John Lennon: Age 40 | Cause Of Death: GUNSHOT
(b. 9 October 1940, Liverpool, d. 8 December 1980, New York)
Following the painful collapse of the Beatles, he came out a wiser but angrier person. Together with his wife Yoko Ono, he attempted to transform the world through non-musical means. Their bed-in in Amsterdam and Montreal, their black bag appearances on stage, their innocent flirting with political activists and radicals, all received massive media attention. Lennon’s solo career began with UNFINISHED MUSIC NO 1—TWO VIRGINS. The sleeve depicted him and Yoko standing naked. Give Peace a Chance, Cold Turkey arrived via the Plastic Ono Band, consisting of John, Yoko, Eric Clapton, Klaus Voorman and drummer Alan White. Lennon’s incorrigible wit worked when he sent back his MBE to the Queen, protesting about the Biafran war, Britain supporting the American involvement in Vietnam and Cold Turkey slipping down the charts. The release of JOHN LENNON— PLASTIC ONO BAND in January 1971 was a shock to the system for most Beatles’ fans. This stark ‘primal scream’ album was recorded following treatment with Dr. Arthur Janov. It is as brilliant as it is disturbing. John poured out much of his bitterness from his childhood and adolescence. Lennon’s Dylanesque Working Class Hero is another stand-out track, in less vitriolic tone he croons ‘A working class hero is something to be, if you want to be a hero then just follow me’; the irony is that John was text-book middle-class and his agony was that he wanted to be working class. 1971 was to be his most creative year; following the album was another strong single Power To The People and after his move to New York, IMAGINE was released in October. The title track, however, remains as one of his greatest songs. The following year SOMETIME IN NEW YORK CITY was issued; this double set contained a number of political songs, and was written during the peak of Lennon’s involvement with yippie-radical, Jerry Rubin. The album’s strongest track is yet another song with one of Lennon’s statement-like titles; Woman Is the Nigger Of The World. The following year he embarked on his struggle against deportation and the fight for his famous ‘green card’. At the end of a comparatively quiet 1973, John released MIND GAMES, an album that highlighted problems between him and Yoko. Shortly after Lennon left for his ‘lost weekend’ and spent many months in Los Angeles in a haze of drugs and alcohol. During a brief sober moment he produced Nilsson’s PUSSYCATS. At the end of a dreadful year, John released WALLS AND BRIDGES, which contained more marital material and a surprise US number 1, Whatever Gets You Through The Night. That month (November 1974), he made his last-ever concert appearance when he appeared onstage at Madison Square Garden with Elton John. That night John was reunited with Yoko and in his words ‘the separation failed’. Following the birth of their son Sean, John became a house husband, while Yoko looked after their not inconsiderable business interests. Five years later, a new album was released to a relieved public and went straight to number 1, Double Fantasy.
~Music Central 96
Still in a creative frenzy, the couple were already at work on their next project when, coming home late from a session, Lennon was hailed by a fan to whom he’d given an autograph earlier that day [photo], Mark David Chapman. Lennon turned and Chapman shot him five times with a .38 revolver. Lennon was rushed to the hospital but pronounced dead on arrival from a massive loss of blood. Chapman later claimed it was Lennon’s remarks in 1966 on Jesus that drove him to his act, but more likely he was just a schnook in search of fame. He found it.
~Jeff Pike’s, Death of Rock & Roll
Fuller Up The Dead Musicians Directory
John Winston Ono Lennon
Died: December 08, 1980
Cause Of Death: GUNSHOT
LENNON KILLER HAD HIT LIST OF CELEBS
Thursday, October 12, 2000
By KENNETH LOVETT
ALBANY – John Lennon’s murderer said he had a backup hit list in case he was unable to get to the legendary former Beatle.
Mark David Chapman spoke of the list of other celebrities in a parole hearing last week. The transcript of that 50-minute closed-door hearing was released to The Post yesterday.
Chapman, serving a life sentence in Attica prison for the 1980 murder, was denied release by a three-member state Parole Board panel. He’s eligible for another hearing in two years.
Chapman told the panel that within a month of deciding to kill Lennon, he thought up “a substitute list” consisting of several names.
