The shocking tale of John Lennon's assassination and its aftermath.
December 8, 2022, at 11 a.m.Pictures of John Lennon and his killer, Mark David Chapman, from right before his murder in 1980. Getty Images/innie Zuffante/Michael Ochs Archives/Bureau of Prisons
In New York City on December 8th, 1980, one of the worst tragedies in rock music history occurred. So, this is what went down.
The death of John Lennon on 8 December 1980 remains the most appalling moments in the long history of rock music Sadly, the world has lost many talented musicians over the years, but it is extremely unusual for a celebrity to be murdered, and even more unusual for the victim to have had as profound an impact on the worlds of music, art, and culture as did John Lennon.
A lot more than just a famous band, the Beatles Their innovations in art, style, drugs, and faith had far-reaching consequences. Without the seismic shifts The Beatles wrought in the 1960s, your favorite band in 2020 would be severely limited in their ability to perform.
As a result, an entire generation was shocked by Lennon's murder at age 40 on the New York City doorstep of his home. Why did this occur Who could do something so horrible?Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon, and Ringo Starr in 1965, when they were at the height of their popularity. Photo by: Alamy Stock Photo / Granger Historical Picture Archive
The death of Lennon was all the more tragic because he had just begun his comeback to the music industry after a five-year hiatus. His deal with EMI came to an end with the release of his greatest hits album, Shaved Fish, in 1975. After Apple was officially dissolved the following year, Lennon was no longer obligated to any record labels. His chains had been broken
He even took a break from the entertainment industry. He cared for his newborn son Sean, who was born in October 1975. Lennon was granted permanent residency in the United States in July 1976 after years of trying to obtain a green card. With the freedom to travel as he pleased, he left the United States and went to Japan to see Yoko Ono's family.Photo taken on November 2, 1980, of John Lennon and Yoko Ono Picture: Photographer: Jack Mitchell/Getty Images
Before Sean turned five years old in the summer of 1980, Lennon returned to songwriting and spent some time in Bermuda working on new material. John's inspired output resulted in two full albums' worth of music.
John and Yoko intended for Double Fantasy to be an album that featured the musical contributions of both of them, so they made it between August and October 1980 at New York's Hit Factory studios.
The album's lead single, (Just Like) Starting Over, was reminiscent of the '50s and featured introspective lyrics. Lennon had returned. While some critics panned the album for middle-aged self-indulgence, Beatles fans were ecstatic to see their hero back in the charts, this time going up against his old sparring partner Paul McCartney.
Media outlets were eager to learn more about Lennon's whereabouts during his absence, so the former Beatle granted several interviews. Lennon spent a long time talking about his old band's music with Playboy, but he still maintained that The Beatles didn't have "the answer."
His advice to Playboy's David Sheff: "If the Beatles or the Sixties had a message, it was to learn to swim." Lastly, "Just swim" after you've mastered the skill. Keeping the dream of the '60s or the '60s alive is like carrying the burden of the Second World War and Glenn Miller. You can still enjoy music by Glenn Miller and the Beatles without actually living in their fantasy world. Currently, it lacks life. It's all in your head. "
Some "fans," however, refused to let go of the notion that the Beatles were the wise elder statesmen of their generation.Pictured here are John Lennon and Yoko Ono at New York's Hit Factory on December 6, 1980. Picture: Couple: Mark Hayward and Colleen Redferns
Still receiving a lot of attention from the media as Christmas approached, Lennon and Ono posed for photos with Rolling Stone photographer Annie Liebovitz in their Dakota apartment overlooking Central Park.
Then, Lennon and Ono did an interview with radio host Dave Sholin of San Francisco. After admitting he had never done a proper solo tour before, Lennon said he was eager to perform his new music in public. The reason I want to make records so badly is that I feel," he told Sholin and his colleagues. Before going on tour, I'd like to record some more songs. So, before I make that final choice, I'd like to record at least one more album. "
At the end of their conversation, John gave the DJ an autograph and said, "I'm a fan of people, too, you know." A prophetic statement, given the impending events: "I like people to sign their books when they give 'em to me and all that..."
Lennon and Ono left the Dakota around 5 o'clock in the evening after their radio interview had concluded and headed for the Hit Factory, a recording studio across town. There was a song by Yoko called "Walking On Thin Ice" that paid tribute to the "New Wave" bands playing in the hip New York City clubs at the time. Lennon wanted to release the record before the holidays, so the session's focus was on getting it properly mixed.
As the couple made their way out of the Dakota on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, they were met by the usual throng of fans who had begun congregating there ever since Lennon had begun to become a public figure again. Lennon graciously signed the sleeve of a fan's copy of the new album Double Fantasy.
Mark David Chapman was referred to as that fan.John Lennon's killer, Mark Chapman, was arrested in the wee hours of December 9, 1980. Picture: Photographed by the Getty Images Prisons Department
Mark Chapman was a Texan by birth, but he and his wife Gloria settled in Hawaii in 1980. Although he enjoyed the music of the Beatles as a teenager, the 25-year-old now finds John Lennon's claim that the Liverpool band was "more popular than Jesus" offensive.
In 1980, when John began making public appearances again, his hatred for the musician grew. Chapman was baffled by the fact that the author of "All You Need Is Love" was now a New York City multimillionaire.
In October of 1980, Chapman made the trip to the city with the intention of murdering the ex-Beatle. However, he eventually changed his mind and went back home. On December 6th, Chapman took a trip to New York City, this time accompanied by a Nothing could stop him from completing his terrible mission, not even a.38 caliber revolver.
