It’s hard to believe but today is the 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s death. Late during the evening of December 8, 1980, Mark David Chapman assassinated his hero.
I was a young boy tucked away when Lennon was taken away. The strains of “A Day in the Life’ were playing the next morning on KYW-AM and I knew that something was terribly wrong since a news station wouldn’t play the Beatles, who had splintered in 1970, unless there was news.
It was difficult to comprehend how anyone could take the life of a musical genius. But while watching the evening news it was even more painful watching music fans, who actually grew up with the Beatles, take the news.
The larger than life figure was a perfect man for the times. Lennon was political, edgy and sarcastic. No wonder he was featured on the cover of the very first issue of Rolling Stone magazine.
Another memory was of his former bandmate Paul McCartney, who was interviewed after Lennon died. Some fans hung McCartney due to his reaction to Lennon’s death. “It’s a drag,’ was his response to actuality hungry journalists.
Poor Macca. What did people expect? When someone you were once very close to dies, it’s difficult to put anything into words, even if you were one half of the century’s greatest songwriting team.
McCartney and Lennon were just that. When I look back at the Beatles, it ‘s still hard to wrap your mind about what the British group accomplished.
The band changed the world, musically and culturally.
In this age of a single and nine songs that sound like it on many discs, it’s even more amazing to think about what the Beatles actually accomplished.
The Fabs changed styles song to song. Their tunes are catchy, challenging and moving. The sonic growth of the band is off the charts. Has any recording artist morphed as much as the Beatles did from 1962 to 1970? The Beatles remain in the stratosphere while every other pop-rock act is on a more mortal plain.
One of the reasons I believe in God is due to the existence of the Beatles. I don’t think it’s arbitrary that Lennon, McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr each grew up in Liverpool at the same time. I’m convinced there was some divine intervention. The Beatles music is otherworldly. Lennon had much to do with that and he also had an impressive solo career. The saddest part is perhaps that he and McCartney never quite patched up their differences.
Lennon has been gone for three decades but his music will go on in perpetuity.