“Probably, I thought he wouldn’t be an attainable type of thing, and I did think of harming some people,” he told the board.
He listed three names, which state officials blacked out from the transcript and would not release, and said there were several others he could not remember.
While none of the three other Beatles were on the list, sources said, Jack Jones, an author who has chronicled Chapman for 16 years, said Jackie Onassis, George C. Scott and Johnny Carson were among those considered killed.
The inmate cited feelings such as “vanity,” “jealousy,” “anger” and “stupidity” as reasons he wanted to kill Lennon and other celebrities.
While he said he was not asking the board to release him, Chapman insisted that he poses no threat to Lennon’s family or other celebrities if paroled.
During the hearing, the pudgy 45-year-old detailed his mental state leading up to the high-profile murder.
He said his desire to kill Lennon began after seeing photos of the pop icon standing in front of the singer’s Dakota apartment building in a book called “One Day at a Time.”
“I took it upon myself to judge him falsely for … being something other than, you know, in a lotus position with a flower, and I got angry in my stupidity,” he said.
He spoke of an “obsession” on the night he killed Lennon, and claimed he heard a small voice – “probably something very evil” – telling him to “just do it.”
He told the board he never considered the effect the murder would have on Lennon’s family and friends.
Prison life the first few years was hard, and he said he experienced fits of rage that he learned to quell in the 1980s and ’90s to the point that he says he is now free from any mental illness.
Chapman said a recent statement from Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, that she was violently shaking after witnessing the murder haunted him so much he said he considered skipping his parole hearing.
He reiterated earlier statements that he belongs in prison, and is lucky to be alive.
“I believe once you take a person’s life, there’s no way you can make up for that. Period,” Chapman said.
He also apologized to Ono, who in a letter asked the board to deny Chapman release for a recent statement in which he suggested Lennon would forgive him and want to see him freed.
“Maybe it wasn’t my right to speak my own crime victim’s words,” he said.
Text of Chapman Parole Decision
Tuesday October 3, 2000 3:14 PM ET
By The Associated Press
Here is the text of the decision of a New York State Division of Parole board to deny parole to John Lennon’s killer, Mark David Chapman.
The parole board was headed by R. Guy Vizzie.
The other members were W. William Smith Jr. and Daniel J. Doyle.
Parole is denied. You murdered the victim, John Lennon, when you fired a .38 special caliber Charter Arm revolver, filled with hollow-point bullets. You discharged all five chambers and hit Mr. Lennon as many as four times. Mr. Lennon was returning to his residence and was in the company of his wife when you committed this murder. This act was calculated and unprovoked. You had planned this crime for a protracted period of time and it is apparent that you were obsessed in causing fatal harm to John Lennon. In addition to being an international celebrity, Mr. Lennon was a husband and a father of two young children.
During your incarceration, you have maintained an exemplary disciplinary record which this panel has noted and considered. This panel also recognizes that, because of your continued special housing status, you have been unable to avail yourself of anti-violence and/or anti-aggression programming.
Your most vicious and violent act was apparently fueled by your need to be acknowledged. During your parole hearing, this panel noted your continued interest in maintaining your notoriety.
When all factors are reviewed, your discretionary release is determined to be inappropriate. Additionally, this panel strongly believes that your release to parole supervision at this time would deprecate the seriousness of the crime and serve to undermine respect for the law.
SOURCE: New York State Division of Parole.
Lennon's Killer Asks for Release
October 3, 2000
By CAROLYN THOMPSON, Associated Press Writer
ATTICA, N.Y. (AP) – Mark David Chapman, the man who shot John Lennon to death 20 years ago, sought parole for the first time Tuesday.
Chapman was interviewed for 50 minutes Tuesday morning at the maximum-security Attica state prison by three parole board members, said Tom Grant, a spokesman for the state Division of Parole.
Grant said the decision will probably be made public Wednesday morning, after Chapman is notified.
Chapman, 45, is serving 20 years to life in Attica for slaying Lennon outside the rock star’s Manhattan apartment in 1980. If he is denied parole, Chapman will probably be ordered held for two more years before he gets another hearing.
