I know there have been quite a few deaths in my column recently. Unfortunately, I will add a few more. Just over 41 years ago, Beatles founder and music legend John Lennon was shot and killed by a mad fan outside his New York apartment.
December 8 has recently passed, marking the 41st anniversary of his death. I’ve never been a huge Beatles fan (although I own four of their albums on reprinted vinyl); I have great respect for what they have done for pop and rock music. I thought we could take a quick look at Lennon’s solo career. He will always be known as a Beatle, but Lennon’s star power changed after his “divorce” from the supergroup.
After the Beatles split, Lennon wrote and recorded songs that defined the post-pop generation of the 1960s. Songs such as “Imagine”, “Give Peace a Chance” and “Working Class Hero” were how Lennon brought it to life. makes the public aware of politics, war, inequalities and personal pain.
He and his wife, Yoko Ono, were on their way to becoming a powerful media couple. Their relationship was an inspiration and a point of hatred for many. To this day, many people attribute the Beatles’ breakup to Yoko Ono. The truth is, the group was tearing each other apart. But during the 1970s, Lennon and Ono were seen as the marriage of two great creative minds. They wanted to bring a voice for social change to the world in a variety of media, including music, television and radio.
Everyone agreed that the couple were equal in everything. Even during a time of separation when Lennon was steeped in alcoholism and floundering, in 1973-75 nicknamed John’s “Lost Weekend,” they spoke frequently on the phone. Lennon had a savagery that no Beatle or Ono could ever tame. More than any other former Beatle, Lennon personified the rebellious rocker.
This can be seen clearly on his 1975 album titled simply “Rock and Roll”, which is a collection of songs from 50s rockers who had been Lennon’s heroes. Following Lennon’s reconciliation with Ono later that year, they both retired from public life. They worked for five years raising their son, Sean. Not much is known during those years, but that changed in 1980. Lennon and Ono released their last album, “Double Fantasy”, just a month before Lennon’s assassination.
On the evening of December 8, Lennon was walking home to his New York apartment in the Dakota building. Mark David Chapman fired five .38 caliber bullets with his revolver. Four of them hit Lennon in the back. Reports at the time said Chapman remained at the scene reading “The Catcher in the Rye” until he was arrested by police. Lennon was rushed to nearby Roosevelt Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Like many artists caught too early, we can never imagine what else Lennon would have done if he was alive today. If you are not familiar with some of Lennon’s solo works, I highly recommend “Walls and Bridges”, “Some Time in New York City” and of course his latest album, “Double Fantasy”.
Jack R. Jordan is a reporter for the Moultrie Observer.