The shocking tale of John Lennon's assassination and its aftermath.
At 11 a.m. on December 8, 2022John Lennon and his killer, Mark David Chapman, in the months before his murder in 1980. Photo by innie Zuffante/Bureau of Prisons/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
New York City experienced one of the worst days in rock 'n' roll history on December 8th, 1980. So, this is what went down.
Tragic events in rock music's long history don't get much worse than John Lennon's death on December 8, 1980. Many talented musicians have passed away over the years, but it is 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.
They weren't just a famous band that played pop music. They took risks in the arts, including music, fashion, drugs, and religion, that had lasting effects. If it weren't for the way The Beatles shook up the world in the 1960s, your favorite band in 2020 wouldn't be able to do half the things they can do now.
As a result, an entire generation was shocked by Lennon's murder at the age of 40 on the New York City doorstep of his home. Why did this occur If you had to guess who would do something so horrible, you'd probably say:Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon, and Ringo Starr in 1965, when they were at the height of their popularity Stock Image by Alamy, via the Granger Historical Picture Archive
Lennon's untimely demise was all the more tragic given that the musician had only recently resumed his career in music 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. Lennon was free from any contractual obligations to a record label after the Beatles' Apple company was formally dissolved the following year. When he finally broke free,
After that, he took a break from the entertainment industry. 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. Having gained the freedom to travel wherever he pleased, he decided to leave the United States and pay a visit to Yoko Ono's family in Japan.Photographed by Robert Frank on November 2, 1980: John Lennon and Yoko Ono Picture: Getty Images/Jack Mitchell
When Sean was four years old, John Lennon returned to songwriting and spent the summer of 1980 in Bermuda working on new material. John's inspiration led to the creation of enough music for two albums.
From August to October of 1980, John and Yoko recorded at New York City's Hit Factory to create the album that would become known as Double Fantasy.
The album's lead single, (Just Like) Starting Over, was reminiscent of the '50s and featured introspective lyrics. He was back; Lennon While some critics panned the album for being middle-aged self-indulgent, Beatles fans were ecstatic to see their hero back in the charts, this time going up against his old sparring partner Paul McCartney.
As a result of widespread interest in what the ex-Beatle had been up to during his absence, John Lennon granted numerous interviews. Lennon had a long chat with Playboy about the songs of his former band, the Beatles, but insisted that they didn't have "the answer."
According to his interview with David Sheff of Playboy, "if the Beatles or the Sixties had a message, it was to learn to swim." "And when you learn to swim, you should swim." The dream of the Beatles or the Sixties is like carrying the burden of World War II and Glenn Miller for the rest of your life. Don't get me wrong, listening to Glenn Miller or the Beatles is fine, but actually inhabiting that fantasy world is where the twilight zone begins. No longer a living thing Just a mirage "
Some "fans," however, refused to let go of the notion that the Beatles were the wise elder statesmen of their generation.New York, 6 December 1980: John Lennon and Yoko Ono at the Hit Factory. Picture: Hayward/Redferns, Mark and Colleen
Lennon was still the subject of intense media scrutiny in the weeks leading up to Christmas, so he and Ono posed for a photo shoot with Annie Liebovitz for Rolling Stone in their Dakota building apartment overlooking Central Park.
Then, Lennon and Ono did an interview with radio host Dave Sholin of San Francisco. Lennon said in the conversation that he was eager to perform his new music live for the first time because he had never gone on a proper solo tour before. When asked how he felt, he told Sholin and his team, "I'm so hungry for making records because of the way I feel." For my next tour, I'd like to record a few more songs." So, I'd like to record one more album before settling on a final option. "
At the end of their conversation, John gave the DJ an autograph and said, "I'm a fan of people, too, you know." It was a prophetic statement, considering what was about to occur: "I like people to sign their books when they give 'em to me and all that..."
Lennon and Ono left the Dakota around 5 p.m. after the radio interview ended and headed across town to the Hit Factory studio. Walking On Thin Ice was Yoko's ode to the "New Wave" bands like The B52s that could be heard in the hippest clubs in New York. Lennon wanted to release the record before the holidays, so the session's focus was on getting it properly mixed.
The couple left the Dakota and passed through the crowd of people who had gathered outside the building on the Upper West Side of New York City ever since Lennon had begun to re-enter the public eye. Lennon graciously signed the sleeve of a fan's copy of the new album Double Fantasy.
