The Events After John Lennon Died

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A Reunion Died

Some moments in history can have a great impact on people’s lives, and one of them was the death of John Lennon – the day when Mark David Chapman shot him on December 8, 1980. It happened almost four decades ago, but the memories were still haunting.

The day after his death, the area around the gates of Dakota near Lennon’s apartment building in New York turned into a memorial. Flowers, signs from fans, and quotes of lyrics from the Beatles songs were displayed, and even world leaders gave their respect to honor a musician whose life was taken too early.

The event was shocking, of course, not only that it had no sense, but also Lennon managed to beat different kinds of “dangerous” circumstances in his rock stardom.

“He beat the rock-n‘-roll life. Beat the drugs, beat the fame, beat the damage. He was the only guy who beat it all.” –  Steve Van Zandt

Flowers and signs from fans were just the very beginning — the aftershock occurred:

1980 Time Vault: When The Music Died

Ringo Starr flew to New York to see Yoko. George Harrison, “shattered and stunned,” went into retreat at his home in Oxfordshire, England. Paul McCartney, whom Lennon plainly loved and just as plainly hated like the brother he never had, said, “I can’t tell you how much it hurts to lose him. His death is a bitter, cruel blow—I really loved the guy.” Having no wish to contribute to the hysteria that always follows the grief at such public mournings. McCartney, who has hired two bodyguards to protect himself and his family, said he would stay home in Sussex, England, even if there was a funeral. There was not. Lennon’s body was cremated in a suburban New York cemetery, and Ono issued a statement inviting everyone “to participate from wherever you are” in a ten-minute silent vigil on Sunday afternoon.

Before that, it had been a week of tributes. Radio stations from New Orleans to Boston cleared the air waves for Lennon and Beatles retrospectives. In Los Angeles, more than 2,000 people joined in a candlelight vigil at Century City; in Washington, D.C., several hundred crowded the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in a “silent tribute” that recalled the sit-ins of the ’60s. Record stores all over the country reported sellouts on the new Lennon-Ono album, Double Fantasy, their first record in five years, as well as the back stock of Lennon’s previous records.

Some reaction was tragic. A teenage girl in Florida and a man of 30 in Utah killed themselves, leaving notes that spoke of depression over Lennon’s death.

Many people were grateful for the joy John Lennon has given them. The sad part is just that, a senseless murder ended a dream: The Beatles Reunion. Despite all these things, the music they created helped us to endure the inevitable.