John Lennon: It Was 30 Years Ago Today

This is the 8th year I am blogging on December 8 about the death of John Lennon, and how for me, it's a day of both sadness and celebration. (2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009.) Probably everyone over 40 remembers that night and where they were when they heard the shocking news. [More...]

Here is the video of Howard Cosell making the announcement on Monday Night Football.

Here's Yoko Ono today in the New York Times: The Tea Maker, on their last night together. If you are in New York and want to attend a memorial event, here's a list.

I can't really say it better than I said here:

There are millions of people in this world whose lives were enriched by John Lennon, his persona and his music. He told his truth and it was the truth of an entire generation. His death was a tragedy, but his life was an inspiration. His legacy is timeless.

R.I.P. John Lennon, and Happy 30th Birthday to Nic, the TL kid (who at the age of 30 has probably earned a title other than "the TL Kid.")

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    I was 22, living off campus, dirt-poor (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by SeeEmDee on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 09:36:45 AM EST
    and bumming a ride with with friends in a car when I heard over the radio that he'd been shot. Felt like a punch in the gut. I thought "Now they'll never get together again, even if they wanted to."

    Growing up during a period of assassinations (JFK, MLK, RFK, etc.) and social turbulence (riots, massive protests against the VN War, etc.), I had this weird feeling then that that was how it goes in the world. Just like the old Soviets, it seemed this country killed the best we had. How's that for twisted?

    That is a lot how I felt too (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by ruffian on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 09:42:13 AM EST
    I definitely put it in that context.

    I was at a Stevie Wonder concert (none / 0) (#4)
    by shoephone on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 03:08:45 AM EST
    at the Oakland Coliseum. So, Stevie broke the news to the crowd just before his encores.

    It seems like yesterday... (none / 0) (#5)
    by sneezy on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 08:06:05 AM EST
    I had just turned 20 and was living in a tiny dorm room at college and saw the news on a tiny black and white TV.  John Lennon was one of those people you couldn't imagine would ever be gone.

    I read Talkleft everyday, but rarely comment.  Jeralyn, thanks for this annual tribute to Lennon and Nic - it's a regular part of my year now and I love the story of how you went into labor.

    Peace to all!

    I hit me today (none / 0) (#6)
    by jbindc on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 08:16:40 AM EST
    That I am now older than he was at his death.  He seems so much older in terms of worldliness and life experience.

    Can't believe it's been 30 years.

    I didn't realize TL kid was born then (none / 0) (#7)
    by ruffian on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 08:35:14 AM EST
    I must have missed your previous posts. I can't think of an adjective for it - inspiring, lovely, or just plain cool.

    I was in a programming class that night, in California at the time.  Someone heard about it on the radio and told the class. The thing I remember best was that the next day when I was at work cleaning houses one of my customers had the recent Playboy magazine with a long article and interview with John, which I took a break and read. At my age at the time, 21, I had only a surface knowledge of the Beatles and Lennon. They were childhood staples, so not really revolutionary to me. I appreciate them a lot more now.

    I wish he had been around to continue his influence in the music world and culture.

    Two years after he was shot (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Peter G on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 10:04:16 PM EST
    was when my spouse was due to deliver our first.  At the suggestion of our doc, we prepared casette tapes (a "mix tape" it would be called later) of many hours of our favorite music, to play while we waited and labored in the brand new "birthing suite" at the hospital which we would basically be breaking in.  We were there almost 23 hours, as it turned out.  Just as "Imagine" came around for the second time, our Cecilia decided it was time to be born.

    Wondering about this part: (none / 0) (#27)
    by oculus on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 10:48:36 PM EST
    while we waited and labored

    I waited (and supported) (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Peter G on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 11:02:25 PM EST
    while Anna labored ... It was a very long labor, and she opted not to induce or rush it.

    I was only 3... (none / 0) (#8)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 08:43:35 AM EST
    you don't know how lucky you guys are to have been able to share a world with John Lennon...all the hope, promise, love, and imagination he represented and shared...my generation had no artist comparable to John Lennon...he was a once in a dozen life times.

    lost interview in rolling stone (none / 0) (#9)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 08:57:11 AM EST
    from three days before he died:

    "These critics with the illusions they've created about artists -- it's like idol worship," he said. "They only like people when they're on their way up ... I cannot be on the way up again.