Mark David Chapman was the name of the fan.The man who shot and killed John Lennon, Mark Chapman, was taken into custody early on December 9th, 1980. Picture: /Getty Images for the Bureau of Prisons
Born in Texas, Mark Chapman and his wife Gloria relocated to Hawaii in 1980. His teenage years were spent appreciating the music of the Beatles, but as a newly converted Christian, he found John Lennon's claim that the Liverpool band was "more popular than Jesus" in 1966 to be offensive. He is now 25 years old.
As of 1980, when John was once again making public appearances, his hatred for the musician only 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 former Beatle. However, he eventually changed his mind and went back home. In the sixth of December, Chapman took a trip to New York City with a With his 38-caliber revolver in hand, he could not be stopped from completing his terrible mission.
Chapman abandoned his luggage and a copy of a book by American writer J. D The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger The murderer claimed after the fact that the book would serve as his "statement"; it was written by and follows troubled teen Holden Caulfield as he rants against everyone he encounters as "phonies"; it was first published in 1951. For decades, this short novel has been a go-to for lost and lonely teens everywhere. To Chapman, Lennon was a total "phony."During the August 1980 recording of Double Fantasy, John Lennon and Yoko Ono departed New York's Hit Factory. Picture: Photograph by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images/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. 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 with John Lennon in 1980. Goresh was a dedicated fan who waited outside the former Beatle's house on a regular basis and was present the night of the star's death. Featured image courtesy of Everett Collection Inc / Alamy Stock Photo.
It was the thrill of meeting a Beatle that led Lennon to sign Chapman's album as he was leaving the building that fateful evening. But by the evening, he was in a different frame of mind
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. According to John, this album was Yoko's best shot at finally breaking through. The two passed through the entrance archway and onto the pavement beyond.
Mark Chapman saw John Lennon walking by and promptly shot him five times in the back with his revolver. These were "hollow-point" bullets, which meant that they would shatter upon impact.
Jose Perdomo, the doorman at the Dakota Hotel, heard Lennon's stumbling as he entered the lobby and hurried over to assist. 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. "Arms of the Charter Mark Chapman shot John Lennon with a 38 Special. Picture: The New York Daily News Archive/Jack Smith/Getty Images
Doorman Jose Perdomo found Chapman without his coat, reading The Catcher in the Rye under a lamp. Anguished and bewildered, Jose turned to the young man and asked, "Do you know what you've just done?" Chapman's cool response: "Yes" John Lennon was just shot by me. "
By the time he got to Roosevelt Hospital ten minutes later, John Lennon was already dead. The bullets had shredded the Beatle's body, and despite the medics' best efforts, he died in the emergency room after nearly 20 minutes. More than 80% of Lennon's blood supply had been lost, according to the autopsy.Massive 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 learn about his father's death from the media, she had the unthinkable task of breaking the news to her five-year-old son.One of Liverpool's most illustrious sons has passed away, and the Liverpool Echo has the details. 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. Lennon's native United Kingdom was rocked by the news overnight. In the wee hours of Tuesday, December 9, 1980, word reached John's other son, Julian, his Aunt Mimi, and his former bandmates.The photo was taken on December 9, 1980, at Heathrow Airport, where Julian Lennon was waiting for a flight to New York. Photos by David Parker / Alamy Stock Photos
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.After hearing the news of John Lennon's death, a clearly distraught Paul McCartney is photographed leaving a recording studio on London's Oxford Street. Picture: Getty
On his way out of a studio, the press mobbed Paul McCartney. In response to a question about John Lennon's death, Paul McCartney spewed the flippant phrase, "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 observed ten minutes of silence at a 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: Getty Images/Susan Watts/The New York Daily News Archive
Music by John Lennon was ubiquitous in the UK. A sad tone pervaded the holiday season that year, as (Just Like) Starting Over topped the charts, followed by the 1971 classic Imagine. Then, Woman, also from Double Fantasy, surpassed Imagine as the most popular song.
In 1984, the album Milk And Honey was released, featuring the remaining songs that John had recorded before his death. In the beginning of 1981, Yoko's Walking On Thin Ice hit the charts with the subtitle "For John."New York, 1980: John and Yoko. Stock Image by Moviestore Collection Ltd/Alamy
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 pled guilty on his own accord, and he was given a sentence that ranged from twenty to life in prison.
Chapman was eligible for parole for the twelfth time in 2022, forty-two years after the murder. In 2024, when he will be 69 years old, Chapman will be up for parole again.
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