By: Jesse Striewski
December 8, 1980; former Beatle John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono, were returning to their New York City apartment at the Dakota after a long day at the recording studio, approximately 10:50 p.m. Obsessed fan Mark David Chapman, who had even met Lennon earlier that afternoon when he approached him for an autograph, pulled out a .38 special revolver, and struck Lennon at close range with four out of five of the shots he fired. After being rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, Lennon was pronounced dead on arrival at 11:00 p.m., and the world was never the same again.
These events transpired just three months before I ever even entered this world, but they still strike a nerve each and every time I think about them.
Lennon’s mark changed the face of music forever, first as a member of The Beatles in the 1960’s, where he and bassist Paul McCartney penned some of the greatest songs ever written. Then in the ’70s, where his fights and contributions to societal change were just as great as his solo work. By 1980, with the release of the Double Fantasy album, Lennon was on the verge of a comeback that we will never know just how far it could have taken him.
I grew up in a world that was both without John Lennon, while at the same time, completely influenced by him. Along with the likes of Elvis Presely and The Beach Boys, the music of The Beatles, like so many others, was one of my first introductions to music ever, and made the biggest impression on me more than any of the other previously mentioned acts. Even at a young age, I gravitated naturally to John, who was always the “rebel” of the group. And now, being nearly the same age as him at the time of his death, and a father, I relate to him now more than ever.
Forty years after his senseless death, John Lennon remains as influential and vital as ever. They say true legends never die, and Lennon was no exception to this. Every time an aspiring young musician picks up a guitar for the first time and plays that first chord, Lennon’s presence is still there. No matter how much time may pass, John will always be with us.