He was expected to claim that he has become a born-again Christian who should be paroled so he can spread a message of love and forgiveness. He recently said in an interview that Lennon would have wanted him to be released.
But the odds are strongly against Chapman’s release now or ever, said inmate advocate Robert Gangi of the Correctional Association of New York.
Gangi said those who committed violent crimes in New York are almost never granted release on their initial parole hearing. The notoriety of Chapman’s crime just worsens his chances, he said.
“The fact that it was John Lennon … eliminates any hope for even a slim chance for Chapman being released,” Gangi said. “The parole board is not going to risk the political heat by releasing Chapman.”
Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, had written a letter to the parole board about Chapman’s hearing. Her spokesman Eliot Mintz did not immediately return telephone calls for comment Tuesday.
State Sen. Michael F. Nozzolio, chairman of the Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee, had asked parole authorities to deny Chapman’s bid.
“John Lennon represented a vision of hope, peace and love,” Nozzolio, wrote to Parole Board Chairman Brion Travis.
“Tragically, his positive message and his life were fatally ended by Mark David Chapman,” Nozzolio wrote. “It is the responsibility of the New York State Parole Board to ensure that public safety is protected from the release of dangerous criminals like Mark David Chapman.”
Lennon was shot by Chapman outside his Manhattan apartment building in December 1980. Some fans who gathered Tuesday at Central Park’s Strawberry Fields, which is dedicated to Lennon, said they hoped Chapman would be denied parole.
“I don’t think they should ever let the guy out,” said Rod Hanson. “It was a tragic loss to everybody, not just Beatles fans.”
If the parole board grants Chapman’s release, he would leave Attica Dec. 4 after arranging for a job and a place to live, Grant said. Chapman would be under the supervision of a parole officer the rest of his life.
LENNON KILLER'S WILD DREAMS ABOUT YOKO
By BILL HOFFMANN
John Lennon’s killer has had bizarre dreams of returning to the scene where he blew away the famed Beatle – and having widow Yoko Ono lovingly embrace him.
“I’ve had that dream several times,” Mark David Chapman says of going back to the Dakota apartment house on Central Park West.
“In it, Yoko Ono is friendly to me and I am, you know, accepted in the home and feel loved.”
Chapman, serving life at upstate Attica prison, bared his thoughts one week before he’s scheduled to go before the parole board in a bid to win his freedom.
Ono has asked the board to keep her husband’s killer behind bars.
The 45-year-old convict, who hopes to be sprung after 20 years behind bars, says Lennon may have been just a stand-in for his skirt-chasing dad, whom Chapman hated
and wanted to kill.
The pudgy-faced assassin also bares the diabolical death plan he’d cooked up for his dad:
“I wanted to go hold a gun to his head, make him beg. Blow him away. I was really mad at him.
Chapman, who’s in protective custody at Attica, regularly receives hate mail and is despised by some inmates.
“There’s always that potential person who wants to make a name for himself by saying, ‘I’m the guy who killed the guy who killed the guy,'” he says.
Only 25 years old when he shot Lennon, Chapman argues he’s no longer a threat to society and could never kill again.
“I’m nobody. I’m no celebrity. I did what anybody could have done. There’s no talent here. In fact, there’s a lot of stupidity, a lot of insanity,” he insists.
“Nothing was accomplished. Nothing at all. Just a bunch of garbage. That’s it.”
Chapman is still married to a Hawaii travel agent he wed six months before killing Lennon. He hopes to have kids with her if he ever gets out, he says.
Lennon Killer Says Dad Didn't Love Him
(9/27/00, 3 p.m. ET) – The man convicted of killing former Beatle John Lennon is continuing his media campaign to win parole, and in his latest interview he’s blaming his problems on that most common of scapegoats–his father. “I think the main problem was that my father never talked about life or problems. He didn’t talk too much,”
Mark David Chapman told Court TV during an interview from the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York. “Never ‘I love you’ or anything like that. And, I guess, the more I look back on it, I didn’t feel any love from him.”
