Lennon and Ono walked to their limousine, they were approached by several people seeking autographs, and among them was Mark David Chapman. It was common for fans to wait outside the Dakota to meet Lennon and ask for his autograph. Chapman, a 25-year-old security guard from
, had previously traveled to Honolulu, Hawaii to murder
Lennon in October (before the release of Double Fantasy), but had changed his
mind and returned home. On the evening in question, Chapman silently handed
Lennon a copy of Double Fantasy, and Lennon obliged with an autograph. After
signing the album, Lennon asked, "Is this all you want?" Chapman
smiled and nodded in agreement. Photographer, and Lennon fan, Paul Goresh, took
a photo of the encounter. Chapman had been waiting for Lennon outside the
Dakota since mid-morning, and had even approached the Lennons' five-year-old
son, Sean, who was with the family nanny, Helen Seaman, when they returned home
in the afternoon. According to Chapman, he briefly touched the boy's hand. New York
The Lennons spent several hours at the Record Plant studio before returning to the Dakota, at approximately Lennon had decided against dining out so he could be home in time to say goodnight to his son, before going on to the Stage Deli restaurant with Ono. Lennon liked to oblige any fans who had been waiting for long periods of time to meet him with autographs or pictures, once saying during an interview with BBC Radio's Andy Peebles on
6 December 1980: "People
come and ask for autographs, or say 'Hi', but they don't bug you". The
Lennons exited their limousine on 72nd Street
instead of driving into the more secure courtyard of the Dakota.
Chapman later said he was incensed by Lennon's "more popular than Jesus" remark, calling it blasphemy, and the songs "God", and "Imagine", because of the incongruity between the lyric "Imagine no possessions" and Lennon's personal wealth. Chapman even sang the song with the altered lyric: "Imagine John Lennon dead."
The Dakota's doorman, ex-CIA Agent Jose Sanjenis Perdomo, and a nearby cab driver saw Chapman standing in the shadows by the archway. Ono walked ahead of Lennon and into the reception area. As Lennon passed by, he looked at Chapman briefly and continued on his way. Within seconds, Chapman took aim directly at the center of Lennon's back and fired five hollow-point bullets at him from a Charter Arms .38 Special revolver in rapid succession. Based on statements made that night by NYPD Chief of Detectives, James Sullivan, numerous radio, television, and newspaper reports claimed at the time that, before firing, Chapman called out "Mr. Lennon" and dropped into a "combat stance". Later court hearings and witness interviews did not include either "Mr. Lennon" or the "combat stance" description. Chapman has said he does not remember calling out Lennon's name before he fired, but he confirmed taking a "combat stance" in a 1992 interview with Barbara Walters. The first bullet missed, passing over Lennon's head and hitting a window of the Dakota building. Two of the next bullets struck Lennon in the left side of his back, and two more penetrated his left shoulder. Lennon, bleeding profusely from external wounds and also from his mouth, staggered up five steps to the security/reception area, saying, "I'm shot, I'm shot". He then fell to the floor, scattering cassettes that he had been carrying. The concierge, Jay Hastings, first started to make a tourniquet, but upon ripping open Lennon's blood-stained shirt and realizing the severity of his multiple injuries, he covered Lennon's chest with his uniform jacket, removed his blood-covered glasses, and summoned the police.
Dr. Stephan Lynn received Lennon in the emergency room at
. When Lennon arrived, he had no pulse and was not breathing. Dr.
Lynn and two other doctors worked for nearly 20 minutes, opening Lennon's chest
and attempting manual heart massage to restore circulation, but the damage to
the blood vessels around the heart was too great. Lennon was pronounced dead on
arrival in the emergency room at the Roosevelt Hospital at 11:15 pm by Dr.
Lynn, but the time of 11:07 pm has also been reported. The cause of
death was reported as hypovolemic shock; caused by the loss of more than 80% of
blood volume. Roosevelt Hospital
The surgeon also noted—as did other witnesses—that at the moment Lennon was pronounced dead a Beatles song ("All My Loving") came over the hospital's sound system.
The Beatles were an English rock band formed in
Liverpool in 1960. They became the most commercially successful and
critically acclaimed act in the history of popular music. Their best-known
lineup consisted of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo
Starr. Rooted in skiffle and 1950s rock and roll, they later utilised several
genres, ranging from pop ballads to psychedelic rock, often incorporating
classical and other elements in innovative ways. In the early 1960s, their
enormous popularity first emerged as "Beatlemania", but as their
songwriting grew in sophistication, they came to be perceived by many fans and
cultural observers as an embodiment of the ideals shared by the era's
They built their reputation playing clubs in
Liverpool and over a three-year period from 1960. Manager Brian Epstein moulded
them into a professional act and producer George Martin enhanced their musical
potential. They gained popularity in the Hamburg after their first single, "Love Me Do", became a modest
hit in late 1962. They acquired the nickname the "Fab Four" as
Beatlemania grew in United Kingdom over the following year, and by early 1964 they had become
international stars, leading the "British Invasion" into the Britain pop market. From 1965 on, the Beatles produced what many critics
consider their finest material, including the innovative and widely influential
albums Rubber Soul (1965), Revolver (1966), Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club
Band (1967), The Beatles (1968), and United States Abbey Road
(1969). After their break-up in 1970, they each enjoyed successful musical
careers. Lennon died in 1980 after having been shot by a deranged former fan,
and Harrison died of lung cancer in 2001. McCartney and Starr remain active.
The Beatles have had more number-one albums on the British charts and sold more singles in the
any other act. According to the RIAA, as of 2012 they have sold 177 million
units in the UK , more than any other artist. In 2008, they topped Billboard magazine's
list of the all-time most successful "Hot 100" artists. As of 2012,
they hold the record for most number-one hits on the Hot 100 chart with 20.
They have received 7 Grammy Awards from the American National Academy of
Recording Arts and Sciences, an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score and
15 Ivor Novello Awards from the US of
Songwriters, Composers and Authors. Collectively included in Time magazine's
compilation of the 20th century's 100 most influential people, the Beatles are
the best-selling band in history, with EMI Records estimating sales of over one
billion units. British Academy
In My Life by the Beatles
“There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all.”