    "What they want is dead heroes, like Sid Vicious and James Dean. I'm not interesting in being a dead (expletive) hero. .. So forget 'em, forget 'em."

    everyone over 40 remembers (none / 0) (#10)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 09:03:55 AM EST
    I not only remember it I was living just a few blocks from the Dakota when it happened.  I was at work at the time.  I was working a second shift job (which is the best hours to work in Manhattan if you are young and like to club).

    My spouse happened to be (none / 0) (#13)
    by oculus on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 10:29:21 AM EST
    In Manhattan then for a conference. Wonder if he is telling people about that today.

    it was a very strange night in NY (none / 0) (#14)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 10:32:49 AM EST
    me and couple of friends went by the building after I got off work.  no idea why.   then we got drunk.  as I suspect many others did.

    I think many of us felt as someone expressed upthread that it was just a continuation of Kennedy/King.
    and there really was no hope.


    He ruffled some feathers (none / 0) (#15)
    by brodie on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 10:52:09 AM EST
    in very high places apparently, particularly those with an already deeply formed personal paranoia and those in powerful positions who didn't care for what they considered his type of dangerous outspokenness.

    Like all truth tellers, they need to always take care to have their horses saddled and watered.  Unfortunately, JL probably had the not unreasonable feeling that the ones who get bumped off are the full-time political types, not the artists.

    he was (none / 0) (#16)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 10:54:10 AM EST
    becoming a full time political type.  I doubt he would have been surprised.

    He was more overtly (none / 0) (#18)
    by brodie on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 11:09:13 AM EST
    politically active, by far, in the early 70s.  Then he dropped out of sight for years, there was the immigration issue he had to deal with which hampered political activism except to speak out for basic free speech rights.  Then the birth of his second son and the time away as a "house husband."

    He'd really disappeared from the scene from roughly 1975-1980, then towards the end of '80 put out his first album in years.  At the time of his murder, he was working on a follow up album.  Not political protests at political conventions, as in 1972, but making music.  

    I suspect the serious immigration challenge by Nixon et al really shook him up.  My sense of it is that thereafter, his rather outspoken and sharp-edged political involvement was pulled back, deliberately.


    I think his murder was the demarcation point (none / 0) (#17)
    by ruffian on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 10:59:49 AM EST
    when celebs realized they could be knocked off just because they could be an object of obsession for the murderer, and not for any particular viewpoint the celebs held. It must be a scary feeling.

    Could be, although (none / 0) (#19)
    by brodie on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 11:11:01 AM EST
    i have never bought the official story about his murderer and the why and how of it.  

    Something rather too neatly "lone nut" about it.  Something Manchurian about the whole thing, imo.


    sad day (none / 0) (#20)
    by jharp on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 12:18:11 PM EST
    I was in my tiny apartment at Ohio State watching Monday night football with friends.

    And Howard Cosell made the announcement.

    Good John Lennon story (none / 0) (#21)
    by ruffian on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 04:15:15 PM EST
    from Ken Levine, writer of MASH and Cheers.

    That was good... (none / 0) (#22)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 04:50:06 PM EST
    He was the anti-superstar in many respects...there's a great scene in one of the docs, I think "US vs. John Lennon", were he's trying to talk and relate to one of the many
    Lucy-fied fans wandering onto his property in England, I mean really trying...where most people in that position would dial 911.  That's special.

    read that and then ... (none / 0) (#23)
    by sj on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 04:55:19 PM EST
    ... followed the links.  Strange and melancholy trip down memory lane.  Which reminds me, I recently rented both "Help!" and "A Hard Day's Night"

    Two things about those movies:  

    1.  They still crack me up, and
    2.  I hadn't realized how much of our (intimate family) lexicon came from those movies.

    Rent them sometime.  "You'll thank me in the end."

    I was at home (none / 0) (#24)
    by Zorba on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 04:57:46 PM EST
    Taking care of my 1 1/2 year old and my 3 year old.  I heard it on the radio, and burst into tears.  I was in high school when they first burst onto the international scene.  I have to admit that I wasn't as enamored of their early work.  But their later work- sheer genius.

    The Music... (none / 0) (#25)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 05:12:06 PM EST