Chapman–who has become a Christian activist since being imprisoned for shooting Lennon in New York City on December 8, 1980–said his resentment toward his father runs so deep that he even fantasized about killing him, too. “I wanted to go hold a gun to his head, make him beg, blow him away. I was really mad at him [for] not having any money for my mother, getting divorced, and supposedly selling the house and spending the money on a fling or something. Perhaps, I was getting him back [by] killing John Lennon, ruining my life as well.”
During the interview, Chapman also described the events of the day he killed Lennon, including having the musician sign an album for him on the same afternoon. “I grabbed the album I had leaning against the rail and I said, ‘John, would you sign my album?’ He said, ‘Sure,’ and wrote his name and he handed it back to me. He looked at me and nodded his head down and said, ‘Is that all you want?’. . .It was a ruse. I really didn’t want his signature, I wanted his life. And I ended up taking both.”
Chapman’s full Court TV interview will air Monday (October 2) as part of the documentary Death Of A Beatle. Chapman’s parole hearing is scheduled for Tuesday (October 3), and Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono has written a letter to the parole board which is thought to oppose Chapman’s release. In other interviews, Chapman has theorized that Lennon would have forgiven him and supported his parole bid, but in an interview with The New York Post, Elliot Mintz, a spokesman for Lennon and Ono, said, “John would have loved to have been here to speak for himself.”
'I Deserve to Die' - John Lennon's Killer
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The man who gunned down John Lennon two decades ago says he deserved to be executed for murdering the former Beatle but that Lennon, being a liberal, would probably have wanted him to be released from prison. In an interview published Tuesday, Mark David Chapman also described in chilling detail how he posed as an autograph seeker to get close to the musician outside his New York apartment building on Dec 8, 1980, and shot him in the back. Chapman even recalled how a policeman cursed him after bundling Lennon’s body in a patrol car.
Chapman, 45, has a parole board hearing Oct. 3 that he hopes will allow him to leave New York state’s Attica prison, where he has spent the last 20 years for the murder that stunned the world.
“I should have been executed, you know,” Chapman said. “I’m lucky to be alive. You know I deserve to die.
“I think he (Lennon) would be liberal. I think he would care, I think he would probably want to see me released,” the convicted killer told a reporter from the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle. The interview was re-printed in the New York Daily News on Tuesday.
Chapman was sentenced to life in prison since there have been no executions in New York state for more than 25 years. Under state law he is eligible for parole once he has served 20 years.
In another interview also published on Tuesday, Chapman told London’s Daily Express he might have killed the British musician — who would have been 60 on Oct. 9 — to get back at his own unloving father.
“I think the main problem was that my father never talked about life or problems,” Chapman said. “I guess the more I look back on it, I didn’t feel any love from him,” he said. “Perhaps I was getting him back, killing John Lennon, ruining my life as well.”
Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono, who lives in New York and was with Lennon the night of the shooting, issued a statement saying only: “I do not wish to offend the Parole Board by making an untimely public statement which may be construed as an attempt to try and influence their decision.” She is believed to have written to the board expressing her opinion of Chapman’s parole request.
Chapman told the Daily Express he shot Lennon after considering killing his father, who worked as a debt collector for a bank. “I wanted to hold a gun to his head, make him beg. Blow him away. I was really mad at him,” he said.
In the New York interview, Chapman talks about the day of the killing, which he spent outside the Dakota apartment building on Manhattan’s fashionable Central Park West. During the day he got Lennon to autograph one of his albums and the singer said: “Is that all you want?”
“It was a ruse,” said Chapman. “I didn’t want his signature, I wanted his life. And I ended up getting both.”
Chapman, with a gun in the pocket of his raincoat, said he struggled with inner demons, saying to himself: “Help me, Devil, give me the power and the strength to do this.”
That night, when Lennon returned from a recording studio, Chapman said “a voice in my head said ‘Do it, do it, do it.’ I aimed at his back and pulled the trigger five times and all hell broke loose in my mind.”
Chapman, who did not run after the shooting, said police who came running treated him with scorn. “I remember that look of the officer as he was dragging John Lennon’s body to the back of his patrol car. How he looked at me and cursed me.”
If he succeeds in winning freedom, Chapman wants to become a father. His wife Gloria has visited him in prison, where he is held apart from other inmates.
