December 8th, 1980. John Lennon leaves his flat near central park and meets a fan on his way out, signing a copy of his recent album release “Double Fantasy”. The fan was Mark David Chapman, and he had other intentions than getting an autograph. On Lennon’s return Chapman shot him 5 times.
Fans all around the world will be celebrating his life today. In London and New York there will be an official musical tribute concert. Balloons will be released from the Albert Dock in Liverpool where John grew up and played his first gigs in his band the Quarrymen with Paul McCartney and later George Harrison.
John Lennon and the Beatles had a big influence on my life. I have all the Beatles’ albums – mostly on vinyl, and a few collected Lennon and McCartney solo works too. I’ve played their music on piano, organ and guitar, and sung their songs in front of classes of French schoolkids learning English. I went on a pilgrimage to Liverpool and drove around with my parents (I was still at junior school at the time) to Menlove Avenue, Strawberry Fields, and Penny Lane. We saw the Magical Mystery Tour bus and the “Beatle City” exhibition. I’ve read books on Lennon’s life and in spite of his drug problems and dabbling with heroin (allegedly) he was a great musician and a major songwriter.
Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.
Itâ€™s getting hard to be someone but it all works out, it doesnâ€™t matter much to me
The irony of the murder is that Mark David Chapman just wanted to be someone, and there it is. He is the man who killed John Lennon, and his name is making headlines 25 years later.
Image credit: Spud Murphy © Yoko Ono Lennon
Lyrics: Strawberry Fields Forever – John Lennon and Paul McCartney