RIP, John Lennon December 8

i tend to think of his sons and how this impacted their lives. both are now older than their father and are close to each other. julian lost his chance at total reconciliation and sean lost his main caretaker.

I never really considered it before, but now I’m picturing him responding to McCartney’s duets with Michael Jackson by teaming up with Prince…

I’ll never forget having fallen asleep to MNF, and waking up with the portable TV blaring next to my bed to the news and the coverage outside the Dakota.

My baby cousin was born that day, and his parents gave him the middle name Lennon. This perturbed my grandfather, who was concerned that people wouldn’t get the spelling and think it had something to do with communism.

I was working the night shift at the Wall St. Journal composing room when we got the news. Somehow, they didn’t “hold the presses.”

I was a senior in high school and also watching MNF when Howard Cosell announced it, and I was pretty devastated. I stayed up to watch Ted Koppel on Nightline, and then I clipped a picture of John Lennon from one of the stacks of Rolling Stones in my room and put it in the back window of my car. (I mean, a little dramatic in retrospect, but I was feeling it)

There was a guy in my physics class that I often talked Beatles with, and we commiserated, but otherwise in that strange land of no social media, it went away pretty quickly other than some magazine articles.

I was 17 and obsessed with the Beatles, so I was surprised I didn’t have a more emotional reaction to his murder. I do remember being disappointed by his long awaited come back album a week or so earlier and none of the other Beatles had released anything in the previous five years that got me excited so maybe I had given up on them as solo artists and didn’t feel much musical potential was lost, unlike the death of Darby Crash the day before. At the time, legends like the Beatles were bigger than life, and it was hard for me at 17 to consider the personal tragedy of the event.

We had acquired the issue of Playboy released days before that had the interview with him in it. I am pretty sure I still have that around here somewhere.

And of course:

As long as we’re on the topic:

I’ve always liked this bit from the 1965 NME Awards. John’s called out first and decides to play a little joke on Paul. I had to watch a few times when I first saw it, because it almost looks like a scuffle, but you can see Paul reacting with surprise and laughter:

Some friends and I drove to the city the following evening, purchased a bouquet and left it at the Dakota’s gate. Hundreds of people were there, crying, singing John’s songs.
A few short years later I was in the basement of the Dakota, doing a NY State audit of John and Yoko’s payroll ledgers with their accountant. Sean burst into the room, bounced off the walls for a bit, then was ushered out by a babysitter or nanny. Very surreal.