He told the New York interviewer he could not pinpoint when he wanted to kill Lennon, but he was obsessed with the Beatles and often took the hallucinatory drug LSD.
“Thoughts of killing John Lennon slowly began to creep into my consciousness … and take hold of me. I could not control them, it was like a train, a runaway train.”
Chapman is convinced he is no longer a danger to society.
“I could never dream of hurting another person that way now. It’s not going to happen. It’s just not going to happen,” he told the Daily Express.
John Lennon, who was widely regarded as the most thoughtful and outspoken of the four Beatles during their peak of popularity during the 1960’s, dropped out of the music business, to devote his attention to his newly-born son, Sean, and to his wife, Yoko Ono. Then in November 1980, he reentered the pop mainstream with the introduction of a new album, “Double Fantasy,” which, Lennon said at the time, was an extension of his family life, as the songs were direct celebrations of enduring love and the pleasures of home and hearth.
On December 8, 1980 at around 5 p.m., John and Yoko left their apartment in the historic Dakota on Central Park West in New York City to go to their recording studio to supervise the transfer of some of the “Double Fantasy” album numbers to singles. David Geffen, their record producer and friend, said that more than 700,000 copies of the album had already been sold up to that time.
As they were leaving the Dakota, they were approached by several people who were seeking autographs. Among them was a man who would be later identified as Mark David Chapman. John Lennon scribbled an autograph on the cover of “Double Fantasy” for Chapman.
The Lennons spent several hours at the studio on West 44th Street, returning to the Dakota at about 10:50 p.m. They exited their limousine on the 72nd Street curb even though a car could have driven through the entrance and into the courtyard.
Three witnesses–a doorman at the entrance, an elevator operator and a cab driver who had just dropped off a passenger–saw Mark David Chapman standing in the shadows just inside the arch.
As the Lennons walked by, Chapman called, “Mr. Lennon.” Then he dropped into “a combat stance” and fired four pistol shots. According to the autopsy, two shots struck John Lennon in the left side of his back and two in his left shoulder. All four caused internal damage and bleeding.
According to police, Lennon staggered up six steps to the room at the end of the entrance used by the concierge, said, “I’m shot,” then fell down.
The first policemen at the scene were Officers Steve Spire and Peter Cullen, who were in the patrol car at 72nd Street and Broadway when they heard a report of shots fired at the Dakota. The officers found Chapman standing “very calmly” where he had been.
The police said he had dropped the revolver after firing it, and said Chapman had a paperback book, J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye,” and a cassette recorder with 14 hours of Beatles tapes.
The second police team at the Dakota, Officers Bill Gamble and James Moran, took Lennon to Roosevelt Hospital. Officer Moran said they stretched Lennon out on the back seat and that the singer was “moaning.” He said he asked, “Are you John Lennon?” and that Lennon had moaned, “Yeah.”
Dr. Stephen Lyman of Roosevelt Hospital said Lennon was dead when the policemen arrived with him. He was pronounced dead at 11:15 p.m. Dr. Elliott M. Gross, the Chief Medical Examiner, said after the autopsy that Lennon had died of shock and loss of blood and that no one could have lived more than a few minutes with such injuries.
Yoko Ono, crying “Tell me it’s not true,” was taken to Roosevelt Hospital and led away in shock after she learned her husband was dead. David Geffen later issued a statement in her behalf: “John loved and prayed for the human race. Please do the same for him.”
Within minutes of the first broadcasts of the news of the shooting, people began to gather at Roosevelt Hospital and in front of the Dakota, reciting prayers, singing Lennon’s songs and burning candles.
On December 14, all around the world, people paused to stand alone or come together in silence, heeding a plea from Yoko Ono that they take 10 minutes to remember the former Beatle.
From The 'Lectric Law Library's Stacks
Last Will And Testament Of John Winston Ono Lennon
I, JOHN WINSTON ONO LENNON, a resident of the County of New York, State of New York, which I declare to be my domicile do hereby make, publish and declare this to be my Last Will and Testament, hereby revoking all other Wills, Codicils and Testamentary dispositions by me at any time heretofore made.
