Update – Thirty-two years ago, on December 8th 1980, former Beatle John Lennon was murdered in front of his apartment building at the Dakota, on the upper west side of Manhattan, near Central Park.
The details of his apparent assassination are perfectly grisly, and today is not the day for reviewing them, it is a day to remember the man who was John Lennon.
John Lennon; Poet, Musician, Pacifist, Activist, Hippie, Hero, Visionary, Man of Peace and Love, Loving Husband, Father, Son.
John Winston Lennon was born on October 9th 1940, and was 40 years old at the time of his death on December 8th 1980.
He was born and raised in Liverpool, England, primarily by his mother, Julia. His father, Alfred, was a merchant seaman, and was at sea most of the time. With the advent of World War 2, this continued until he went MIA. He returned 6 months later, only to abandon the family, and eventually try to spirit John away to New Zealand.
Julia Lennon prevented this, and John spent the rest of his childhood being raised by his Aunt and Uncle, Mimi and George Smith.
His mother taught him to play the banjo, and played Elvis Presley records for him, making Elvis one of his first musical influences.
He received his first guitar in 1956, a present from his mother.
Julia Lennon died when John was only 17 years old, on July 15th 1958. She was struck and killed by a car while walking home from visiting John.
John’s first band was called the Blackjacks, a British Skiffle and Rock & Roll band formed in 1956, which would eventually become The Quarryman, Lennon’s first professional band.
Paul McCartney joined the group in October 1957, with George Harrison joining the band in early 1958. They changed the group’s name in 1960, first to the Silver Beetles, before finally settling on just “The Beatles”.
And the rest as they say, is history.
The Beatles recorded and released 27 albums in their 9 years together, an accomplishment never again reached by anyone.
The group disbanded in 1969, and John Lennon embarked on his successful solo career, along with his second wife, Yoko Ono.
Lennon had been previously married to Cynthia Powell, and they had a son, Julian Lennon, a professional musician in his own right.
The Beatles song ‘Hey Jude,’ written by Paul McCartney, was written about Julian, and was originally titled, ‘ Hey Jules,’ but later changed to Jude as the word Jules didn’t seem to fit. The song is one of the Beatles classics.
Lennon released his first solo album in 1970, titled John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, to critical acclaim, and his second album, Imagine, was released in 1971, and became a anthem for the anti-war movement, and so began John’s life as an anti-war activist, peacenik, and pacifist.
He released 4 more albums between 1971 and 1975, Some Time in New York City (1972), Mind Games (1973), Walls and Bridges (1974) and Rock ‘n’ Roll (1975).
From 1975 to 1980 Lennon took a hiatus from the music industry, preferring instead to help with the child rearing of his newborn son, Sean.
In October 1980, John and Yoko released the single, “(Just Like) Starting Over” and In November of that year, released the album, “Double Fantasy,” a compilation of songs about the new found stability of Lennon’s family life and the personal gratification he derived from this process.
Then on December 8th 1980, at roughly 11pm, returning from a recording session at the Record Plant, John Winston Lennon was shot and killed by Mark David Chapman as he entered his apartment building, The Dakota. Chapman shot Lennon four times in the back, missing with the fifth shot.
On that fateful night, a prophet was taken from our society. Lennon, a man of peace and love, whose music and teachings are still valid today, and are followed by many, myself included.
In conclusion, the thought has crossed my mind in regards to what the world of today would be like had John Lennon not been killed.
Our current Planetary Global Warming situation comes to mind.
Had Lennon lived, he never would have let it happen, he would have ascended to the highest mountaintop, and shouted down to the masses to not let it happen, and I believe he would have been successful.
Article by Jim Donahue