John Lennon RIP

It was 30 years ago today

I was living in the States on December 8th 1980 and came out of a brilliant Pat Metheny concert, featuring the magisterial Charlie Haden on bass, at 10pm and strolled across from the Concert Hall at CU Boulder to the Pizza Hut so I could share my joy with my friends. We walked in as the news opened with the devastating line ‘John Lennon has been shot in New York.’ I just froze and looked at the screen filling the end of the room. Lennon shook up my life with the Beatles (see the rest of this blog), first with Please Please Me on the radio, then when he told the Queen Mother to ‘rattle her jewellery’ live on national TV, both in 1963, before agreeing with us that ‘we all want to change the world‘ in Revolution and that he and Paul wanted to create ‘Western Communism‘ with Apple in May 68. His death was announced about 20 minutes later whilst we watched the TV gulping our pitcher of beer, then another, to numb down the negative feelings; instant drag is gonna get you.

It is a well-known fact in Colorado that the last but one Beatles concert was held at Red Rocks in Denver and for the next week or so in Boulder, Colorado, anyone using the name John only referred to one person. I was asked, as the only Brit in the Village, what I thought of John’s death, I replied ‘well that’ll teach him to release an album about how happy he is!’ I got to the Dakota building in New York a week later to find some residues of blood and the sticker ‘Nancy killed John’ on a lamp post nearby referring to Nancy Reagan’s statement that she always kept a hand gun under her pillow. In my opinion The Beatles died at the right time in September 1969, closing out the sixties, but Lennon’s death was premature, emblematic of the hysterical celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve since been bequeathed and chosen to embrace; Nobody Told Me there’d be days like these


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