FIRST: The expenses of my funeral and the administration of my estate, and all inheritance, estate or succession taxes, including interest and penalties, payable by reason of my death shall be paid out of and charged generally against the principal of my residuary estate without apportionment or proration. My Executor shall not seek contribution or reimbursement for any such payments.
SECOND: Should my wife survive me, I give, devise and bequeath to her absolutely, an amount equal to that portion of my residuary estate, the numerator and denominator of which shall be determined as follows:
1. The numerator shall be an amount equal to one-half (1/2) of my adjusted gross estate less the value of all other property included in my gross estate for Federal Estate Tax purposes and which pass or shall have passed to my wife either under any other provision of this Will or in any manner outside of this Will in such manner as to qualify for and be allowed as a marital deduction. The words “pass”, “have passed”, “marital deduction” and adjusted gross estate” shall have the same meaning as said words have under those provisions of the Untied States Internal Revenue Code applicable to my estate.
2. The denominator shall be an amount representing the value of my residuary estate.
THIRD: I give, devise and bequeath all the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, wheresoever situate, to the Trustees under a Trust Agreement dated November 12, 1979, which I signed with my wife YOKO ONO, and ELI GARBER as Trustees, to be added to the trust property and held and distributed in accordance with the terms of that agreement and any amendments made pursuant to its terms before my death.
FOURTH: In the event that my wife and I die under such circumstances that there is not sufficient evidence to determine which of us has predeceased the other, I hereby declare it to be my will that it shall be deemed that I shall have predeceased her and that this, my Will, and any and all of its provisions shall be construed based upon that assumption.
FIFTH: I hereby nominate, constitute and appoint my beloved wife, YOKO ONO, to act as the Executor of this my Last Will and Testament. In the event that my beloved wife YOKO ONO shall predecease me or chooses not to act for any reason, I nominate and appoint ELI GARBER, DAVID WARMFLASH and CHARLES PETTIT, in the order named, to act in her place and stead.
SIXTH: I nominate, constitute and appoint my wife YOKO ONO, as the Gurdian of the person and property of any children of the marriage who may survive me. In the event that she predeceases me, or for any reason she chooses not to act in that capacity, I nominate, constitute and appoint SAM GREEN to act in her place and stead.
SEVENTH: No person named herein to serve in any fiduciary capacity shall be required to file or post any bond for the faithful performance of his or her duties, in that capacity in this or in any other jurisdiction, any law to the contrary notwithstanding.
EIGHTH: If any legatee or beneficiary under this will or the trust agreement between myself as Grantor and YOKO ONO LENNON and ELI GARBER as Trustees, dated November 12, 1979 shall interpose objections to the mprobate of this Will, or institute or prosecute or be in any way interested or instrumental in the institution or prosecution of any action or proceeding for the purpose of setting aside or invalidating this Will, then and in each such case, I direct that such legatee or beneficiary shall receive nothing whatsoever under this Will or the aforementioned Trust.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have subscribed and sealed and do publish and declare these presents as and for my Last Will and Testament, this 12th day of November, 1979.
John Winston Ono Lennon
THE FOREGOING INSTRUMENT consisting of four (4) typewritten pages, including this page, was on the 12th day of November, 1979, signed, sealed, published and declared by JOHN WINSTON ONO LENNON, the Testator therein named, as and for his Last Will and Testament, in the present of us, who at his request, and in his presence, and in the presence of each other, have hereunto set our names as witnesses.
(The names of the three witnesses are illegible.)
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John Lennon 1940-1980
On October 9, 1940 at Oxford Street Maternity Hospital, in Liverpool England, John Winston Lennon was born to Julia and Freddie Lennon. His mother and his Aunt Mimi raised him, while his father worked on a ship, leaving Julia and his son alone for months at a time. Between 1942 and 1944, John lived with his Aunt Mimi and Uncle George, but continued to see his mother on a regular basis. In July of 1946, John’s father returned home and intended to take John to New Zealand to live with him. Julia was against the idea and announced that she wanted John to stay in England. John was given the option of whom he wanted to stay with. He chose to stay in England with his mother, and John continued to live with his Aunt Mimi, without seeing his father for the next 20 years.
