Skip to comments.Recollections of John Lennon's Assassination (30 year anniversary today)
Posted on 12/08/2010 6:53:25 PM PST by SamAdams76
Not exactly in the league of Pearl Harbor and 9/11, or even the JFK assassination, but for those who are old enough to remember, it was a pretty big deal when John Lennon was assassinated in New York City exactly 30 years ago today, on December 8, 1980.
So I thought I'd put a post out there to see if anybody has any thoughts from that day, how they learned about it and how they felt about John Lennon and his music at the time and more importantly, how they feel about him today now that we have had 30 years to get older and wiser.
Not all Freepers were smart enough to be conservative their entire adult lives and I have no problem stating that I am one of those who started my adult life ignorant, stupid...and liberal to the core.
Not that it was all my fault. I was born and raised in Massachusetts just a few miles from JFK's birthplace in Brookline. Therefore I was raised to believe that Republicans were evil and if you didn't have the obligatory portrait of JFK hanging on your living room wall (usually over the fireplace), you were suspect.
Well anyway, I remember very clearly what I was doing on December 8, 1980 as it was a time of great transition for me and my conversion to a rock-solid conservative was just beginning to take root (but would still take several more years to complete).
I was 18 years old and working as a dishwasher at a local restaurant. I had graduated high school the previous spring and had enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. However, I delayed my entry into boot camp so that I could have some "partying" time now that I was finally out of school. My report date to Parris Island was still over two months away (February 10, 1981).
The night of December 8th, I was watching Monday Night Football as my New England Patriots were playing the Miami Dolphins. Now this was way before Bill Belichick and Tom Brady and so the New England teams were typically awful during that era, but this particular year, they had a winning record and were still in contention for the playoffs at the time of this game.
Late in the game, Howard Cosell made the announcement about John Lennon. I will never forget the shivers that ran up my spine as he told about how he was shot, rushed to the hospital and then pronounced dead-on-arrival in his characteristic deadpan style.
I immediately forgot about the game (Pats ended up losing anyhow), turned off the TV and turned on my radio, which already was playing nothing but Beatles and Lennon records up and down the dial. Remember that this was before 24-hr cable news stations so the only way to get breaking news was to turn on your radio.
Now I was too young to remember The Beatles when they were still together and in their prime but as I came of age in the 1970s, you couldn't escape being exposed to their music, which was still in heavy rotation on most rock stations. So I was a big fan of their music and always harbored hope that they would get back together again as a group now that I was old enough to appreciate it.
Obviously the assassination dashed that dream forever and over the next few days, I listened to tribute after tribute come over the radio. Almost every rock station out of Boston pretty much dedicated the next several days to nothing but Beatles/Lennon music, tributes and documentaries. It was almost a full week before they went back to regular programming.
Looking back at those times 30 years later, it is almost like I was a different person in a totally different life. Having gained three decades of maturity and wisdom, I wonder what I ever saw in John Lennon and how I could have been so stupid to think he was some kind of saint or messiah.
Before writing this post, I looked at some of his 1970s era interviews on YouTube and he comes across to me now as a long-haired doper without a clue, unable to speak even a coherent sentence. Well, not too unlike many of our entertainers today, that think their stardom gives them special insight on how the world should be run (and with whom our young people put so much stock in).
I also find Yoko Ono even more despicable. During most of those post-Beatle years, she was always pretty much up his butt, controlling his entire life. What he saw in that woman, I'll never know. During my YouTube session, I saw video of her (and John) standing proudly next to a poster that accused the United States of having committed Holocaust on a scale worse than Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia (in Vietnam). Now that is pure evil right there.
As anti-American as John Lennon was in those days, he certainly had no desire to leave our country and in fact, fought for years to stay here despite efforts by our immigration department to deport him. And despite all the phoney-baloney lyrics that made him such a liberal icon (such as "Imagine"), he lived in the most exclusive area of New York and traveled by limousine and private jet.
Yet 30 years ago, John Lennon was a hero to me and here, on the 30th anniversary of his death, I find it hard to reconcile the person I am today with the person I was 30 years ago.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, my conversion to conservatism was just starting to take root in December of 1980. Ronald Reagan had just been elected president and while I cast my vote for John Anderson that year (the first election I was old enough to vote), I was secretly glad that Reagan won instead of Carter, but still did not have the self-confidence to say so to my friends and family. I was just a few months away from becoming a US Marine, which would accelerate my political conversion all the more.
In closing, while I now despise the man John Lennon was and especially what he represented, I am still sad that he died at the hands of a demented assassin. He certainly did not deserve to go out that way. On the other hand, he also did not merit being the martyr that people made him out to be post-assassination.
December 1980 was definitely a turning point in my life and this anniversary definitely brought back some memories...
I just remember that I had voted in my first Presidential election for the great Ronald Reagan, while 9 months pregnant with my 3rd son who was born the 28th of that November (3 weeks late). I was busy as a new mom with 2 other small children so the death of John Lennon was a big news story that was quickly forgotten in the busyness of my life at the time. In hindsight it was probably a turning point, but I didn’t realize it at the time.
Everyone is saying I should remember where I was and what I was doing that day - but I have no idea.
I remember like it was yesterday when it dawned on me that the Beatles really ain’t getting back together.
Was a kid. Saw it on the evening news with my family. Then we changed the channel (I was the designated remote control LOL). Barely even a comment.
I was 34 when he died, serving my 4th year on the LAPD. I never got the Beatles. I think their miusic came a little late for me. So I shrugged it off and went to work. Another day.
A popular joke that made the rounds at that time:
Q. What will it take to bring The Beatles back together?
A. Three more rounds.
You are a flaming retard.
Same here,The guy was just in a band,
I liked the Beatles music (still do - most of the early stuff), but think very little of Lennon as a person. He was at best a naive idealist, and at worst a socialist. Ever listen to the song “Imagine?” It’s basically the Communist Manifesto set to music. I will always love the music of the Beatles, but I’ll never consider Lennon some sort of God to be mourned for all eternity. I’m sorry he was just a very screwed up guy who happened to have musical talent...period.
In the end, I think he realized he was just a musician without all the answers...
I remember thinking: Wow the most overrated member of the most overrated band in history is dead? Damn. It’s going to be wall to wall Beatles for months.
Sam, I was 30 and a solid Republican as were my parents. Picture of Ike on our walls. I first heard of Lennon’s death while listening to the radio and it hit me hard as I was prime Beatle age; I was 14 when they first hit our shores in 1964. I even saw them perform live in 1966. I loved The Beatles. Still do.
Excellent post my FRiend, your experience echos mine in a lot of ways. I cringe now at “Imagine” and the Yoko-era stuff but there are Beatles songs that I will always love like “Norwegian Wood” and “Blackbird”.
Thank heavens we didn’t have 24/7 cable news back then or it would have been worse than the Michael Jackson thing.
In my opinion, they hit their peak with the "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver" albums. After that, it was all downhill.
Even if they did get a chance to get back together again, I don't think much would have come from it.
Don't sweat it. You're supposed to be stupid during your formative years.
If you're young and not a liberal, you've got no heart.
If you're older, and not a conservative, you've got no brain.
I was still in high school making scrambled eggs for breakfast in the kitchen when my mom brought the morning paper in and told me the news.
I never did care for Lennon—not even back in my liberal days. However, I do think Jeff Lynn wrote a moving song tribute to him, and the Youtuber who matched it with photos did a good job for the most part:
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