Some of Chapman's belongings, including a book by American author J. D Author: Salinger, "The Catcher in the Rye" The killer later claimed that the book, which was first published in 1951 and follows a troubled teen named Holden Caulfield as he rails against all the "phonies" he meets, would serve as his "statement." It's no secret that the short novel has a strong following among the world's adolescent disaffected population. When it came to Lennon, Chapman thought he was a "phony."During the August 1980 recording of Double Fantasy, John Lennon and Yoko Ono departed New York's Hit Factory. Picture: Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives/Vinnie Zuffante
Mark Chapman spent most of Monday, December 8 waiting with the other Beatles fans outside the Dakota building to catch a glimpse of their idol. Even though he didn't see Lennon, he did get to see John and Yoko's son Sean and their nanny arrive at the apartment later that morning.Paul Goresh was one of the many fans who waited outside John Lennon's house on a regular basis; he was also present the night the former Beatle was murdered. This photo was taken in 1980. Stock Image by Everett Collection Inc/Alamy
Assassin Mark David Chapman was so thrilled to meet a Beatle that he shot John Lennon as he left the building that night to have him sign his album. His mood shifted later that night, however.
Around 10 After successfully mixing Walking On Thin Ice, John Lennon and Yoko Ono rode back to the Dakota in their limousine at 10:50 that night. John thought this record was Yoko's best shot at a number one single. The couple crossed the sidewalk and entered the building through an archway.
Mark Chapman was walking by John Lennon when he pulled out his revolver and pumped five bullets into Lennon's back. When the bullets hit their target, they would explode into shrapnel, earning them the name "hollow-point."
Lennon arrived at the Dakota with a stumbling start, and the doorman, Jose Perdomo, heard the commotion and rushed to assist him. Officers from the New York Police Department arrived promptly. Officer James Moran was one of those who approached the unconscious man and yelled, "Are you John Lennon?" According to reports, Lennon answered yes. "Seal of the Charter Mark Chapman shot John Lennon with a 38 Special. Picture: Source: Getty Images, Jack Smith/The New York Daily News Archives
Meanwhile, Chapman had taken off his jacket and was standing under a lamp reading The Catcher in the Rye when doorman Jose Perdomo came across him. Jose, distraught and bewildered, asked the young man, "Do you know what you've just done?" Chapman's cool response to your question: "Yes I recently murdered John Lennon. "
By the time he got to Roosevelt Hospital ten minutes later, John Lennon was already dead. After nearly twenty minutes of trying to save his life, the Beatle was pronounced dead in the emergency room as bullets tore through his body. More than 80% of Lennon's blood supply had been lost, according to the autopsy.Large crowds gather outside the Dakota on December 9, 1980, after hearing the news of John Lennon's death. Illustration by MARKA / Alamy Stock Photo
When told the news, Yoko Ono was devastated. Before Sean could hear it from the media, she had to break the news to her five-year-old son that his father had died.Liverpool Echo announces the passing of a local legend. Stock Image by Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy
The news that one of The Beatles had been murdered spread quickly across the United States when it was announced during Monday Night Football. The UK, where Lennon was born, learned the news early Monday. On the early morning of Tuesday, December 9, 1980, John's other son, Julian, his aunt Mimi, and his former bandmates were informed.On December 9, 1980, at Heathrow Airport, Julian Lennon waited for a flight to New York. Photograph by David Parker / Alamy Stock Photo
After everything we went through together, I had and still have great love and respect for him," George Harrison said in a statement. I am completely taken aback In an effort to be with Yoko Ono, Ringo Starr and his wife Barbara Bach hurried to the Dakota.Paul McCartney is photographed on Oxford Street in London, leaving a recording studio in a state of apparent distress after hearing the news of John Lennon's death. Picture: Getty
On his way out of a studio, Paul McCartney was greeted by a swarm of reporters. McCartney was unable to express his sorrow over Lennon's death and instead responded flippantly, saying, "Drag, isn't it?" He immediately felt bad about what he had said, but he was able to properly honor his fallen comrade in the song Here Today.
John Lennon was cremated privately, with no public services. However, on December 14, 1980, Yoko and Sean held a ten-minute silent vigil in honor of the late Beatle. Lennon's memorial, Strawberry Fields, can be found in Central Park across from the Dakota.The Dakota, where John Lennon lived in New York City, is seen in the background as a woman places flowers at the Imagine memorial in Central Park. Picture: Image by Susan Watts/NYDailyNews Archive/Getty Images
Lennon's music was ubiquitous in the UK. One sad song, "(Just Like) Starting Over," topped the charts that Christmas, followed by the timeless classic "Imagine," which remained at the top for four weeks. Then, Woman, also from Double Fantasy, surpassed Imagine as the most popular song.
John's final recordings were released in 1984 as the album Milk And Honey. And Yoko had her smash with the early 1981 release of Walking On Thin Ice (with the subtitle "For John").John and Yoko in 1980 New York Moviestore Collection Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
Mark Chapman spent countless hours being interviewed by psychiatrists appointed by the court on behalf of both the defense and the prosecution. While the prosecution insisted Chapman was mentally fit to stand trial, the defense called him a paranoid schizophrenic. Chapman voluntarily entered a guilty plea and received a sentence of 20 years to life in prison for the murder he committed.
After 42 years in prison for the murder, Chapman was finally eligible for parole again in 2022. In 2024, at age 69, Chapman will be eligible for parole once more.
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