In July 1955, Julia started to visit John more frequently, and John’s relationship with his mother grew very strong. During this period, Julia began to teach John how to play the banjo, and soon after he began to learn the guitar. On July 15, 1958, John’s mother was brutally struck, and instantly killed, by a car driven by an intoxicated off-duty policeman. The incident profoundly affected John emotionally. Throughout the rest of his life, John was haunted by his mother’s tragic and unexpected death that lead him to compose many songs such as “Julia” and “Mother”. Alcohol and music then became a major part of John’s life, as he attempted to comfort himself from his mother’s death. He continued to live with his Aunt Mimi, who bought John his first guitar for only £17.
Over the years, John started many skiffle groups. But in late 1960, he started the foundation for the group that would change the course of music forever. This group, The Beatles, consisted of himself, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Pete Best. Their shows were held at various clubs throughout Berkshire, Hamburg, Liverpool, and included the Cavern Club, where their soon-to-be manager Brian Epstein later discovered them.
With the help of Brian, the Beatles auditioned at Decca Records on New Years Day of 1962. After
being turned down by Decca Records, Epstein helped the Beatles with another audition at EMI Records with George Martin. The audition was a success and George Martin signed The Beatles to Parlophone, a division of EMI. However, George Martin decided that Pete Best was not right for studio recording, and decided to have him replaced by Ringo Starr.
During this time, Cynthia Powell and John decide to marry after it was discovered that she was pregnant. On August 23, 1962, John and Cynthia were married. On April 8, 1963, Cynthia gives birth to Julian Lennon; however, John was not able to see Cynthia or his son until two days later, because he was in London with his band.
For the last time, after literally hundreds of performances, on August 3, 1963, the Beatles headlined the bill at the Cavern Club. About a month later, the Beatles were invited to attend a Rolling Stones rehearsal, where Lennon and McCartney completed the composition of the Stones
first hit, “I Wanna be your Man.” In November of 1963, Brian Epstein booked the Beatles onto the Ed Sullivan show for February of 1964. The show was a complete success, with an estimated 72 million viewers, setting new records for entertainment broadcasting.
Back in the studio, the Beatles continued to record hit after hit and become the most popular group in history. Unfortunately, Lennon remarks on their success during an interview with Maureen Cleave in March of 1966 claiming the Beatles were, “bigger than Jesus.” This statement nearly destroyed the Beatles and soon after they to decide to quit touring. Lennon later apologized for his remarks, but even the “London Catholic Herald” said his remarks, although arrogant, were “…still probably true”. Despite not touring, the Beatles continued to experiment in the studio and began a new revolution in music. The release of songs such as “Strawberry Fields Forever” and the album “Sgt. Pepper” shocked unexpected fans with a dramatic change in the Beatles “sound”.
John soon began to experiment rather heavily with LSD and became deeply immersed in the art world. In April of 1967, John Lennon attends a “psychedelic” event where he watches many artists
perform. The many performers included Pink Floyd and Yoko Ono, whom he met on November 9, 1966 at an art exhibit preview. In May of 1968, John and Yoko became a couple after John invited
her to his home. They made love after spending the night recording experimental music, which was later released as the “Two Virgins” album. Later that year on August 22, 1968, Cynthia filed for divorce on grounds of John’s adultery. On March 20, 1969 John Lennon and Yoko Ono are married n Gibraltar, near Spain. Between March 25 and March 31, John and Yoko spent their oneymoon t the Amsterdam Hilton staging their famous “Bed-In” for peace. John Lennon stated, We’re taying in bed for a week, to register our protest against all the suffering and violence in the world.”
On March 31, 1969, Yoko’s film, “Rape (Film No. 6)”, was premiered. John and Yoko attended a press conference for the occasion to appear inside a large white bag, and Bagism is born. (To learn more about Bagism, Please visit www.Bagism.com) In April 1969, John and Yoko began yet
another campaign, “Acorns For Peace”. In this event, they mailed acorns to world leaders asking them to plant the acorns for peace. In June of 1960, John and Yoko performed another “Bed-In” in Montreal, where they recorded John’s “Give Peace a Chance” with the help of a few friends and visitors.
