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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...


TOPICS: Weird Stuff
KEYWORDS: anniversary; beatles; lennon; music
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1 posted on 12/08/2010 6:53:29 PM PST by SamAdams76
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To: SamAdams76

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.


2 posted on 12/08/2010 6:57:33 PM PST by brytlea (Jesus loves me, this I know.)
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To: SamAdams76

Everyone is saying I should remember where I was and what I was doing that day - but I have no idea.


3 posted on 12/08/2010 6:58:13 PM PST by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: SamAdams76

I remember like it was yesterday when it dawned on me that the Beatles really ain’t getting back together.


4 posted on 12/08/2010 6:58:15 PM PST by Cisco Nix
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To: SamAdams76

*YAWN*


5 posted on 12/08/2010 6:58:38 PM PST by Psycho_Bunny (Hail To The Fail-In-Chief)
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To: SamAdams76

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.


6 posted on 12/08/2010 6:59:34 PM PST by piytar (0's idea of power: the capacity to inflict unlimited pain and suffering on another human being. 1984)
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To: SamAdams76

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.


7 posted on 12/08/2010 7:00:23 PM PST by ExtremeUnction
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To: Cisco Nix
I remember like it was yesterday when it dawned on me that the Beatles really ain’t getting back together.

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.

8 posted on 12/08/2010 7:00:25 PM PST by SamAdams76 (I am 222 days away from outliving Wendy O Williams (Plasmatics))
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To: SamAdams76
In closing, while I now despise the man John Lennon was and especially what he represented

You are a flaming retard.

9 posted on 12/08/2010 7:01:26 PM PST by Forgotten Amendments (I'd rather be Plaxico Burress than Sean Taylor)
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To: Red_Devil 232

Same here,The guy was just in a band,


10 posted on 12/08/2010 7:01:34 PM PST by silentreignofheroes
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To: SamAdams76

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.


11 posted on 12/08/2010 7:03:02 PM PST by JaguarXKE (RINOs be gone!)
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To: silentreignofheroes

In the end, I think he realized he was just a musician without all the answers...


12 posted on 12/08/2010 7:03:58 PM PST by Infidel Heather (In God I trust, not the Government.)
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To: SamAdams76

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.


13 posted on 12/08/2010 7:05:40 PM PST by Minn
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To: SamAdams76

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.


14 posted on 12/08/2010 7:05:40 PM PST by Inyo-Mono (Had God not driven man from the Garden of Eden the Sierra Club surely would have.)
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To: SamAdams76

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”.


15 posted on 12/08/2010 7:06:09 PM PST by hawkboy
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To: SamAdams76

Thank heavens we didn’t have 24/7 cable news back then or it would have been worse than the Michael Jackson thing.


16 posted on 12/08/2010 7:07:07 PM PST by jazminerose (o)
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To: JaguarXKE
I still like most of the Beatles music but I find most of the later "artsy-fartsy" stuff rather simplistic and unlistenable...i.e. "I Am The Walrus", "Yellow Submarine", "Maxwell's Silver Hammer."

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.

17 posted on 12/08/2010 7:07:25 PM PST by SamAdams76 (I am 222 days away from outliving Wendy O Williams (Plasmatics))
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To: SamAdams76
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.

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.

18 posted on 12/08/2010 7:07:42 PM PST by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
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To: SamAdams76

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.


19 posted on 12/08/2010 7:08:04 PM PST by Infidel Heather (In God I trust, not the Government.)
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To: SamAdams76

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:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJ4iCE2aTgU


20 posted on 12/08/2010 7:08:12 PM PST by Fantasywriter
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To: SamAdams76

I’ll bite. I remember precisely where I was. I had spent a long afternoon and evening holed up in the U of WA library, studying. It was late in the evening when I finally trudged back to my dorm room in McMahon hall. I was just sticking the key in the doorknob when my buddy next door poked his head out his door and said... “Hey! you hear about John Lennon? He was shot!”

I was incredulous. What the hell? Who shoots John Lennon? But yeah... we flip on the TV and there it is...

I was pretty conservative for a college kid back then, but I enjoyed the Beatles and Lennon anyway. Still do.