In April of 1970, Paul McCartney decided to leave the Beatles, and only more tension was built up between John and Paul. On December 8, 1970, Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone Magazine interviewed John. In this interview, John criticizes just about everything from himself to God. On May 28, 1971, Paul and Linda McCartney release their new, “Ram” album. This album contained obvious offensive messages to the Lennon’s, which resulted in John’s composition of the song, “How Do You Sleep?”, a song aimed at insulting McCartney. “How do You Sleep?” was released on John’s second solo album, “Imagine”, on September 9, 1971. The title track of this album has become one of the most popular songs of all time, and more importantly, remains as powerful today as it was decades ago.
In late February of 1972, John and Paul met in New York and agreed to stop the public feuding. A few months later, the FBI believed that John was only staying in the country to upset the Republican National Convention. Soon after, deportation hearings are held against the Lennon’s. John only upset the government more when he spoke at a peace rally in New York calling for an end to the Vietnam War.
On April 28, 1972, Apple releases David Peel & the Lower East Side’s, “The Pope Smokes Dope”, which was produced by John and Yoko, and contains “The Ballad of New York City- John Lennon/Yoko Ono”. (for more information on David Peel, Please visit www.DavidPeel.org)
Over a year later, in late April of 1973, John and Yoko move into the Dakota apartment building on
the upper west side of New York. Years later, on October 7, 1975, a court appeals the deportation
order against John. Only two days later, on John’s birthday, Yoko gives birth to Sean Taro Ono Lennon. A few months later, John, helping Ringo, made his last appearance in a professional recording studio, for almost four years. Fortunately, on July 27, 1976, John was granted permanent residence in America and his immigration worries were over.
On September 25, 1980, Yoko met with Sean’s bodyguard, Doug McDougall, to discuss an increase in security around the Dakota, due to John and Yoko’s frequent leaves to the studio. However, they decided to put off solving the problem and scheduled another meeting for October 9, 1980. On the day of John’s 40th birthday and Sean’s 5th, Yoko has an airplane write “Happy Birthday John + Sean – Love Yoko”, nine times in the sky. By this time, they have been working on a new album, Double Fantasy”, for several months, and it was almost ready to be released.
Meanwhile, in Honolulu, a mentally ill man checked out “John Lennon: One Day at a Time” from a public library, and became convinced that Lennon was a hypocrite. He became frustrated and decided that the solution to his mental instability would be to kill John Lennon. On October 29, this man flew to New York from Honolulu carrying a pistol, but no ammunition. He immediately visited the Dakota and returned there for five days straight. On November 11, he called his wife in Honolulu and admitted that he had been planning to murder John Lennon. She convinced her husband to fly home. But he returned to New York again December 5, after a short stay with his grandmother in Chicago.
Lennon announced that he had spent the last five years as a happy, secure husband and father. A few days later, on December 8, 1980, around 5PM, John autographed a copy of “Double Fantasy” for this mentally ill man from Honolulu. The sick man, standing with an open mouth, appeared amazed that he had met John. John asked him, “Is that all you want?” All the sick man could reply was with, “Thanks, John”. Hours later, this mentally ill man was still standing outside the Dakota. As John and Yoko returned home, the man called out, “Mr. Lennon.” As John turned toward the voice, he was shot five times in the shoulders and back.
He struggled to the security guard’s office, and collapsed crying, “I’m shot, I’m shot.” Police arrived
immediately and put Lennon in the car to bring him to the nearest hospital, but when asked if he knew who he was, he could not reply.
Ten minutes after the shooting occurred, Lennon arrived at Roosevelt Hospital. Unfortunately, the damage was extreme. John Winston Ono Lennon, having bled severely, was announced dead on arrival. Back at the Dakota, the mentally ill man from Honolulu had been arrested without a struggle. He had in his hand, a copy of “The Catcher in the Rye”, a novel by J.D. Salinger. On December 10, 1980, John Lennon was cremated. A worldwide 10-minute silent vigil took place on December 14, 1980 at 2PM Eastern Time in John’s memory. ~workingclasshero.com