21 posted on 12/08/2010 7:09:03 PM PST by Ramius (Personally, I give us... one chance in three. More tea?)
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To: SamAdams76
Tonight on MSNBC's Hardball (which I was watching to see the Bobby Jindal interview), Chris Matthews just proclaimed "John Lennon was a hero of mine."

I can't agree with Matthews on that at all. Imagine that.

22 posted on 12/08/2010 7:14:18 PM PST by re_nortex (DP...that's what I like about Texas...)
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To: SamAdams76

I haven’t read the preceding posts, but things happen in our lives that are only viewable in hindsight. I was born in ‘71 and couldn’t care less about the Beatles. But they contributed to where we are today.
I am 39 and love Eminem. In 30 years Ill probably hate him if I’m still alive. But, it is what it is, at the time...


23 posted on 12/08/2010 7:14:26 PM PST by goseminoles
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To: Infidel Heather

Hope so,but in that moment in time,he did find the answer.


24 posted on 12/08/2010 7:14:28 PM PST by silentreignofheroes
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To: Red_Devil 232

“Everyone is saying I should remember where I was and what I was doing that day - but I have no idea.”

Honestly I think it’s an overblown thing. Any murder is a shame, but Mr. Lennon was no prophet. He was just a man, a rather mixed up man, who wrote some good songs and some bad ones. He was an icon of his age, but, that’s about it.


25 posted on 12/08/2010 7:15:08 PM PST by Persevero (Homeschooling for Excellence since 1992)
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To: hawkboy

I think most of his best songs were before he got really strung out.


26 posted on 12/08/2010 7:16:36 PM PST by Persevero (Homeschooling for Excellence since 1992)
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To: SamAdams76
Nice recollection.

How does the saying go..."If you're younger than thirty and not a Democrat, you don’t have a heart. If you're over thirty and are not a Republican (conservative) you don't have a head." I think most of us go through the transformation you did. I did. Reagan, who was originally a Democrat, certainly did.

Ah, the Beatles. I was in high school in California during their heydays. In fact, on their last tour and last tour concert in Candlestick Park in S.F., me and a bunch of kids snuck in the back behind a fence in the outfield. At some point I just felt like, "Heck with it, I'm going," ran up, threw myself over the fence and began to scoot across center field towards second base where Ringo was. A whole bunch of kids followed. Never made as security swarmed in but I was fast and got away from them and went back over the fence. Some films show us starting across the outfield during concert.

Fun times. Also sorry Lennon was shot but I too realized later he was a liberal red-diaper-doper baby whack job.

27 posted on 12/08/2010 7:16:46 PM PST by Jim 0216
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To: Inyo-Mono
I probably came closer to knowing Lennon than any other freeper. I was in seventh grade when the Beatles hit the air and anybody who says they weren't game-changers in the biggest way should just ask Bobby Darrin about it (or else they are striving to prove their red-blooded, big "C" conservative chops). There was music before the Beatlles and music after the Beatles.

Anyway, I used to see him all the time at an after-hours club on West 72nd street just west of Columbus Ave. We never sat and chatted but I didn't really feel the need to. After seeing each other a few times we fell into a kind of "hey, how ya doin'" nodding thing. He seemed vulnerable most of the time.

The last time I saw him there was probably a month or so before he was shot, maybe more, I forget.

28 posted on 12/08/2010 7:18:01 PM PST by wtc911 ("How you gonna get down that hill?")
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To: Grizzled Bear

“If you’re young and not a liberal, you’ve got no heart.”

I’ve got some young conservative kids! You should hear my 13 year old verbally lacerate the liberals on the news! And I have another teen who FReeps and follows the political events. Some of the t-shirts he wears are VERY politically incorrect.

Trust me, they have hearts and are pretty compassionate people for their age. . .


29 posted on 12/08/2010 7:18:30 PM PST by Persevero (Homeschooling for Excellence since 1992)
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To: SamAdams76

Most of us except for the ones who were born perfect conservatives will remember turning points.

The first Beatles Album I bought was the White Album, with the poster inside, sometime in 1968. Paid about $5. It was a turning point in the wrong direction for me. The Beatles had, like Dylan, captured a certain zeitgeist and were like pied pipers leading a segment of our generation away to alternative (evil) spiritual destinations under the guise of peace, love and being cool.

Raised a Christian, I drifted away and was rescued by God in 1978. By the time Lennon was killed, I was on the way out of Egypt. Spent a lot of time in the desert, and struggled with a lot that I would have avoided had I not bought into the Beatles and others that came along.

I appreciate your post. We all have milestones.


30 posted on 12/08/2010 7:18:47 PM PST by One Name
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To: SamAdams76

Uhm, it was a murder not an assassination.


31 posted on 12/08/2010 7:18:47 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: SamAdams76

nothing


32 posted on 12/08/2010 7:20:18 PM PST by ROCKLOBSTER (Celebrate Republicans Freed the Slaves Month)
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To: SamAdams76

I rather like some of Sgt Pepper and most of Abby Road, but agree on some of the others like “Magical Mystery Tour.” I really prefer their early “pop” stuff that was just light and fun and didn’t try to impress some sort of deeper meaning.


33 posted on 12/08/2010 7:22:20 PM PST by JaguarXKE (RINOs be gone!)
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To: Inyo-Mono

Did you happen to see them at Candlestick Park in S.F. in 1966?


34 posted on 12/08/2010 7:22:20 PM PST by Jim 0216
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To: Inyo-Mono
I even saw them perform live in 1966. I loved The Beatles. Still do.

Interesting anecdote about 1966 and The Beatles. I was barely four years old at the time and naturally didn't remember a thing about it. But at the time, I was living practically in the shadow of Suffolk Downs (a horse racing track in East Boston) and The Beatles played a concert there that August. It turned out to be one of their very last U.S. concerts ever.

Anyway, my mother told me that the night of the concert, the screaming from that concert was so loud that it carried right into our house. During the concert, my mother carried me out into the yard to see what the fuss was all about. So in a way, I guess I can say I attended a Beatles concert.

35 posted on 12/08/2010 7:23:37 PM PST by SamAdams76 (I am 222 days away from outliving Wendy O Williams (Plasmatics))
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To: SamAdams76

And then there were some of us who, even though we had a clue what was going on, just DIDN’T CARE!!! It was really sad how Lennon and his cohorts held others of his generation (who didn’t agree with him) hostage to his stupid ideas.


36 posted on 12/08/2010 7:25:41 PM PST by smalltownslick
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To: SamAdams76
The John Lennon of Meet the Beatles, Revolver, Help!, Rubber Soul, and Sgt Pepper's LHCB, I liked a lot. Not so much the Lennon of White Album and Abbey Road fame. The post-Beatles Lennon of Yoko Ono and Imagine, I loathed. Then he turned into a reclusive stick insect, living in NYC for the better part of a decade.

When he was gunned down, I felt sadness, but it wasn't overpowering. I do remember when it happened. It was just another crappy, gray, cold, otherwise completely forgettable December evening.

37 posted on 12/08/2010 7:26:18 PM PST by behzinlea
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To: Jim 0216
Did you happen to see them at Candlestick Park in S.F. in 1966?

No, I saw them at Dodger Stadium two nights earlier. August 1966. It was their 2nd to last concer,t Candlestick being their last. I remember The Circle and Bobby Hebb (spelling?) were The Beatles opening acts. Great show!

38 posted on 12/08/2010 7:33:59 PM PST by Inyo-Mono (Had God not driven man from the Garden of Eden the Sierra Club surely would have.)
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To: Inyo-Mono

On post # 25 I tell how I couldn’t afford to go but had more fun sneaking in. Those were some fun days.


39 posted on 12/08/2010 7:36:35 PM PST by Jim 0216
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To: SamAdams76
I was a big Beatles fan but, come on, this anniversary gets more coverage than Pearl Harbor day. Ridiculous.
40 posted on 12/08/2010 7:36:44 PM PST by RedMDer (Forward With Confidence!)
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To: Inyo-Mono

That’s #27.


41 posted on 12/08/2010 7:38:19 PM PST by Jim 0216
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To: SamAdams76
I still like most of the Beatles music but I find most of the later "artsy-fartsy"

I agree with you on REVOLVER, not sure about RUBBER SOUL, since I haven't given it a serious listen in decades.

That was their great period, those years bracketing Sgt. Pepper.

Somebody said a while ago that if you get two hoodlums together in a certain combination they egg each other on and become like one monstrous, soulless machine . Alone, they might be merely obnoxious; but a weird synchrony happens when those particular characters cooperate, evil spawns.

I think this kind of summing of powers happens in art as well: neither Paul nor John alone produced anything approaching what they achieved during their collaboration.

Others have said that each was the antithesis of the other: John was the cynical, soured idealist, Paul the romantic optimist.

So, you can understand their inevitable split.

Still it's a shame. You need friction to have traction.

42 posted on 12/08/2010 7:39:43 PM PST by tsomer
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To: Revolting cat!
it was a murder not an assassination.

Yes, it was a murder but please explain why you feel it was not also an assassination. The word assassination is generally defined as a deliberate act of killing someone, especially one who is a public figure, for financial gain, on behalf of a political agenda or for obtaining personal public recognition.

Therefore I believe it is accurate to describe the killing of John Lennon as an assassination.

43 posted on 12/08/2010 7:39:57 PM PST by SamAdams76 (I am 222 days away from outliving Wendy O Williams (Plasmatics))
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To: behzinlea
The John Lennon of Meet the Beatles, Revolver, Help!, Rubber Soul, and Sgt Pepper's LHCB, I liked a lot. Not so much the Lennon of White Album and Abbey Road fame. The post-Beatles Lennon of Yoko Ono and Imagine, I loathed.

Interesting. I loved the early Beatles stuff most of all, Rubber Soul is my favorite album. They started losing me after Sargent Pepper and The White Album. I remember reading an article written not long after Lennon died and the author stated that basically conservative youth loved the early Beatles stuff and were turned off by their later druggy material. That fit me to a tee.

44 posted on 12/08/2010 7:43:17 PM PST by Inyo-Mono (Had God not driven man from the Garden of Eden the Sierra Club surely would have.)
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To: SamAdams76

I haven’t read the preceding posts, but things happen in our lives that are only viewable in hindsight. I was born in ‘71 and couldn’t care less about the Beatles. But they contributed to where we are today.
I am 39 and love Eminem. In 30 years Ill probably hate him if I’m still alive. But, it is what it is, at the time...


45 posted on 12/08/2010 7:43:59 PM PST by goseminoles
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To: SamAdams76
I've been a conservative from birth and believe John Lennon to be THE melodic genius of the 20th century.

I got off the ship around noon on Dec 9th in Olongopo. As soon as we crossed the bridge over sh!t river, we saw folks crying...shouting "John Lennon is Dead!"

It was heartbreaking for me...not because of his obvious commie essence, but because of the loss of such an ENORMOUS talent.

He was the best tenor any of us will ever hear.

I'm listening to Beatles records tonight, skipping all McCartney and Harrison songs.

Wow. Just wow.

46 posted on 12/08/2010 7:44:56 PM PST by Mariner (USS Tarawa, VQ3, USS Benjamin Stoddert, NAVCAMS WestPac, 7th Fleet, Navcommsta Puget Sound)
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To: SamAdams76
I was just coming out of the Sutton Theater in NYC with my husband from a screening of “Raging Bull”. Somebody came up to us on the street and said that John Lennon had been shot outside the Dakota Apartments and he was dead.

I was a big Beatles fan as a pre-teenager/teenager but I lost interest in the Beatles as single artists. I was horrified that he was shot dead int he street but I didn't have this overwhelming sense of lost that others had.

47 posted on 12/08/2010 7:45:32 PM PST by CaptainK (...please make it stop. Shake a can of pennies at it.)
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To: RedMDer
I was a big Beatles fan but, come on, this anniversary gets more coverage than Pearl Harbor day. Ridiculous.

I totally agree but in fairness, there are not too many people left who have first-hand recollections of Pearl Harbor Day. Still, I observed the anniversary yesterday and recognize it as a very important day in our nation's history.

48 posted on 12/08/2010 7:46:32 PM PST by SamAdams76 (I am 222 days away from outliving Wendy O Williams (Plasmatics))
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To: Mariner

Disagree. Even when I was a hopelessly misguided liberal adolescent I could not stand him.


49 posted on 12/08/2010 7:48:11 PM PST by kabumpo (Kabumpo)
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To: JaguarXKE
Ever listen to the song "Imagine?" It's basically the Communist Manifesto set to music...

There's that line in the song "American Pie" about Lennon reading a book on Marx. Or was that Lenin?

50 posted on 12/08/2010 7:56:06 PM PST by Verginius Rufus
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